How Positive Peer Pressure Can Help Guide You Through Recovery
When we think of the term “peer pressure,” we often envision people in our lives who push us to do negative things. It is commonly heard when kids and teens are “experimenting” with new things and often refers to all kids wanting to do what the “cool kids” do.
What if peer pressure weren’t always a negative thing? It turns out that there is a thing called positive peer pressure, and it can actually help us to do good things in our lives. As long as we are surrounded by people that want only good things for us, a little bit of positive pressure to do things that push us out of our comfort zone to make us healthier, more successful, and happier can be really wonderful.
In this article, we will learn more about positive peer pressure, how it works, and how it can affect your life for the better.
What is Peer Pressure?
Peer pressure is defined as something that can greatly influence your life decisions, depending on the people you usually spend your time with. However, the term “pressure” can also imply that a person may be somewhat forced to do things against his or her personal beliefs. These include abusing alcohol or drugs, cutting classes, or having reckless sex.
Unfortunately, many young kids and teenagers give in to negative peer pressure. This is mostly due to their desire to “fit in” or be liked by other kids. On the other hand, some kids are “pressured” to try new things out of curiosity, even if it can result in negative consequences.
Peer pressure can be a serious issue especially if it impedes on making the right decisions in life. It can also lead to behavioral problems, including alcohol and drug abuse or even resorting to violent tendencies. More often than not, peer pressure focuses more on what is “socially-acceptable” rather than weighing on what is morally and legally wrong and right.
What is Positive Peer Pressure?
On the other hand, peer pressure is not always negative. In real life, a person can be influenced either negatively or positively. While a person can influence another to do drugs or engage in casual sex, other people can influence an individual to engage in wholesome activities, such as sports and reading literature. Those who belong to the latter group can lead to their exposure to better companions who can further influence their lives for the better.
Furthermore, positive peer pressure not only involves people from school or in your community. Rather, even your family members can instill positive peer pressure as well. When pressure is positive, it comes from people that we admire, love, and respect in a loving, beneficial way.
How Positive Peer Pressure Can Help You Recover
Young kids and teenagers are more prone than adults to be influenced by peer pressure. However, all of us, including adults, are also prone to be influenced by the people around us. In effect, some negative influences can lead to negative consequences. This is where positive peer pressure comes in.
Peer pressure can help in a good way, especially for those who are struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. For example, struggling drug users can be influenced to lead sober lives if their companions are doing the same. More so, recovering addicts can be encouraged to lead healthier lives through the power of positive peer pressure.
In addiction treatment programs, a struggling addict will mostly be surrounded by others with the same situation. However, the difference is that these programs are made to lead them to recovery. Such treatment programs can help facilitate positive change in recovering addicts by avoiding negative influences that can make them revert back to their old ways.
Of course, this positive change should start with the recovering individual himself. This change should begin by avoiding people who are bad influences. Likewise, keep those people who can help you make better decisions in life. More so, it is better to surround yourself with people who will encourage you to instill those values you really want to apply in your life.
How to Prevent Negative Peer Pressure
As already mentioned, the change you want for long term should start with you. For adults, it is important to provide enough guidance, especially for young kids and teenagers. After all, older adults should know better than their children’s peers.
The saying “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are” can be applied to the concept of peer pressure. For example, if your so-called friends smoke or drink frequently, you will most likely adopt their habits. These habits can lead to devastating effects, which can not only affect you but also the people around you. On the other hand, if you go with your peers that are interested in books, board games, or any kind of sport, then you can adapt the discipline behind those hobbies and apply it in your life.
More importantly, you should also be one who is a source of positive peer pressure. Even at a young age, you have the power to change the world around you. More so, you also have the power to embrace the good things and abhor the bad things that can ruin your life.
Peer pressure is a real thing, and it’s not a sign of weakness when one gives into it. Instead, it is better for younger children to talk to someone whom they can trust. That someone could be parents, a school counselor, a teacher, or an older confidant. They have been there – so it is safe to say they can offer you more sensible advice about dealing with peer pressure, than other kids your age.
If you are an adult, you can teach your kids not to succumb to peer pressure by following the tips below:
Teach your kids to say “no” especially to situations that they feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and can compromise their values.
Teach them to choose their friends wisely and avoid those they think will pressure them to do bad things. It is also better to know their friends as well.
Encourage open communication with your children so they will be more comfortable with sharing their feelings with you.
At the end of the day, we have the power to choose our own kind of “peer pressure”. Will you choose the one that can potentially destroy your life, or choose that one that can change you for the better?
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Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.