The Harm Caused By Negative Peer Pressure

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One of the most frustrating potential feelings emerges with the realization that our children are succumbing to negative peer pressure which could lead to delinquent behavior.

One reason for their frustration is that parents feel incapable of influencing who their children hang out with. It is true that parents cannot select their children’s friends, but they can influence choices by providing honest feedback about how they view particular individuals. In order to do that, of course, parents must attempt to put themselves in situations where they can spend some time with these friends.

Before parents are in a position to influence their children’s choices of friends, they must develop an understanding of how positive and negative peer pressure works.

In order to avoid violent and criminal behavior, teenagers must seek out those who are at low-risk in terms of violent behavior. Youngsters must choose friends who are not consumers of alcohol and/or drugs. The youths must try to differentiate those friends who intend to perform well in their academics and those who have a history of violent behavior. It is helpful to become involved in varied activities including clubs, volunteer work, and sports, so that they will avoid the boredom that is often produced by long periods at home and directionless “hanging out.” Anti-social behavior is often a reaction to feelings of boredom. 

What follows are questions which help a youngster evaluate whether his/her chosen friends are influencing their behavior in a positive or negative peer pressure.

EXAMING PEER PRESSURE

1. How do you determine who your true friends are? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. Do you hang out with a group much? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. What is considered cool behavior by your group or close friends? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. What do you need to do in order to fit into the group? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. Who in your social group influences your behavior the most? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. What do you do to please yourself? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7. What do you do to please others? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8. Do you think you try harder to please yourself or others? ___________________

     Why? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9. Does that work for you? ___________________

     Why or why not? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. What is the worst type of trouble you have been in the past two years? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

11. Did any of your friends play a part in your getting into trouble? ________________________

12. When asked to do something you’re not sure about, how do you decide what to do? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

13. Are their plusses as friends more important than their negative impact on your behavior? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

14. Do you need to change friends? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________