Teens are expected to do a lot of things: chores, homework, make decent grades, and so much more. Parents put a lot of pressure on teens to succeed, or at least try their best, in everything they do. But that’s not the only expectation that teens are pressured with. There’s also another major contender: peer pressure.
This is a pressure that comes from fellow classmates and friends. It can be incredibly broad and complex. Sometimes, it can also be unavoidable. Once teens get into high school, there is much more peer pressure. Your friends may have boyfriends or girlfriends and you may not. There’s a pressure to date in high school, for sure! If you aren’t dating anyone, sometimes you can be viewed as “weird,” or even a failure. There’s also pressure on teens to be popular. This can mean leaving your true friends for the kids who have a better reputation. While this isn’t expected of everyone, and not everyone is affected by it, I think it’s a secret desire for most teens. To be considered “cool,” you may be forced to go against your morals and beliefs; do things you wouldn’t normally want to do. It can be a high price to pay for something as trivial as popularity, yet many teens are tempted to do whatever it takes to reach it. More times than not, you’re “cool” in high school if you drink, smoke, party, and/or have sex.
These are major pressures in high schools, and usually the first things that come to mind when you bring up the topic of peer pressure. The question is: How can you help your teen avoid or deal with peer pressure? The answer is quite simple. All you have to do is make sure your teen understands the value of self-confidence. It sounds somewhat cliché, but it really is the key to having a smooth ride through high school. When you are confident in who you are, your abilities, and what you believe in and stand for, you have a much clearer picture of how you should behave in a social situation such as peer pressure. When you’re confident and really know yourself, you won’t make those bad decisions.
I believe that the majority of teens who have gotten into trouble have low self-confidence. After all, why would they be doing silly things just to impress people they hope will like them? They aren’t confident. Because of that, they are more susceptible to being used and manipulated by others. Confidence is one of the most important lessons in life, and the earlier you learn it, the easier time you’ll have.