The teen years are filled with tons of new experiences, challenges, and pressures.Some of this pressure is created internally by you; however, some of it comes from our friends and the people we hang out with. When people who are in your same age group you try to pressure you into doing something, this type of pressure is called Peer Pressure.
There is good peer pressure and there is bad peer pressure. Good peer pressure is generally pressure that encourages you to do something right, or the pressure encourages you to do something outside of your comfort zone. Examples of good peer pressure are: your friends pressuring you to join the Student Council or to volunteer at the animal shelter for extra credit. Bad peer pressure is generally pressure that encourages you to do something negative. This type of pressure commonly involves doing something against the rules like drinking, smoking, having sex, stealing, cheating on a test, sneaking out of the house, sexting, and bullying just to name a few.
Bad peer pressure can come with some harsh consequences. Sometimes bad peer pressure can lead to teens making poor choices that result in them getting in a lot of trouble at home, going to jail, being suspended from school, getting really sick, losing their families trust, getting physically hurt, or physically and emotionally hurting someone else.
Teens give in to bad peer pressure for a variety of reasons. Some do it to seem “cool”, to gain popularity status, to impress others, to make friends, or to fit in with a certain group. No matter the reason that the teen chooses to go along with the bad peer pressure, this choice usually doesn’t result in a positive outcome.
It’s important to learn how to resist bad peer pressure during your teen years because the decisions that you make your teen years affect the rest of your life. You want to learn how to effectively resist bad peer pressure so that you can stay out of trouble, stay in control, and stay on the right track allowing you to live your very best life, right?
Here are 4 tips to combat the bad peer pressure that comes your way:
1. Stand Tall, and Be Confident when you say “No”
Be sure to say “No” firmly and confidently. If you say “No”, but your body language says “Yes”, then your peers might keep pressuring you. Make sure that your peers know that you mean business, and when you say “No” you mean it. Never say “Maybe next time” or “not right now” if you really mean “No”, because “maybe next time” and “not right now” leave the door open for there to be another opportunity. Stand tall, be firm, and say “No” like a boss, and if they keep pressuring you, leave.
2. Suggest an Alternative
Perhaps you really like these peers and you don’t want to say “No” and then leave. Try suggesting an alternative. Suggesting an alternative is a good solution for maintaining the friendship that you have with those peers, while not going along with their pressure. For example, if your friends are pressuring you to sneak out of the house on a weeknight, perhaps you can say “How about I just come over this weekend instead?” This will give you time to ask your parents for permission to go hang out with those friends over the weekend.
3. Keep it Real
Be honest with your peers and state the problem and the potential consequences from that problem. If your friends are asking you to do something that you feel is inappropriate, be frank with them and tell it like it is. You can say something like “If I do that, I’ll get kicked off of the basketball team” or, “If I do that, my parents would kill me”. Let your peers know that you are not just thinking about the moment, you are being smart by thinking about the consequences that could happen if you do the negative thing that they are pressuring you to do.
4. Have a Bail-Out Plan
Always have a bailout plan just in case you get put in a high-pressure situation. A high-pressure situation might be when you arrive at a party where everyone is drinking and doing drugs, and no parents are home, and you realize that you need to get out of there fast. Or another high-pressure situation might be when you are on a date with someone and they try to pressure you to get physical, but you are not ready to do that yet. A bailout is something that can use to get you out of these high pressures situations quickly.
One bailout that you can use is to say that you are really sick and need to get home – stat! Grab your stomach and say that your stomach hurts really bad, excuse yourself to the restroom, and while in the restroom call your parents or someone to come pick you up so that you can get out of that pressure situation. You could also substitute your stomach for your head hurting if you wanted to.
Another bailout is to say that you have a prior commitment or an appointment that you have to get to immediately. This “pretend” prior commitment or appointment needs to be something of importance so that the peer will know that you really have to get going. So, you could say something like “I’ve gotta go, I have a job interview in 1 hour”. Or, “I’ll see you guys later, I have a doctor’s appointment”. After you say your bail out, leave that pressure situation.
This may seem like a sneaky way of getting out of a situation because your bailout does not have to be true. However, when it comes to making smart decisions, and being pressured to do something that could potentially harm you, harm someone else, or harm your reputation, telling a little bailout story seems like a more positive option.
The Choice Is Yours
The choice is yours. But, no matter how you choose to say “No” to bad peer pressure, the smartest choices is to avoid it so that you can stay on the right track and stay out of trouble.