Peer Pressure and How it Affects Us
“Peer Pressure: n. social pressure by members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, adopts certain values, or otherwise conforms in order to be accepted.” (Houghton Miffin, 153)
As the definition states, peer pressure can change someone into somebody else, just so that person feels accepted. This occurs in four different forms: Rejection, Unspoken, Initiation, and insulting. (Safeteens relationships, 2)
Rejection pressure occurs when a group of people, or even a single person, deny someone because of who they are or what they do. Normally, this submits the subject to pressure, causing them to want to change, just to be a part of a group. Rejection pressure can turn someone from a kind, likeable person, to a mean, troublemaking jerk. This is the easiest form of pressure to give in to because of the initial reward of being in a group or having new friends. (Safeteens, 2)
Unspoken pressure is the most common form that occurs, yet most of the time you don’t even know that it’s happening. As an example, say a brand new pair of shoes comes out, and everyone is buying those shoes. Everyone except you. Nobody has said anything, but you still feel pressured to buy the shoes just to fit in with your peers. Even if you didn’t want the shoes in the first place, the pressure of it all forces you to buy them. This is unspoken pressure. It is hard to avoid, and you may not realize it, but it happens every day. (Safeteens relationships, 2)
Initiation pressure is easily the most dangerous form of peer pressure to encounter. Similar to rejection, initiation occurs when someone wants to join a club or gang, but the people in it put the subject through a series of tasks and favors, usually resulting in harm and trouble. Groups like fraternities and street gangs require these tasks, just to prove that the subject is worthy of the group. The thought of being in a group, club, or gang pushes people to submit and do what was asked of the group. Though it may seem rough, initiation processes are still considered acts of peer pressure. (Safeteens, 2)
Insulting pressure occurs when a person or group of people want someone to change, so they tease and insult them until they give in and do whatever it is that the group wanted the subject to do. This most commonly ties into bullying. A kid will notice that the subject is doing something he/she doesn’t like, or acting a certain way, so the kid picks on the subject and bullies them, with intentions of making them change. This is insulting pressure in its most common form. (Safeteens, 2)
Teen mentality plays a great role in peer pressure. As kids get older, they try to fit into the crowd as much as possible. For teenagers, fitting in is very important. They will often do whatever it takes to be a part of something. Be it changing who they are, what they do, or even how they look, they will just try to fit in with everyone else. (Youth Healthline, 1)
Like teen mentality, group mentality works in the same way. If there is a group or gang that makes them feel safe or happy, they are going to do what it takes to stay in the group. The group pressures the subject to do whatever the group says to do just to stay in. The subject know that if he/she disappoints the group, they will be kicked out, so the pressure of fear convinces them to do whatever the group says. (Youth Healthline, 1)
There are still some questions I to ask about peer pressure, however. What situations hold the most pressure? Cheating on a test? Doing what you don’t want to do? Also, what group of people does it affect most? Kids? Teens? Adults?
All in all, peer pressure affects many people all around the world. Whether it be being rejected, forced into a group, being insulted, or just trying to fit in, pressure hits when you least expect it. It may not seem so, but peer pressure plays a great role in our lives.
(APA) ©2012 SafeTeens.org., http://www.safeteens.org/relationships/peer-pressure/
(APA) Youth Healthline 1300 13 17 19 Thursday 1 March 2012http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=122&id=1688
(APA) Kid’s Health ©1995-2012 Nemours Foundation
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