The meaning of peer pressure is straightforward – an individual coaxing a friend into doing something that the latter would otherwise avoid doing. Peer pressure can sometimes be good, but overall, when one is ‘pressured’ into doing something, it is often negative.
This term is mostly used in association with antisocial behavior, such as violence or alcohol and drug experimentation, leading to addiction.
Peer Pressure and Addiction
Just as peer pressure can be a source of good, it can push students in the opposite direction towards drugs and alcohol, and eventually addiction.
Peer pressure is particularly prevalent amongst teenagers due to their heightened desire to fit in and be noticed for being cool or daring. Due to the connotations of beer and drugs being an adult activity in the adolescent’s eyes, the consumption of these substances is often due to peer pressure.
This desire to look daring can often suppress a young person’s sense of danger, based on a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Kids. Unfortunately, this can lead specific individuals down a very dark path. This doesn’t just mean addiction, though. It could also include accidents, alcohol poisoning, STDs, and overdosing.
Peer Pressure and Behavioral Addiction
Peer pressure could also extend to other forms of addiction, not just in drug and alcohol consumption. There are also behavioral addictions, such as shopping, video gaming, gambling, and food addictions.
Peer pressure and the need to impress others could even lead young people to overdo certain hobbies otherwise deemed healthy, such as sports. Young people could get to the stage where sports is their sole coping mechanism, which is an addictive behavioral problem.
Parental pressure also has the potential to trigger addictive habits in young people. Parents and adults should try to instill in young people that failing isn’t always a negative thing, and they should teach them the basics of self-regulation. This is an appropriate way to teach them how to process negativity instead of alleviating it with addiction.
It would also be wise to keep drugs and alcohol out of the way around your home, as you may be giving young children the wrong ideas around the consumption of such substances.
However, it is essential to be open about drugs and alcohol to ensure that the child knows that you are there to help with addiction.
Peer pressure can be found everywhere, not just between peers at a young age. All kinds of relationships can spawn peer pressure, even relationships between adults and children. It’s crucial to teach young people about the risks of giving in to peer pressure while also monitoring that you are not exuding any pressure onto the child.