Peers, classmates, schoolmates, as we call them, are an integral part of the school life. They are student’s friends, mates, support systems, critics, partners in sports, debates etc. Overall, they are an inseparable part of a school student’s life that has different kinds of influences on the lives of an individual or a group.
But mostly, the word peer is associated with pressure, which is a negative connotation. And it is not without reason that the term ‘peer pressure’ has become well-known with students, teachers, parents, and society as a whole. Here we discuss a few peer pressures that school students have to face and how they can carry on without having to give in to the unnecessary demands.
What is peer pressure
As discussed above, peers are an essential part of our lives and they have a great influence on our lifestyle, thought process, views, and personality without even our realising. It is because we spend a lot of time with them and directly or indirectly interact with them.
We pick up each others’ habits and even try to copy or emulate each other. There is nothing wrong or bad about it as it is part of human nature. Things get a bit awkward when the natural communication and interaction turns into voluntary or involuntary coercion or an effort to influence, coax others into doing things which are harmful. Here, the group of peers or the most dominant mate will go to any length to force their dictum on others. Since school students are at a vulnerable age they tend to give in to the pressure.
What makes students give in to peer pressure
Most students give in to peer pressure to appear cool or stylish. This makes them think that they will become popular and be liked and admired by the group. Basically, they do it to blend in. Some do it because they crave for attention, which they get by doing as other group members are doing.
Then there are some who fear that if they say no to the demands and pressures they will be ridiculed and made fun of. Curiosity is also a major reason. They want to try what others are doing as they believe that since everyone's doing it they must also do it to be accepted or they will be left behind.
Peer pressure presents itself in various ways. Here we list a few:
Bunking/cutting classes: Sounds fun but is one of the most prevalent practices. Often the seniors push juniors or classmates encourage them. Not only will you miss important lessons but if caught strong disciplinary action might be taken against you.
Cheating: Exams are held to evaluate a student’s progress, and if students resort to cheating using unfair means, then the entire purpose of classes and conducting exams is lost. Cheating is unethical and if you are caught then penalising action would be taken against you.
Smoking: Perhaps the most common act which students pick up. It starts as a fun thing but can go on to develop into a dangerous routine. It often leads to experiment with other harmful and even illegal substance.
Alcohol: Alcohol is bad for health, and especially if you are just a teenager it will cause greater damage to the overall wellbeing and image in the society as well.
Drugs: A very serious issue which if not checked in time has the potential to destroy one’s life, career, health, and social life.
Sex: School students are minors, with a few exceptions, hence indulging in sex at such tender age is against the social norms. Unprotected sex can lead to serious illnesses with HIV/AIDS being most prominent.
How to deal with peer pressure
The best possible option is to say no the first time, every time! But it is not as easy as it sounds, so you have to take a firm stand with your full authority. If the pressure persists, talk to your teachers or counsellors at school. They are there to not only help you with studies related issues but also other concerns as well.
You must talk to your parents. Take them into confidence and tell them whatever is happening with the pressure that is being built on you. Parents will make sure that you get out of problem situations and move ahead without getting into trouble.
Conclusion: The school years are formative years and this period has to be monitored very carefully by the parents, teachers, and other authorities. One wrong move can cause damage to the young mind. Every party involved has to be open and accepting. Let the children grow up as responsible adults.