To recap, if you’ve been with us from the beginning of this series, you have learned 3 important things. (1) To anticipate peer pressure in your life and in the lives of others. (2) To recognize that not all peer pressure is bad. And, (3) acknowledged that surrounding yourself with people who encourage you to excel at worthwhile endeavors can turn the negative aspect of peer pressure on its head. Now, in this final act, you’re going to learn how to deal with peer pressure like a seasoned pro.
Be around others who share your values, dreams, and aspirations
First Things First
Missed the previous article? I highly recommend you check it out. It’s the precursor to this article and is all about the major causes and effects of peer pressure not talked about. Certainly a must read! Now, back to here. Before we dive in, an important thing to keep in mind. Remember, regardless of where it comes from or when it strikes, you still must recognize that peer pressure can add up to big trouble if you don’t know how to effectively deal with it. From coping to avoidance, the following methods and suggestions each represent a vital tool in your “handling peer pressure” toolbox. Let’s open up and take a look inside.
The Power Of Self-Esteem
Most experts agree that the single most important tool in this toolbox is a healthy dose of self-esteem. For many of us, and for long periods of time throughout our lives, the feeling of low self-esteem is all too common.
A contributor to the online community and blog site All Women Talk, Cherith Girl, places Self-esteem Building at the very top of her list of 7 Positive Tips to Avoid Peer Pressure. “When you have a good self-image,” she contends, “you’re less likely to give in when someone starts turning up the heat.”
Refrain from self-deprecating behavior
To increase your self-esteem, Cherith suggests refraining from self-deprecating behavior such as cutting yourself down in front of others. She also encourages surrounding yourself with positive role models who feel confident in their own skin. Ask any good person who’s been there before and they’ll tell you; the more you surround yourself with people who radiate positivity and are uplifting, the more likely you are to inhibit and live those behaviors yourself.
Do something that makes you proud of you
As quoted in the online hub Your Life Counts, Teen Magazine writer Alison Bell agrees, saying that you should “remind yourself every now and then that you are special and nuke any negative statements.” The general advice and guidance website wikiHow suggests other confidence-building tips. Sound bites such as; engaging in activities that make you proud of yourself and making your own decisions (even the smallest of decisions) on a daily basis.
If you feel you could do with a healthy boost of self-esteem, there are certainly some practical ways on how to overcome low self-esteem published here anyone can benefit from.
How to Deal with Peer Pressure
While self-esteem is undoubtedly a valuable peer pressure deterrent, it isn’t always easy to acquire. No matter how confident you happen to be, you can always use a little extra help when it comes to peer-to-peer social interactions. With that in mind, Your Life Counts has published a number of easy-to-understand, actionable guidelines. The actionable advice you can employ while your self-esteem is on the rise. These guidelines include:
- Practicing saying “no” and saying it like you mean it!
- Not being afraid to repeat “no” as many times as necessary.
- Being with friends who share your values and will support your decisions.
- Always stopping to consider the potential consequences of your actions.
Responding to Peer Pressure in 3 Easy Steps
When confronted with a peer request (or demand) that you know is wrong, remain calm and think about these three simple steps.
- Dismiss the request. There are countless ways to do this. The simplest is to just say “no” or, “I’m not interested.” Other ways you could say no:
- “I’ll pass, thanks.”
- “Thanks, but no thanks.”
- “I would but, unfortunately, no.”
- “Absolutely, positively, no.”
- “Request denied.
- “Not in this lifetime”
- “That’s a terrible idea, no.”
- Backup your no. However you say it, try to back up your no with a positive statement or a joke. Not only will it reinforce your stance, but it can quickly disarm many bullies. When confronted with drugs, for example, you can respond with “I like my brain just as it is!” or a sarcastic “right, like I just can’t wait to turn into a drooling idiot!” or, “stupid left me a long time ago.”
- Make a swift exit. The best way to handle a high-pressure situation is to simply remove yourself from it. Either withdraw at the first opportunity or turn and walk away.
Avoiding Peer Pressure Before it Starts
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Even better than leaving a high-pressure situation, is never getting into one in the first place. As the old adage says; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Don’t go courting trouble and tempting fate. If you know that there will likely be alcohol and/or drugs at an unsupervised house party, you may want to make other plans. If you’re going out on a date, you may want to avoid secluded areas that present too many chances to do something that you might regret. The point is, whatever it might be, anticipate what could happen and protect yourself.
See also: What is Peer Pressure and How Has it Changed?
Be Sure And Be Clear
There are many tactics for disarming and avoiding peer pressure. Above all else, however, the most important thing — is to stand your ground firmly. When confronted with an unwanted situation or request, be sure about your feelings and clear in your opinion. If you want to explore more tips on exactly how to deal with peer pressure, visit the parenting and child development website Kids Growth.