Peer pressure is more about belonging and fitting in. We have an innate need to belong so we tend to divide along lines of we're the same and we're different. We put pressure on others to conform to what we believe.
With Who and When We See It
- Begin seeing it in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades
- Present as soon as students are in groups
- The older the students get the more inter gender peer pressure
The Role of Parents and Family Dynamics
The role of parents in the lives and decision-making processes of youths is often underestimated. Parents have a role and exert significant influence in the choices young people make.
Many times we see that needs at home are not being met, which then leads to peer pressuring their fellow students.
- Talk about peer pressure
- Try to raise independent problem solvers
- "Careness Retreat" = positive peer pressure
- Teach children how to be confident
Just that word pressure. You aren't accepting the ways things are, you are trying to change it. That within itself is a negative. You're trying to change it.
- Disciplinary actions are based on what the child did, not whether or not they were peer pressured.
- Future interactions with child differ.
- Child who peer pressured the child, whether or not they carried out the act, receive an identical punishment and meet with the school psychologist.
Teachers spend time listening to students’ concerns and giving advice to those dealing with difficult issues.
What Teachers See
- Most prevalent among students between 6th and 12th grade
- Negative pressure among boy to boy or boy to girl
- Males pressure other males to do any sort of risky behavior vs. males pressure females to take sexual risks
Most Common Forms Peer Pressure
Since peer pressure begins to affect students earlier on in the learning process, teachers have started instituting programs for younger students
“I ask students to list things they will say no to in the future, like stealing and cheating,” says Jeanne Koenig, a counselor at Perry Elementary and Middle Schools in Perry, Ohio. “Each student compiles and then signs and dates the personal list. I ask them to look at their list at least once a year to see if they are still abstaining from these behaviors.”
Types of Peer Pressure Students Face
- Direct: is a teenager or group of teenagers actually telling another teenager what he/she should be doing or what is okay to do.
- Indirect: is not necessarily verbal peer pressure but optical peer pressure. (Ex: one teenager hanging out with a group of friends who smoke/do drugs is exposed to this kind of negative behavior and may think it's acceptable)
- Individual: is trying too hard to fit in and doing things because other people are doing them.
How does peer pressure affect students?
- Fashion choices
- Alcohol and drug use
- Decision to have a boyfriend or girlfriend
- Choice of who your friends are
- Academic performance
Were you aware that you were peer pressuring your friends?
Most of the time I will not be aware and then as I'm urging them more I realize that I'm pressuring them and I should probably back off and let them make their own decisions.
Dealing With Peer Pressure
- Value common interests. Hang out with people who like similar things.
- Say no. Saying no can be hard, but it can also make you feel good to stick with what you believe in.
- Try not to judge others. Try not to place judgements on other people's choices. Respecting someone else's choice may help them respect yours.
- Take action. Stand up for yourself and others.
- Get help. Share your struggle and get help from others who have been in your shoes. Talk to your parents, teachers, any trusted adult.
- Encourage your children to invite friends over. Make your home the place to be. Encourage children to invite those friends that are good influences.
- Get to know the friend's parents and get ideas of their values, beliefs, and convictions.
- Be careful about where you allow your child to spend the night.
- Be observant. If you see subtle changes in dress or appearance, find out what is behind the new look.
- Be a supportive advocate. Provide a presence that boosts their chances of success.
- Build relationships. Be the teacher students can trust.
- Create a safe classroom environment. Be a role model for students by having mutual respect.