Encouraging Adolescents to get Right Peer-Pressure
Having no friends is no good, but having a negative peer-pressured group as a friend group is worse than having no friends. But, like many other negatives, there are also positive peer groups.
There were times when we used to get along with our friends and enjoy the day of our life. Well, that depends on what enjoyment means to you. There are two types of peer-pressured groups, one is a Negative Peer-pressured group and the other is a Positive peer-pressured group.
Parents have always been warned to be mindful of adolescents when they are going towards a bad crowd. There are countless films and novels which have highlighted peer dynamics, and scientific papers have been written about peers facilitating antisocial activities and substance use.
One such book, which tells us to be aware of peer pressure and to say no when it’s wrong, that is The Art of Saying No.
The pressure of peers is at its highest point at the age of adolescents, which is understandable, as they are especially vulnerable to peer pressure. This is due to the fact that peers are more important people at this life stage than others. In this process, many adolescents can have not-so-good relations with their parents or guardian. Youths are still developing their cognitive ability to control their emotions and behaviors at this stage, so a negative peer group may impact this process negatively.
As a youth, you should have complete control over your emotion, and there is one book that I would like to refer to, and that is Mastering your emotions.
There is always some positive side to the process, and peer pressure also has its positive side. Peer Pressure has a lot of potentials to change adolescent life forever by making them more emphatically sound when dealing with emotions and other peer groups. Positive peer pressure can lead adolescents to engage in pro-social activities like volunteering, or encouraging them to help people in need whenever they can.
A positive peer group can decrease mental health problems and strengthen the identity of youth. It increases the sense of unity in them, which makes them stronger collectively. The impact of peers can accumulate over time to help build foundations of well-being and relationships in adulthood. Positive peer relations in adolescence are associated with more satisfying romantic relationships and greater effectiveness at work later in life.
If you want to be more empathic and influence your friends with a positive attitude, you can refer to this book, How to win friends and influence people.
For optimal empathy development, it’s not enough to simply have any friends or a lot of friends. Adolescents who have fewer friends are more likely to be empathetic, unlike the ones with a lot of friends. Friends, who are relatively high in perspective-taking and empathetic concern, are more likely to increase their own self-empathy.
Schools and educational institutions should try to promote positive peer groups and also not neglect negative peer groups. As people do friends with those who are like them, so empathetic friends will choose empathic friends and non-empathic friends will choose non-empathic friends. We should try to teach adolescents to consider themselves in people's shoes and feel concerned for others, which will make them more empathic towards each other.
Empathic efforts should be promoted by rewarding the empathic efforts of adolescents, which will encourage them to have more empathy with others and feel their concerns. Adolescents who are considered leaders should be involved in the empathy process, as it will lead to having more influence on others.