When you succumb to peer pressure, you change into a mindless robot because you allow other people to control you. Why would you let them have that kind of power over you? In the Philippines, kids easily influence each other. In fact, the Philippines has one of the highest teenage pregnancy in the world. In addition, you can see many kids in front of their homes drinking alcohol.
The point about peer pressure is that it can make good people do bad things. It’s as if we know a certain action is wrong, but when we face the situation, our emotions take over and we become people pleasers. As Marshall Thornton quoted in his book, “Two Nick Nowak Novellas,” it is stated, “Nice people always make me want to do bad things.”
Let’s say, a college student wants to belong to a group of their classmates ,but he didn’t smoke unlike the group that he wants to belong to; he would really like to fit in because this group can help him to do well in school, so he smokes with them, even though he knows it’s a bad habit that can destroy his good health.
What you can do when faced with peer pressure to do wrong? There are five things to remember to resist peer pressure.
Weigh the consequences.
Ask yourself, ‘What if I give in to the pressure and then get caught? What will my parents think of me? What will I think of myself? Your parents can help you to see how peer pressure can lead you down the wrong path. You may also have friends you can seek for advice. When I was young, my friends always smoked after school, and some of them started dating. Some of them ended up not going to college because some of the got pregnant in high school or ended up in early marriage. In any case, always ask yourself, what would happen if you did what others were doing. Think before you act.
Strengthen your convictions.
Ask yourself, “Why do I believe that this course is harmful, either to myself or to others?” When I was young, I would just say no or give a brief reply, but now that I am mature, I can give a good explanation of why I will or will not do something. I am firm in my beliefs regarding right and wrong. The answer comes from me and not from anyone else.
Think about your identity.
Ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be?” Then think about the pressure you are facing and ask, ‘What would that kind of person do in this situation? My answer is that “I’m content with who I am, so I don’t care as much what others think of me. Besides, most people like being with the real me.” Here in the Philippines, we worry so much about what others think of us. Instead, it is better to know yourself and what you stand for so that you can make your own decisions and stand for who you are, your identity.
Think beyond the present.
If you are in school, in a few years or even months—the very people you are trying to impress may not even be in your life. In fact, I looked at a school photo, and I didn’t even remember some of my classmates’ names. But when I was in school with them, their opinion mattered to me more than staying true to my beliefs. How foolish! That means that whatever happens now isn’t what matters most, so we can stop thinking about what others think and who is important. What is most important is what will happen to you in the future.
The Bible says: “Know how you should answer each person.” Role-playing can be useful. My parents helped me to think of scenarios, and then we acted them out so that when I faced a real-life situation, I knew what to do. You can try situations with your friends or family and see how you would respond to them.
The most important thing that we should know is that not all people wants us to be a friend, but if they see your presence is very nice, unique, and grounded, it will lead to admiration, and they tend not to force us do to bad things, and they will surely treat us well.