Healthy Living Blog – Managing Peer Pressure During Adolescence
All adolescents ages 12 to 20 experience peer pressure. Adolescents will usually be friends with their peers, who are other kids the same age as them. At this age, pre-teens and teens tend to follow what their peers are doing because they want to fit in. Because adolescents want to be more like their peers, they might be peer pressured into following both the positive and risky behaviors of their peers.
The positive side to peer pressure
Adolescents can see the benefits of positive peer influence, such as:
- Having friendship and acceptance.
- Seeing positive examples of how to be kind, honest, and loyal.
- Having support when trying new hobbies.
- Getting encouragement to do their best.
- Forming social skills with different kinds of people.
- Receiving feedback and advice.
When peer pressure becomes unhealthy
Peer pressure can lead adolescents to be a part of risky behaviors, such as:
- Alcohol and drug use
- Unsafe sex
- Cheating and shoplifting
- Unsafe cellphone, internet, and social media use
How can teens and their parents respond to negative peer pressure?
Teens have to learn how to stand up to peer pressure themselves. They can:
- Become comfortable with saying “no.” This helps teens set healthy boundaries for themselves. Also, adolescents don’t need to explain or say sorry for saying “no” with their good friends.
- Be friends with peers who will support them and speak up with them against negative peer pressure.
- Use parents as an excuse to stop being peer pressured. Say: “My parents will ground me if I do that.”
- Teens should go to an adult for help if peer pressure gets too dangerous.
- For parents: stay interested in your teens’ lives. Even though your teens are spending more time with their peers, they will still listen to their parents. Make it clear that you expect your teens to follow certain rules. Make sure to spend time together!
Have questions or curious to learn more? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor. AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!