Throughout life, especially in high school, peer pressure is a prevalent influence on decisions. In making choices at school, on the weekends, and everywhere in between, teenagers are impacted by the opinions of the people around them. The common objective of social acceptance leads many to look to their friends for encouragement-- but at what point does this influence shift from positive reinforcement to the demanding negativity that peer pressure is so often portrayed as?
It is safe to say that most teens struggle with peer pressure because they want to fit in. The desire for acceptance itself is not bad; often it can lead to good decisions when one is influenced by upright peers. However, it can also drive teens to suppress their own morals to conform to others’ standards. Even under questionable circumstances, a teenager will likely ignore the risks of their actions in favor of the greater reward of being liked. Their brains are wired to do this, and it is part of the reason why peer pressure is typical within the specific high school age range.
In the SUA community, peer pressure is common among students. Mrs. Utecht, chair of the counselling department, observes this throughout her work. “I see peer pressure most commonly in the social and academic aspects of student life,” she comments. The pressure to share homework or test scores, or to act a certain way around friends can seem overwhelming at times.
The reality of peer pressure is that everyone experiences it, and getting through it comes with growing up: “No matter who you are or what part of the world you live in, peer pressure is a part of finding your own voice.”
Stay tuned for Advisory programming and an SUA-specific survey related to peer pressure, courtesy of The Light staff.