Peer pressure has both positive and negative effects on kids. The following is a look at the effects of peer pressure:
Negative peer pressure:
The three main effects of negative peer pressure is that it is bad for a child’s self-esteem, it will negatively influence clear decision-making, and will increase stress in the child or teen. These negative effects are demonstrated in a number of different ways. Sometimes it comes out as a child wearing something scandalous, or cheating on a test because everyone else is. Sometimes it is simply a matter of them not liking themselves, and sometimes, it becomes really dangerous and harmful because negative peer pressure can lead to things like a car accident that involves alcohol, drugs, etc. Of course, negative peer pressure can make kids do things they may not be prone to do otherwise, like drink at a party, or have sex at a young age, or dress provocatively. There are all kinds of ways that negative peer pressure may manifest.
What is your child being pressured to do?
Positive peer pressure:
The peer pressure that parents worry about is the negative peer pressure, but that doesn’t mean there is no positive peer pressure. Positive peer pressure results when teens or kids have friends who are making good choices, and influencing them to do the same. The effects of this type of peer pressure are basically the opposite of negative peer pressure, they have improved self-esteem, they often make good choices, and leads to a lower stress life. It too will manifest in different ways. For example, it may be seen through better grades at school, or maybe it will be more friends because the kid likes himself or herself more. It may mean making wiser choices, and getting on a path to a brighter future. Again, the way it manifests, or the direct effect it has is going to depend a lot on the child.
Peer pressure effects boys and girls in much the same way, but how they show the effects are often fairly different. For example, a girl who is being pressured may dress a certain way, and a boy may do something stupid like race their car against someone else, or pick a fight. Both are feeling pressure, they just respond differently to it.
It is important for parents to recognize that peer pressure can be both positive and negative, and that it depends on how the child decides to respond, and the way they choose to lead their life. However, the need to fit in and be accepted is universal, and so as a parent, if you are worried about the effects of peer pressure, and do not want to see your child negatively effected, it is wise to help your child feel good about who they are, and help them feel like they fit in, and are accepted, even if it is not in the most traditional ways.