As you grow older, you'll be faced with some challenging decisions. Some don't have a clear right or wrong answer. Other decisions involve serious moral questions. Making decisions on your own is hard enough, but when other people get involved and try to pressure you one way or another it can be even harder. People who are your age, like your classmates, are called peers. When they try to influence how you act, to get you to do something, it's called peer pressure. It's something everyone has to deal with, even adults. Maybe you want to do it, and you just don't have the courage to do it and your friends talk you into it. Peer Pressure can be broken down into two areas, good peer pressure and bad peer pressure. When we think of peer pressure we always think of it in terms of bad. We think of peer pressure in terms of pressuring others into, smoking, do illegal drugs, drink alcohol, have promiscuous sex, engage in criminal and quasi-criminal, behavior, do violence, join gangs, and so on. We rarely think of the many good ways that peer pressure can influence us and neither do the parents of teens. It is tough to be the only one who says no to peer pressure, but you can do it. Paying attention to your own feelings and beliefs about what is right and wrong can help you know the right thing to do. Inner strength and self-confidence can help you stand firm, walk away, and resist doing something when you know better.
Peers influence your life, even if you don't realize it, just by spending time with you. You learn from them, and they learn from you. It's only human nature to listen to, and learn from other people in your age group. Peers can have a positive influence on each other. Sometimes peers also influence each other in negative ways. Some kids give in to peer pressure because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other kids may make fun of them if they don't go along with the group. Others may go along because they are curious...
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