Peer Pressure Is More Beneficial Than Negative in Character Devlopment

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When we think of peer pressure we always think of it in terms of "bad". We think of peer pressure in terms of pressure to; smoke, do illicit drugs, drink alcohol, have promiscuous sex, engage in criminal and quasi-criminal behaviour, do violence, join gangs, etc... We rarely think of the many "good" ways that peer pressure can influence us - and neither do the parents of teens!

Peer pressure is not all bad, in fact it is essential to proper social development that we do learn to "follow the crowd". This is how we learn acceptable social norms; that is, how we are expected to act in the world in order to be good people. The trick is learning to tell the difference between between following the crowd and blindly following the crowd. It takes a person of great character and self confidence to work peer pressure the right way!

The difference between good peer pressure and bad peer pressure can be summed up with a simple comparison - when it is good, you are a member of the crowd; when it is bad, you are part of a mob. If peer pressure is telling you to do something without questioning why, to do something you know is wrong, or to do something you feel uncomfortable doing it is safe to say this is bad. This is the kind of behaviour that leads to a "mob mentality", that is when the group is acting as one and no one seems to be thinking about consequences or outcomes. NOT COOL! If peer pressure is telling you to act in a generally appropriate way, to do the right thing when you may not otherwise, or to do more good than harm it is safe to say this is good. As long as following the crowd doesn't cause you to act without consideration, following is not always a bad thing to do. In a situation where peer pressure is good, individuals in the groups will be acting as individual parts of a whole, each working WITH the other. A good rule is this; if it makes you feel bad it IS bad for you!

A good example of positive peer pressure is test writing. Testing situtations have many rules and lots of pressure to do well. Combine this with the reality that tests are not easy for everyone, that some people will do better than others, that some people may try to cheat, and that others may not care about the test at all - and you have a recipe for chaos. Yet, somhow, most testing situations go smoothly. Kids don't generally do the test as a group and they rarely break the rules of being quiet and "eyes on your own paper". Even the kids who may finish early or who don't care about the test much tend to obey the basic rules. Why? Peer pressure! Sure, there are punishments for breaking the rules, but academic punishments generally aren't big deterrants. The real reason that everything works is that the kids who don't care don't want to deal with the feelings of those who do care if they do something to disrupt the test. Peer pressure is causing people to "tow the line" in a situation where they have little or no other incentive to do so.

So, to answer your question, YES it is OK to "follow the crowd" from time to time. In fact it is essential that you do! What you need to do is learn to recognize when following the crowd is doing more harm - either to you or others - than it is doing good. But, if you find that you can't stand up for your beliefs or are losing the ability to judge right and wrong on anything but the opinions of others in your group, you may have a problem. You must NEVER let "following the crowd" take precedence over "following your conscience". Know yourself and be true to your inner guide and you will be fine! Negative Effects

Decisions Go Wrong: When you do not like a particular idea or when you have no inclination towards a particular field, it is obvious that you won't like to go by it. For sure, you won't like to go that way. But it is your peer group, which may compel you on doing something you dislike. It's obvious that you won't be happy doing what you do. And you won't succeed. Succumbing to peer pressure in...
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