All teenagers draw inspiration from other teenagers. In fact, you may be so influenced by another teen that you wish to mimic the behaviour of such an influential peer. It is all well and good to mimic the behaviour of someone else provided that he or she is someone who behaves positively.

If you are influenced to act like peers who are acting recklessly or making negative choices, you need to reassess who you are inspired by. Some peers may even force you to behave in ways that are different to how you would usually behave. Being coerced into behaviour that you know is morally or ethically wrong means that your peers are having a more negative impact on you than a positive impact.

The fact that you are reading this is a sign that you might be reluctant to be drawn into bad behaviour. You might not want to do the wrong things just because you want to fit in or be liked by your group. While you may think that you will give in to peer pressure eventually, we have enough strategies to ensure that you stay head strong and resist peer pressure entirely.

Perhaps this article will enable you to find some books and techniques that may help to build your confidence.

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How to Resist Peer Pressure

You may resonate with this cliché as you may have heard your parents repeatedly say it, "You mustn't jump into the fire just because your friends jumped in." While your parents say this often, you rarely ever think of the cliché during your interaction with peers in the classroom or in a social setting. If only mum or dad's voice could pop up into our heads when we want to do something wrong.

resist peer pressure
Ensure that you resist peer pressure Source: Unsplash| Markus Spiske

If your parents cannot be whispering into your ears, you do need some sort of support to resist peer pressure.  Moral support in the form of confident friends may be just what you need. While you don't want to be seen as lame or boring for doing something sensibly, you can't deny to take action more easily if someone else in your group is making morally sound decisions as well.  If another friend in your group is not making unsound decisions, there is no reason why you should fear losing friends because of your reluctance to go with the crowd. Having moral support is important and that is why we are taught to choose our friends wisely.

Remember if your friends reject you for not taking part in something, they are not really true friends. If you are being coerced into doing something you don't want to, take a second to pause. Think of what the repercussions of action will be. Misdemeanors may result in suspension from school and even worst expulsion. Being expelled from the school that you enjoy going to can ruin your future entirely.

If suspension or expulsion is not reason enough to get to you to stop doing an action that you know is wrong, think about how you will be letting the people you love down. How will your parents feel if you are expelled from school? How will you be able to face your parents or siblings if you know that you did something wrong?

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Appropriate Responses to Peer Pressure

societal expectations
Should you do what society expects you to do or should you give into the temptation of peer pressure?      Source: Unsplash | Yasin Yusuf

If you are an avid fan of, The Simpsons, you will remember the scenes from the show that feature Homer’s inner angel and demon. These scenes are like a depiction of what actually occurs in your mind when you are being pressured by your friends. On the one hand, you might be asking yourself, "What is the worst that could happen by following suit and doing as the group does?" On the other hand, you may be experiencing an unexpected sense of anxiety. There is an undeniable fear that accompanies the knowledge of knowing that you are about to do things that are not what society expects of you. A rule of thumb and a rule that you should apply to everything in life is that if you feel uneasy about something, you should rather avoid it entirely. Use your common sense to guide your decision in that case. If something doesn't make you feel right, it probably isn't right.

Pay attention to the cues that your body gives you. If you are sweating profusely before doing something or if you are feeling butterflies in your tummy (not the good kind of butterflies), you may need to reconsider the decision that you are making.

If your body is not giving you any cues, your heart rate might guide you to steer clear of doing something wrong. If your heart is beating far too fast, it is a sign that you should not partake in what the rest of the group is doing.

If you don't want to do something, assert yourself. Instead of saying, "I am not so sure about this," say, "I really shouldn't!". Instead of saying, "I am feeling hesitant to take a puff," say, "I don't think it is right to take a puff!" Being assertive about what you don't want to do will allow your friends to back off slightly.

Other Ways of Resisting Peer Pressure

Remember when you were younger and in preschool... You never ever let anybody else boss you around. You arranged letters the way in which you thought was right, and you never arranged letters in a certain order just because someone else in the class was doing so. Revisit that childish stubbornness. Ensure that you do things your way and don't get suckered into doing something that someone else expects you to do.

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preschool mentality
Be stern about your views! Be as stubborn as you we were when you were younger. Source: Unsplash

There are a variety of other tactics that you can draw upon to help you to gain the respect of others without having to yield and bend down to do what everyone expects of you.

If you want to be respected for playing by the rules and not being defiant, a great suggestion would be to choose your friends wisely. It is always perfect if you pair up with people who share similar beliefs as you do. While the popular group of kids may be the ideal group to be around, they surely are not the group for you if they have values that don't align with your own. If you are strong willed and adamant in your beliefs, you can even invite other friends to join your group, especially if these friends seem like they are going to cave and give into peer pressure too.

Don't be the person to do as the leader says without questioning the value of the action. If you just follow blindly you are not only putting yourself in trouble but others too. If something seems wrong, voice your opinion to the group. Express your concerns openly to group and also get the other members of the group to understand that there are more negatives to following through with an action than there are positives. If your friends are reluctant to listen to reason, use this as a sign that it is time for you to find new friends. While it is not okay to challenge the leader of the group for every little thing, the group leader should be willing and open to understand that there are two sides of a coin and every action can have both positive and negative results.

Use humour to escape serious situations. Sometimes you can laugh at how stupid the idea of following through with a particular idea can be. Perhaps you can laugh off how the headmaster might show you much teeth if he catches you smoking so you rather shouldn't. If you don't want to be a, "Debby downer," but you still want to escape situations  that you don't see as being fit, make jokes to get out of the situation. Your mum will be able to smell smoke on you from a mile away so you rather not smoke now. Again, if you are only using humour as you are afraid  to be real with your group, you should realise that you are in the wrong friendship group.

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Pressure on Teenagers

Sit alone
Rather sit alone than sit with people who pressure you to do the wrong things. Source: Unsplash

We understand that there is much pressure placed on teenagers of today. If you are feeling too overwhelmed by the pressure and unable to handle the pressure on your own, no one is asking you to handle the pressures of the teenage years alone.

You can always seek advice and the expertise of a trusted adult. You have the option of frequenting the school counselor's office during break. You can even speak to your parents about it. However, if you are not open to speaking, you can always still gain expert advice by relying on the guidance of social workers and psychologists who have written their own books. There are various self help books available for teens, and these books can help you get to grips with your feelings if not guide you towards making better decisions.

Here is a list of some books for teenagers that are good to read.

If hit Netflix shows like, "13 Reasons Why," has taught us anything its that teenage pressure is a real thing and that if you just keep being pressurized without doing anything about the pressure, the results could be bad.

If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong so try to address the issue of peer pressure immediately. Feel free to share other strategies that you use to deal with peer pressure in the comments below.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.