Halloween is just around the corner. No doubt, you and your friends are busily planning your scary/funny/creative costumes. Oh, if only October 31st was the only day we donned masks that hide our identities. The fact is that bowing to peer pressure forces teens to play parts that are contrary to their true selves. Project SOS offers these tips for ditching the socially contrived disguises and boldly being yourself despite the pressures of your peers.
- Be your own cheerleader: Teens with low self esteem are the first to cower beneath peer pressure. Build yourself up by refusing to cut yourself down. Focus on what you love about yourself and work to make positive changes in the areas where you’re less confident.
- Seek like-minded friends: It’s true that “birds of a feather flock together.” Look for groups of people who have interests, ideals and goals that are similar to yours. This helps to significantly reduce the chance you’ll find yourself in an uncomfortable pressure situation.
- Consider the consequences: There are consequences to every decision you make – positive or negative. Be sure that you understand the potential consequences and choose your words and actions wisely.
- Have a confidant: Having a trusted confidant in your life, whether it’s a friend your own age, a relative or an adult counselor, will assure you’ve always got someone to talk to, help you make positive decisions, support you and hold you accountable.
- Trust your gut: Some types of peer pressure can be positive. For instance, supportive friends may provide just the push you need to go for that stage audition, team tryout, art competition, etc. you’ve been nervously considering. But when the pressure’s on to try something that your conscience tells you isn’t quite right, listen to it.
- Stand your ground: While it may seem an insurmountable task to stand up to your peers when the pressure’s on, try it anyway. Yes – you’ll likely catch some flack and some may shun you. But those who give you the cold shoulder aren’t your true friends anyway. And you just may find that your move helps to embolden others to more confidently stand their ground as well.
- Know that “this too shall pass”: Here’s the real kicker – One day, you’ll graduate, move out and move on. When that day comes, your truest friends will still be there for you, even if at a distance. Meanwhile, those who aren’t meant to be part of your life will simply fade into your past. Don’t let a temporary peer push you into a decision with long-term negative consequences.
Need help dealing with peer pressure or other issues facing today’s teens? Contact Project SOS at 904-296-9950 and talk with a Certified Life Coach today. Or, ask your school counselor or principal about hosting a Project SOS event or program at your school.