by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
There are a few things in life that befuddle me to the enth degree. Peer pressure is one of them. I've never understood the concept— not as an adult and not as a child.
Why in the world would I purposely want to do what everyone else is doing. How unimaginative, uninspiring and downright pathetic.
Why would one willingly be part of a clique and copy or mimic what the rest of the group is doing? Isn't it better to use your own mind and decision-making power to do your own thing?
Sure there are circumstances where doing the same thing as someone else has merit — life and death situations and sharing legal & effective shortcuts are two— but to be swayed, convinced, forced, manipulated to do so just does not register for me.
Peer pressure is used by many kids and parents alike to justify a host of things — what a lame excuse. Clothing choice, drugs, smoking, alcohol, cheating, crime — the list is long and disturbing. Add to it the notion of bullying and then you have a toxic mix.
Bullies relish power. Bullies are usually insecure egomaniacs who prey on people they consider to be weak or powerless. Bullies have instant radar for those who cave at the mere mention of peer pressure.
Being an independent thinker, or even being stubborn for that matter are two ways of combatting the notion of peer pressure. A stubborn child is certainly not always fun to deal with but perhaps they should be given some credit if they dance to the beat of their own drum.
Stubbornness does not always have to be a bad thing. It can be a sign of leadership if used properly and within context.
One of the other main problems with the concept of peer pressure is that it's rooted in 'what other people think', in 'how people believe they are perceived by others'. Who cares? What does it matter if your car is bigger, your house is larger, if you shop at exclusive stores? Who cares and who has time to care? At the end of the day it's about how we treat each other, is't it?
One of the greatest challenges facing society these days is too many people who are easily swayed, who don't stand up for what they believe to be right, who change their minds with the wind direction, who follow blindly. Would you vote for one of these people, get an annual physical from them, work for them, or learn from them? Oh and if they jumped off a bridge, would you follow?