“If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”
Ah, the immortal words used by parents everywhere when trying to explain the negative effect of peer pressure on teenagers. At least, that was the phrase used back in my day. When we wore hoops under our dresses and tied our bonnets on with ribbons.
I’m kidding obviously. Because no, I am not quite old enough to actually have lived in the Ye Olden Days. Despite what my kids might think. Although some days, days like today, it really does feel like a lifetime ago since I was a teenager and my dad was saying those words to me.
This isn’t Alison – but we’re sure this is how it went down.
Though today it is my turn to be the one having the talk. The talk about why yes, friends are important and yes, I know we all want to fit in. But sometimes, peer pressure can lead us down a path we really don’t want to go, or know we shouldn’t. So a teenager needs to have some tricks up her sleeve to cope with the pressure. I figure the time has come for my girl to learn some of those tricks. I also figure that while I have her captive in the car with me, as I drive her from school to her swimming session, is going to be the best time to grab her attention.
I’ve done some reading up before having this chat. I looked on the Kids Helpline website, and the excellent ReachOut website.
One thing that hadn’t occurred to me before was that peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing. With the right group of friends, peer pressure can help a teenager find their place in the world, and encourage good habits.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Nissan Pathfinder. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Like the one she and her friend have decided to form over these agonisingly long (for us parents anyway) summer holidays. A 3-4 km run “first thing in the morning mum!” three times a week. First thing in the morning means something different to a 15 year old on holidays, but still, 8.30am kick off isn’t too bad.
It won’t last…
Then there are the peers she has in her swimming squad, who use their competitive streaks to push each other not just to turn up, but to swim their best each and every time.
So yes, I can acknowledge, now that I think about it, that the words “peer pressure” don’t always have to strike fear into my heart.
Back in my day, I was pretty lucky with my chosen peers. Apart from pressure about wearing the right labels (Country Road anyone?) and competing to see who had the best tan (baby oil worked a treat) or the best grades, there wasn’t a lot of pressure on me to do anything either too bad, or that made me too uncomfortable.