If there is something worse than pressure from school – it is pressure from your peers. Peer pressure is defined as the influence of members of one’s peer group and could include friends and family; both of which have virtually identical consequences to an individual.
Often, these pressures can develop from a young age up until early adulthood. Individuals with peer pressure are often seen “swimming with the stream” by imitating their peer group’s norms, behaviours, attitudes, fashion choices and verbal articulation to earn petty acceptance and approval. This may not seem like a bad thing, but it is an indication that the individual may lack self-esteem and confidence.
“It’s probably a huge problem, especially for teenagers,” said Lee Shi Hau, a student from Monash University Malaysia, “this is because they’re at that development stage where reality doesn’t seem like rainbows and butterflies anymore”.
He states that peer pressure during the teenage years may become an issue leading up to adulthood, as they experience escalating insecurity about their own identities. This is because they always conform to what is considered “normal behaviour” within their social circle.
“Some may regard this behaviour from peer pressure as something normal, which seems alright at first. However, following the masses was not a trait that successful people like Elon Musk had in the beginning,” he added.
Not surprisingly, parents are a crucial component in leading an insecure child into adolescence and, ultimately, healthy adulthood. This is significant because a child usually follows the behaviour patterns and lifestyle choices of their parents from a young age; if the parents are highly-active sportsmen who value a healthy lifestyle, the child would eventually get into sports, as well. If the parents are harsh to the extent where they demonstrate abusive tendencies, then it is reasonable to suggest that the child may carry those same tendencies as they move into adulthood. Simply said, no amount of peer pressure can shake the confidence and integrity gained from childhood experiences.
Though peer pressure is disseminated rather easier now than before as social media allow for more communication between peers – which provides a platform for spreading influence. “Often times, the language that we speak and the words we use tend to suit the society more than it suits ourselves,” said Justin Chong, a business student in Australia, “We use vulgar words not because we want to but because people think it’s cool.”
“Fashion choices can also be impacted by peer pressure, as proven in the line of streetwear. People tend to wear what they think is more appealing to others, even if it’s not to their own liking,” he enjoined.
Consequently, the influence from peer pressure can be so large that (figuratively) it can gain executive control over how a person goes through the decision-making process – exactly like how a parasite would control the nervous system of their host.
Tan Zheng Kai, a student currently studying in Kuala Lumpur, stated that peer pressure can be very powerful because it can make decisions for you like buying shirts that do not appeal to you but feel that you will receive compliments from others and doing it so that you can fit in with the crowd.
“You want an iPhone just because all the cool kids are using it. You want a Gucci belt as all your friends have it,” he remarked.
Whatever it is, peer pressure is unmistakably a young people’s dilemma.