The Drug Class Blog

Sep 02

Back to School - New Pressures

Peer Pressure


You have always told yourself that you would not smoke pot. It is not something that interests you and you know that it could possibly lead you down a path that you don’t want to follow. Then you find yourself at a party one night, surrounded by friends who are passing around a bowl. Your one friend keeps trying to hand you the bowl, telling you to smoke. The first two times you say no thanks, but which each ask you start to get more anxious, as your thoughts begin to drift to what will happen if you continue to say no. Will these people think you’re a dork? Will they not like you? Will you have to find new friends?


Eventually, the anxiety becomes too overwhelming and you give in. As the smoke enters into your lungs you are mixed with feelings of guilt and relief. Guilt for giving into the pressure and relief because you are a part of. You don’t have to worry about what others will think because you are doing what they are doing, but at what expense does this acceptance come? It’s so important to know what you plan on saying when people ask why you don’t drink or smoke pot.


Peer pressure is something that almost all teenagers have to deal with. It comes with the territory and yet we often don’t really equip our teens with the skills necessary to deal with such pressure. We often times tell them platitudes like stick to your guns, or don’t just follow the crowd, but many times these sayings are meaningless when caught in the moment of peer pressure.


At moments when all of your friends or peers are attempting to persuade you to do something that you are opposed to, rational thinking usually goes out the window and you are driven by emotions and the need to fit in.


This is particularly true for teenagers because of the way that the brain works during adolescence. During, adolescence the number of brain receptors that interact with dopamine is higher than at any other time in a person’s life. This means that the brain’s reward center is working overtime and anything that is seen as a reward is given a greater importance than anything else. Due to this teens will seek the approval of their peers because of the way that it makes them feel. On this same note since teens are known to be particularly vicious in how they can attack each other, the difference between acceptance and non-acceptance, on a biological level, can be tremendous.


So as if the confusion of attempting to navigate the teenage world wasn’t perplexing enough, it appears that your brain is actually working against you in your ability to resist peer pressure. This, however, does not mean that resisting peer pressure is not possible. In fact, many teenagers are able to do this day in and day out.


One of the best ways to deal with peer pressure is to own your decisions. What I mean by this is that when you say no to something, you say it in a way that is not open for discussion or debate. This does not mean that you have to be rude, but when you tell people no in a confident manner and don’t make excuses for yourself, people tend to back off. It is only when you are wishy-washy with your decisions that people will attempt to pressure you because they can sense that you may not be sure of your no. When you say no confidentially people will also respect you for that and in turn, you probably won’t have the backlash that you fear will come from not subsiding to peer pressure.


This is not to say that people will not still attempt to pressure you, or even make you feel bad about not giving in because that is bound to happen. There will always be those outliers that for whatever reason really want you to follow what it is that they are suggesting. The thing to think about here is why are they so intent on pressuring you?


Often times people don’t stop and think about this question, but it is important to ponder. It is important to understand what causes people to pressure others if you are going to attempt to deal with peer pressure. Many times someone who is attempting to force you to do something is doing so because they either believe what they are doing is wrong and need someone else to reinforce their behavior, or because they lack self-esteem and need others to validate them. So in reality peer pressure has less to do with you and more to do with the person that is pressuring you.


Think of it this way. Let’s say all of your friends are on the football team, but they know that you really like soccer. More than likely they are not going to pressure you to play football because there is no need for them to reinforce their own behavior. But let’s say that your friends have all started to smoke pot but you don’t want to. They will more than likely attempt to pressure you to do so because they may believe that what they are doing is wrong and so your submitting equates to validation. The more you resist their pressure, the more their fear that they are doing something wrong is confirmed and that is why people will often get mad when you do not submit to peer pressure.


I know that it can be difficult to be your own man or woman when you are in your teens but standing by what you believe and want is a lot more fulfilling than giving in to others. As every adult will tell you, having everyone in highschool like you will not be important later on in life, but some of the decisions that can be made because of peer pressure can negatively affect your future. This is an almost impossible thing to grasp while you are in it, so just remember, do your best and try to remain true to your values and beliefs.





Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.


You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram



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