How to avoid negative peer pressure

Youngsters today are easily influenced by their peers, or social groups, for many reasons, for example to be liked or accepted.

This happens a lot in schools; students do things they are not ready for, or even don’t want to do, just so they ‘fit in’. Standing up for yourself can be scary, mostly if your schoolmates are pressuring you into something.

Bullying, smoking, drinking alcohol, stealing, sexual activity, drugs, to mention a few, all result from negative peer pressure. Dealing with academics is hard, so why would anyone add this reckless behaviour to it? It’s normal to realise the consequences after engaging in such, and it’s never too late to change for the better.

You have to understand that it’s okay to be ‘alone’. We may give in to peer pressure to avoid isolation, ignoring the fact that without this bad influence, we get to regenerate and highlight our priorities at school.

If being alone is not your thing, spend time with people that do not engage in such behaviour.  The people that stand up for themselves, even in the face of bullying. If you encounter mistreatment, approach a teacher, mentor or any other adult who can help.

Think twice before you make any decisions. Learn to be self-confident and think ahead. If you are being convinced to engage in anything you are not ready for, like alcohol, say ‘no’— it’s your right. Always go with your gut, if you don’t feel like doing something, don’t do it.

People will more respect you more if you stick to what you believe in and stand your ground. Choose your friends wisely. You are important, and your life counts, so don’t sell yourself short. Be yourself.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

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