If we think long enough, we will be able to remember a time when we faced that awful thing: peer pressure. It’s one of those times in life when we are faced with a decision, to follow “the crowd” or stand on our own convictions. Our students face it all the time. Some do well with it while others struggle through. Students, however, are not the only ones who face this. Ron Cooney says, “But peer pressure isn’t an issue just for America’s youth. It’s one of those things you’ll continue to deal with until you’re in your nineties. It affects every age group.”
Merriam-Webster defines peer pressure as, “a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one’s age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them.” Based on that definition it is easy to see why people experience such peer pressure.
We all desire to be liked and accepted by our peers. Further, deep down within us is a desire to be valued for who are designed to be. Many people spend a lot of energy trying to impress others for the sole purpose of being accepted, valued, and liked. They will even make decisions that go against personal convictions to “please” others in order to fit in with the group. We can all relate to those situations.
This begs the question, “Who am I?” Are we created to simply please other people to “fit in” or be “liked?” Of course not. God has better plans than that for creating us. In Christ, we are so much more than just people who face peer pressure. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that we are “a new creation.” Ephesians 2:10 says that were are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” John 1:12 says we are a “child of God.” As believers, “we are the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). He made us and has a plan for us.
For Christ-followers, we are not alone and He is with us in those “peer pressure” moments.
When those moments come, and they will, we can take some steps that will help.
Things we can do when peer pressure mounts: