How to Deal with Peer Pressure at Any Age

Peer pressure can happen at any age; even as an adult. It's simply the act of being influenced to do something you wouldn't normally do. It's something that both adults and kids deal with regularly.
It's normal to want to be part of a group or feel wanted by the people around you, especially if they are people that you look up to.
Peer pressure can happen because you don't want to feel left out. You choose to do what others are doing in order to fit in. You may do things that are uncharacteristic of yourself because you are trying to live up to people's expectations. What's important to remember is to not lose sight of what you want in life and forget what your own expectations are.
Peer Pressure Isn't Always Negative
Sometimes peer pressure can influence your life positively by motivating you to be the best that you can be. That's not always the case however and a good way to determine whether it's negative is when it goes against your own moral code.
Peer pressure can influence you in many ways such as the clothes you wear, the kind of friends you hang out with or whether you use drugs or alcohol.
Where Does It Come From?
Peer pressure can appear in school. It affects kids of any background or age. It can affect you directly and indirectly.
Direct Peer Pressure: Someone telling you what to do either in a threatening or non-threatening way.
Indirect Peer Pressure: Habits that happen in some groups but not others. You may not even realize you are changing your behavior to suit one social situation or another.
Individual Peer Pressure: You might feel under pressure to do things you wouldn't normally do in order to fit in with a certain group of kids.
How to Stop Peer Pressure from Happening to You
Being your own person means making decisions that determine what's best for you. You need to take responsibility for what you think and the things you do. You also deserve to feel welcomed in any group. Peer pressure can be hard to avoid at times but becoming your own person is crucial in staying true to yourself. Here are some tips to avoiding peer pressure:
Find Common Values
Hang out with kids who already share your values and morals, this way you don't feel the pressure to do something you're not comfortable with.
Just Say No
It can be hard having the strength to say no to someone, but it can also feel liberating as well. 
Don't Judge
If you don't want to do something that others are doing, that's great, but don't judge them either. Giving respect to others can help you earn their respect as well.
Stand Up for Yourself
Get comfortable in your environment by standing up for yourself so you don't feel like the outsider. Stand up for yourself against peer pressure and you will develop a sense of self-worth. 
(c) Empowering the Youth of Today, 2016
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