Whether one recognizes it or not, peers have a lot of influence on one’s life. When the influence is exerted continuously, it leads to peer pressure. Members of Peer groups encourage a person to change his/her behavior, morals, and thoughts to conform to set norms and standards. Peer pressure can lead to either negative or positive influences such as hanging out with the wrong crowd or learning efficient ways of doing things. The need for compassion, to learn from others is some of the reasons that create the need for peer groups.
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Peer pressure can affect anyone, regardless of their age and background. It can occur at school, the workplace, or within the larger society. The need and desire to belong and fit in the community is the main cause of peer pressure. It is human nature to associate with other people and to be accepted and receive compassion. Peer groups are also a great source of friends, as people share life experiences, they build strong lasting bonds and a base for lasting friendship. The need for success is another cause of peer pressure. People identify and compare themselves to their peers, they mirror themselves against their peer’s behaviors, and may choose to be or not be like their peers.
Peer pressure is most prevalent during adolescence, where teens replace family with peer group as the main source for leisure and social activities. At this age, teens are curious to try new things on their own; outside the family circle. In other cases, teens are insecure and are looking for approval from their age mates, or they simply want to be liked. With increased emotional, physical and social changes, which are characteristic of adolescents, teens start to question the standards sets by the adults and parents. At this stage, advice from age-mates is more preferred than approaching a parent or adult.
Although peer pressure is mostly associated with teenagers, the reality is adults also face peer pressure. In the workplace, adults deal with peer pressure as they struggle to please other, while at the same time making their own informed decision. Adults tend to make use of scripts borrowed from their teen life to deal with perceive pressure from their workmates. Although the reaction might be different, the need for conformity and compassion is very real. Take for instance a person invited to a weekend group party by his/her colleagues. Although nobody may be persuading the person to attend the party, the person may feel obligated to attend. Thus, peer pressure is there but the person has an upper hand in choosing his/her response.
As one becomes more independent, the influence from peer increase. Influences exerted by peers create peer pressure, which can result in negative or positive attitudes, behavior and/or morals. The need for compassion, acceptance and the need to fit in a community creates the need for peers. Peer pressure is applied with most force during adolescence as the teen starts to question adults’ wisdom. Peer pressure is also common in adults, although the response is different depending on the situation.