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When peer pressure is a positive matter
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When peer pressure is a positive matter

Peer pressure is typically used negatively. There is, in fact, a positive way to look at it
groups of students working
Representational image | Shutterstock

Often on social media, we hear of stories highlighting the negative side of wanting to ‘fit in’ or peer pressure. Surprisingly there is another way to look at it. Experts call it positive peer pressure. Happiest Health tells you how to use peer pressure in your favour through positive peer pressure.

Positive peer pressure is when someone’s peers inspire them to do something constructive or push them to grow in a positive way.

Dr. Ali Khwaja, a counsellor, columnist, and life skills coach at Banjara Academy, a counselling centre in Bengaluru, says, “Firstly, let us be aware that peer pressure is not always bad. There is also positive peer pressure, like peers encouraging a child to study better or giving him emotional support when he is feeling low. Only peer pressure that takes a child into bad habits needs to be tackled.”

He suggests simple techniques on how to resist peer pressure by giving well-thought-out excuses and reasoning while maintaining friendships. For example, if friends force a child to smoke, he can tell them that he is participating in sports events and smoking can bring down his energy levels.

Encourage your child to use positive peer pressure

Dr. Munia Bhattacharya, consultant psychologist at W Pratiksha Hospital, Gurgaon, says that the positive effects of peer pressure on teenagers are also evident by the example of a student who is motivated to get good grades because his friends are getting good grades—an action that can be attributed to positive peer pressure.

She suggests that rather than just warning one’s child about negative peer pressure, one should consider offering a few tips on setting and following positive examples in their peer group.

Instead of prohibiting, promote

Bhattacharya says that as a parent, one will probably want to take hard action on certain behaviours, such as drinking or smoking. But when it comes to other choices, such as talking ill about others, taking a negative attitude toward school, or playing video games for hours, one might see better results by encouraging positive behaviours instead of banning the ones parents don’t prefer.

According to Shweta Nema, an art and craft teacher and counsellor at Ojas Global School in Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh, having a group that exerts positive peer pressure can also help one give up bad habits and pick up healthy ones that can shape one’s personality and future. She suggests following ways to get benefitted from positive peer pressure.

  • Talk with your child about what their values are, and how they can demonstrate them. Encourage them to seek out friends with similar values.
  • A role model can offer powerful peer pressure or influence. Encourage your child to identify traits they want to emulate about their role models and support them to explore interest in good role models.

Tips for fostering positive peer pressure

Madhurima Acharya, Academic Coordinator (Senior School), Delhi Public School Newtown, says that once the school reopened after lockdown, as a teacher, we faced lots of problems in streamlining the students’ lives academically as well as emotionally. Kids are influenced by their peers. We wanted to utilise it positively, and it worked. She suggests some tips for fostering positive peer pressure.

Form a study group

We have formed a study group where kids teach and learn together. It helps kids in two ways. Firstly, it is easy for them to understand when their friends teach them something. Secondly, it encourages them to excel in their studies.

Organise events

We organise some educational events like science quizzes and GK quizzes. Some kids do not want to participate in these activities, but they do so to keep their friend’s company, and they eventually come to enjoy them.

Encourage students to use positive peer pressure

We teach students that their behaviour is always influencing others. Acting with confidence and sound judgement means others will be more inclined to respect them and follow their lead.

Trying new things

Some kids are shy about trying new things like calligraphy, singing, and dancing. But they actively take part in the classes if their friends are also there. It brings a sense of confidence and helps them learn new things in pleasant atmosphere.

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