Peer Pressure

peer pressureSchools Back and with that comes Peer Pressure!  When I think about the youth of the world I can’t help but think of those two words.

I was at a local track meet before summer and was inspired watching the athletes compete.  The look on their faces when they approached the finish line was what I enjoyed the most.  Such determination in each one of them.  All their hard work and discipline paid off.

During the track meet a group of 50-60 kids from the local high school walked across the field like they owned it while events were taking place. They headed for center field like it was their arena they were denied.  As they passed by all the parents, we heard them saying how excited they were to have come to watch a fight.  The mob quickly circled around a couple of guys who were about to be center stage when the principal and another teacher quickly diffused the situation.  Kudos’ to both of them for taking charge of such an enormous group of kids.  Unfortunately sometimes there is not always an adult near by to stop this kind of potential life changing mistake.  Young guys get all fired up and can’t control their hormones, they get lost in the moment, and because of peer pressure they lose complete control.

Some kids just haven’t got the confidence to make choices that will prevent the pressure from getting the better of them.  This lack of confidence can lead them into a compromising situation that they are not equipped to deal with, which could potentially change their life.

I think peer pressure is the underlying reason for most altercations between young guys or boys.  I believe fighting should be for one purpose and one purpose only, self defense.  My Dad trained for years in Kyokushin Karate (full contact karate), Scott achieved his Black belt through discipline and hard work and Bonnie and I trained in kickboxing together for several years, so I have a long history of being around controlled sparring.  Confidence is a very empowering feeling.  At some point in your life you may need to fight, it’s important to know how to protect yourself, but fighting today is not what it used to be.  The fight you participate in today may be the end of your life two weeks later because of retaliation.

Why has it become acceptable to stand by and watch?  If no one watched, the behavior would simply not happen.  My Dad gave me advice as a teen that always stayed with me, even today.  “If you are ever somewhere you don’t want to be, or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, leave!” It’s basically another way to use your voice. Walking away makes a statement too.

I think as parents we need to take some responsibility in the actions of our kids.  We need to know where are kids are and who they spend time with.  They need to know that they matter and that they can talk to us about absolutely anything.  Communication is key in keeping our kids safe and out of harms way.  Sometimes we let our kids down when they really need us.  We are there for them throughout elementary school but just drop them at the doors of high school and assume they don’t need us anymore, when in fact they need us even more.  We need to be there for our kids especially when they are trying to find their place in life.

If you would like more information on how to deal with peer pressure visit the link below.

Dealing with Peer PressureTracy

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4 thoughts on “Peer Pressure

  1. What a complicated topic. The need to fit in and ‘belong’ is so overwhelming in kids that some will do almost anything to be accepted. Their peer group becomes more important than their family for a while. Like so many other issues kids face, it really starts in the home and, like you said, with communication. Talk is NOT cheap. It’s what makes the world go ’round. Too many distractions out there now and kids and parents aren’t talking enough. I’d rather talk too much and risk my kids thinking I’m an idiot (and they sometimes do, naturally) than have them feel like they had to find support elsewhere.

  2. Wow, I can’t believe that those highschool kids would interupt a track meet. A place where there are adults! To congregate for a fight! I just don’t get it. I have often told my kids the same thing your dad told you, if something doesn’t feel right, then move along. They need to be responsible for their contribution, and to walk away from these situations. Unfortunately, our kids will do so, but there aren’t enough that have been taught this.

    As an adult I struggle with worrying about the repercussions. I think that “what if they…”
    Like when teenagers climb my neighbors fence to pick plums from their tree. I let that go – eventhough I want to tell them to get the hell off the fence, but really…what’s the harm? My neighbor just lets them fall into the alley, why can’t they be picked and enjoyed. And then as my family and I watch, them looking at me silently urging me to “be quiet”, I hear a branch snap, and watch the one boy hand a small branch to his friend, then snap again. And that’s it, destruction…I snap…”If your going to take the plums, at least don’t break the branches” to which he replies “Umm, it was an accident.”, “Okay, but seriously…you need to be more careful” As my family looks at me – Gawd Mom, why did you have to say something.
    I guess they haven’t learned it all yet, as I explain to my kids and my husband – why. Why do I have to justify doing something right?

    • Janet, it is incredible what some kids feel they can get away with right under the noses of adults! In many cases they know our hands are tied or we’d be too crazy to get involved in an altercation. I used to be fearless, but you wouldn’t catch me trying to break up a fight nowadays. I’d be on my cell calling for back up, though. It’s very sad.
      Don’t feel you have to justify your actions. Your instincts as a mom are usually spot on!

  3. It is all about talking your right Jacquie, as parents we need to talk to one another as well. I have been given some great insight by both you and Bonnie both having older kids. I too would much rather my kids think I am too open than not feel they could come to me with something they might need help with. It’s all about getting the conversation going isn’t it!

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