How To Deal With Peer Pressure and Bullying?
Dealing with peer pressure and bullying can be a challenging experience, particularly for young people. It can affect self-esteem, confidence, and overall mental health. If you have watched “13 Reasons Why,” you may be able to understand to what extent bullying and peer pressure can go. It has the ability to kill, attempt suicide, become a drug abuser, or even engage in sexual assault. In this article, we will discuss some ways for dealing with peer pressure and bullying.
Peer Pressure Vs. Bullying
While both create an unhealthy environment in an educational institution or at home, they are slightly different from one another. In fact, peer pressure in some cases can have a positive impact on the students. I am definitely not siding with the problem, but as per studies, there are some impacts of peer pressure that have led to a student’s growth.
Peer pressure is when an individual or a group forces you to conform to their pattern of living; encourages you to change your attitude, values, or behavior. Such people or groups influence you to transform into an individual you won’t normally become. They could compel you to engage in activities that you are not comfortable doing or understand deep down, are wrong. However, in some cases, to be accepted by a certain person or group, we ourselves tend to subside into graceless habits without any pressure. The intention of being accepted drives us to be under the umbrella of peer pressure.
Bullying, on the other hand, is more detectable. Body shaming, sexual abuse, commentary, hitting, torturing, name-calling, spreading rumors, gossiping, and so much comes under the category of bullying. Bullying can never have a positive impact as in the case of peer pressure. It is believed that bullies are mainly people who lack confidence, have an identity crisis, feel unloved, or lacked parent attention.
Peer pressure or bullying, the worst people are still bystanders who do nothing but laugh at the victim. You are equally to be blamed as doing nothing is also supporting crime.
Types of Peer Pressure
When you dig deep and unfold the layers of peer pressure, you understand it’s not alone limited to certain activities you may have heard of. It could seem hidden or be in another form. You might also be a victim of it and not know. Hence, it is noteworthy to understand the types of peer pressure to avoid getting into such situations or help someone dealing with the same.
Positive Peer Pressure
This kind of peer pressure has the ability to influence people to do and be better. How? If your friend is body shaming, you could instantly point it out and let them know it’s wrong and harmful. If they really want to be your friend, they would change their habit of being a bully. Similarly, if you are scoring well in your class, other students might feel pressured to perform equally well.
Negative Peer Pressure
As per recent statistics, only 10% of adolescents have never been influenced by peer pressure. Imagine the mental health and life of the others.
Negative peers around you result in destructive outcomes due to being pressured into activities you won’t normally agree to do. It can include substance abuse, engaging in sexual activities as a youngster, socializing selectively, entertaining other illegal actions, etc.
Direct Peer Pressure
This kind of peer pressure includes verbal or non-verbal signals to intimidate a person to do something. Verbal pressure consists of words that force an individual to change -“Try a puff, it won’t do any harm.” However, non-verbal pressure follows the ‘actions are louder than words’ concept – one might regularly smoke around you, offer you a cigarette, and once you agree, they would feel happy or proud of you. This gives you an assurance that if you smoke, you will be accepted by them irrespective of how you are presently.
Indirect Peer Pressure
This kind of pressure does not mean the peer group will physically force you to change. You might melt into altering yourself to be a part of that social group. No words, no actions, and no contact is required. To fit in, you might start dressing up like their social group, intake alcohol around them to appear cool, or even become a bully to be liked.
Spoken Peer Pressure
Spoken peer pressure is an understood term. The individual or peer group directly influences a person to engage in things they won’t typically do. No one physically forces you but they know exactly how to deliver the message to get you into doing what they want.
Unspoken Peer Pressure
Just like indirect peer pressure, you partake in activities that are unsuitable or wrong for you. However, just to fit in, you might easily slip into entertaining these actions day by day to get yourself a group of friends.
6 Ways to Combat Bullying and Peer Pressure
For the people who understand the negative impact of peer pressure and bullying and are no longer willing to surrender to this crime, you need to learn to fight against it.
Recognize the Problem
The first step to dealing with peer pressure and bullying is to recognize the problem. It’s important to understand that peer pressure and bullying are not your fault and that it’s not something you have to go through alone. Recognizing the problem can help you take steps to address it.
If you’re experiencing peer pressure or bullying, it’s important to speak up. Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, or school counselor. They can provide support, guidance, and resources to help you deal with the situation. It’s also important to let your friends know how you feel and ask for their support.
Building self-esteem can help you deal with peer pressure and bullying. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities, and surround yourself with positive influences. Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself and take care of your physical and mental health. You are unique no matter how hard you try to conform to a set of cubes.
Setting boundaries can help you deal with peer pressure and bullying. Be clear about what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not. If someone is pressuring you to do something that you don’t want to do, say no and stick to your decision. Remember, it’s okay to say no.
An old friend once said I was uncool for not smoking and drinking. She said I wasn’t living my life to the fullest. However, I did not bury myself in her words and stood by my own principles. No one pressured me to do anything since the day I stood up for myself and made them clear about my boundaries.
If you’re being bullied, it’s important to stay safe. Avoid situations where you might be alone with the bully, and seek help if you feel threatened or unsafe. It’s also important to take care of your physical and emotional health.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re struggling to deal with peer pressure and bullying, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide support, guidance, and strategies for coping with the situation. They can also help you develop skills for building resilience and self-esteem.
Dealing with peer pressure and bullying can be a difficult experience, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. By recognizing the problem, speaking up, building self-esteem, setting boundaries, staying safe, and seeking professional help, you can develop the skills and strategies to cope with the situation and move forward with confidence and resilience.
SEE ALSO: How Instagram Can Sink Your Self-Esteem?
How Can Parents Help Their Children With Peer Pressure and Bullying?
Children all over the world are suffering due to peer pressure and bullying. But it’s the parents that can help them when no one comes forward. However, such cases can be overly sensitive. They need to be handled with the utmost care, love, affection, and above all, understanding. You can’t boil up and end up blaming your child for everything.
Communication is the Key to every Relationship
Talk to your child about everything. Teach them about body positivity, puberty, how the body functions, what changes it experiences, or what happens if one drinks and smokes too much. Talk about friendships, liking, love, and relationships, and warn them about pressure.
Assure your Child
A child needs to be assured their parents are on their side no matter what. They might come to you after bullying someone and feeling guilty about it. Make them realize their mistakes humbly. You cannot afford to erupt at this point. However, make sure they apologize to the victim and do not repeat the same mistake again.
Motivate Them into Being Themselves
Appreciate their characteristics and their inner beauty. This might make them realize they are more than just the words others call them. It will encourage the child to feel confident in their own mind and body. A lot of decisions rely on confidence, hence, the key is to enhance it.
Set a Good Example
Children learn from experiences. And if you bully or body-shame someone, whether in person or in a movie, they may apply the same to others. They may counter-question your actions if you try to stop them. Don’t do anything like this in front of your children even out of fun. Even if you fight in front of your child, they might isolate themselves but take it out on others.
Get to Know Your Child’s Group
Call it nosing or peeking, you must know every person they are hanging out with. At least you have an idea if they are good or bad influences. And accordingly, you can talk to your child about how conscious they should be.
Teach Them to Say No
The most important thing you can teach them and apply even to your partner is saying NO when necessary. Many people are afraid to use it as it might cost them, friends, or family. However, it will help one get out of situations that could ruin their life. Teaching your child to say ‘no’ can help them get out of difficult situations.
Listen to Them Patiently
Don’t react before hearing the complete story. They might start lying to you or avoid the conversation altogether. Instead, listen to them patiently and make them feel safe. Talk to them openly about everything to help them understand the situation calmly.
Don’t Let the Fear of Peer Pressure and Bullying Stop You from Giving Them Freedom
The more you hold tightly or control them, the more they will slip out of your hands. Let them explore responsibly or even in your presence. I drink with my mom or tell her honestly if a friend is offering. However, my mother had to build that level of comfort by not controlling me and instead talking to me openly about everything and not judging me.
Help Them Stand Against the Bullies
Teach them how to deal with bullies and go against them confidently. Because if your child keeps fearing them, they might become a victim of something much worse. Tell them about helplines, and about anti-bullying laws in the school/college premises. The more they know about the law, the more confident they will be. Tell them why bullies become bullies in the first place. Talk about psychology and safety or self-defense with them.