Updated: May 24, 2019
According to the oracle of Wikipedia, Peer pressure (or social pressure) is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviours to conform to those of the influencing group or individual.
Quite a statement.
Children and adults alike, will all feel peer pressure at least once in their lives, sadly some will have the constant nagging of peer pressure and questioning self-worth more frequently, whether this relates to the right pair of trainers, belonging to the right social circle or doing well or indeed not so well at school.
On the flip side, peer or social pressure can push people to achieve. It can elevate the desire to succeed, to learn, to understand and to some extent conform. Studies have shown in majority of cases, adults and children alike will improve if they mix within peer groups which are more capable than themselves, assuming the level is within reasonable grasp and to some extent achievable.
A friends son surpassed all expectations in his recent GCSE exams. He is without question a smart young man, but had boarded with an exceptional student with a strong and dedicated work ethic. This ethic and desire to succeed rubbed off and influenced young James reflected in his outstanding results. Conversely how many gifted, talented young adults do not allow themselves to shine for the fear of being too smart, too capable and standing out in the classroom, for the fear of being labelled a geek, or indeed far worse. We love the film "Mean Girls" but it does carry a strong message.
Peer and social pressure can be powerful. It can help raise the bar, improve performance, focus and work ethic. Conversely when the pressure becomes too extreme, it can have a devastating outcome of the very worse kind.
I'm a fan of succeeding and achievement, not all bells and whistles and high level accolade achievements but small wins, personal improvements or good deeds that provide that lovely inner "Ready Brek" glow.
Balance, understanding, self-belief, self-acceptance and strength of mind are the key.
Back to Wikipedia "direct influence on people by peers"... let's take a collective step and aim for a "Ready Brek" glow and not Mean Girls chaos!