Summary: Peer influence by itself is not bad Prov. 27:17. By Iron, iron itself is sharpened, so one man sharpens another. Fellowship with other youths can sharpen your personality and make you a better person, on condition that they have mature, healthy attitudes
HOW TO COPE WITH PEER PRESSURE
Many youths I have talked to admit that they did not really like the life they were living nor the things they are doing? Peer pressure. Everyone I am with is into these things and that has a big influence on me – says some of them. I don’t want to lose my friends by being different.
WHY YOUTHS FOLLOW THEIR PEERS
1). As youths get older the influence of parents reduces and they have a strong desire to be popular and be accepted by peers grows strong.
2). Other Youths simple feel a need to talk with someone who understands or who will make them feel loved or needed.
3). A lack of self – confidence and a feeling of insecurity caused some to be vulnerable to peer influence.
Peer influence by itself is not bad Prov. 27:17. By Iron, iron itself is sharpened, so one man sharpens another. Fellowship with other youths can sharpen your personality and make you a better person, on condition that they have mature, healthy attitudes. However it has been observed that most youths are lacking in maturity – both mental and spiritual. Many youths have views that are unreliable, unsound and even reckless. So often when a youth comes under the control of peers it is like a blind leading a blind and the consequences can be disastrous.
Even when influence from such friends is not towards bad behaviour their influence can still feel oppressive. Since your life and attitude are based mostly on being accepted by others. Since without others will mean you are unpopular, isolated and out of fashion.
Are you being influenced?
Have you too begun to dress, talk, and act a certain way to fit in? Peer pressure can be so subtle that you may not realize how much it is affecting you. Even the apostle Peter fail into it. After God revealed to him that all people including Gentiles were in His plan of salvation. Peter after freely socializing with these Gentiles suddenly at the visit of some Jews from Jerusalem started refusing to eat with them. Because he did not want to offend his Jews peers. Gal. 2:11-14. No one is immune to peer pressure. People say Amen, have boy/girl friends, cry in prayer/worship, pray in a certain way or do certain things just to fit in the mass. Don’t take this to mean peer pressure is always negative it can be positive but our concern is the negative influence.
Use your thinking ability
What are some of the things that you do that you do not like but do them because of your friends. Think for yourself. If you don’t like them, you can say no to them – thinking for yourself and do not allow others to think and decide for you. The Bible urges youths to develop knowledge and thinking ability. Prov. 1:1-5. If you use your thinking ability you will not need to lean on inexperienced peers for direction – but listens to council and accept discipline (Prov. 14:16, 19:20).
Your friends will dislike or even ridicule you for using your thinking facilities – the man or woman of thinking ability is hated Prov. 14:17. But those who have more strength of character are those who can say no to improper desires – where are those who ridicule you heading to? Is that where you want your life to end up. Often those who ridicule you are jealous of you and are covering up their own insecurity by ridicule.
Escaping the Trap
The fear of man is a trap. Prov. 29:25. Today the desire to be accepted by your peers can likewise serve as a bait. It can lure you into the trap of violating godly standards. How then can you escape the fear of being accepted by man?
First – you need to choose your friends carefully Prov. 13:20. Make friends with others who show and have Christians values and standards. This will limit your friends. When you stay off certain friends they will stay away from you. For some of you it will leave you lonely but it is better to suffer some loneliness than let peer influence drag you down spiritually and morally. Associate with other Christians and family members.
Secondly listen to your parents; they will help you resist peer pressure. Prov. 23:22. They will teach you proper values. Most of us will not like our parents when they are firm with us but we will always look back and be grateful at their influence.
Thirdly develop a sense of self – worth and feel important by your right. In this very way you will not have to depend on peer approval for a good self –image. Strive to keep skilful and competent in what you do at school, house, church, and society. Strive to be a workman with nothing to be ashamed of handling the word of the truth aright in the Christian Ministry. 2 Timothy 2:15.