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Peer Pressure Drinking
Peer pressure is one of the most common reasons that teens begin drinking. Read this article to learn more about peer pressure and teen alcohol use. Keep reading for tips on how to handle peer pressure drinking and resist peer pressure in different situations.
Peer pressure occurs when teens feel like they need to do something to be accepted by their peers. During the adolescent and teen years, acceptance by peers is an important part of the way young people understand themselves and their identity. Peer pressure can be positive, such as when a teen wants to do well in school or sports because their friends are doing those things too, but peer pressure can have serious negative consequences when teens are pressured by their peers to do harmful things, like drinking alcohol.
Peer pressure can take many forms. Some types of peer pressure are direct and verbal, when a teen's peers tell them they should do something like try alcohol. Some examples of this type of peer pressure include sayings like:
Peer pressure drinking can also involve teens being excluded from a group because they won't drink or do other things the group does. Teens may feel like if they give into peer pressure drinking they will fit in with the group or be accepted. If the group is singling them out for teasing, it may increase the pressure to drink to fit in.
Sometimes peer pressure comes from what a teen imagines other teens are doing. Examples of this are TV shows, movies, and advertisements that make teens think that their peers drink more than they actually do. A teen may feel pressured to drink to be more like the teens he or she sees in the media, even if those teens aren't real and don't represent what real teens are doing. Teens often think the media reflects reality, though it does not.
Resisting Peer Pressure Drinking
One way to combat peer pressure drinking is to educate teens. Some facts that may help teens include:
Teens need to learn to recognize peer pressure and avoid making decision based on what other people do, say, or think. This is an important part of growing up. If teens allow other people to make their decisions for them, they will find themselves doing a lot of things they don't want to do, like doing something illegal and getting in trouble, performing poorly in school and missing out on opportunities, or having sex before they're ready.
Teens and parents can also do other things to help teens resist negative peer pressure:
Standing up to peer pressure drinking is hard, but it will make you feel better about yourself in the long run, and will give you the self confidence and freedom to make other decisions about what you want out of your life.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Cool Spot, "Peer Pressure" [online]
PBS Kids Go!, It's My Life, "Alcohol: Peer Pressure" [online]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Office of Applied Studies, "Results from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings" [online]
Related Article: Alcohol Abuse Prevention >>