Peer pressure is not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. For as long as humans have gathered in groups to work together, there has always existed this herd mentality to act the same. This phenomenon called peer pressure can be positive or negative. Children are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure and its symptoms often go unnoticed. While some persons may argue that one cannot tell when a child suffers from peer pressure, there are clear signs that highlight its presence namely behavioral changes, attitude changes and a drop in academic performance.
Behavioral changes are a key indicator that a child suffers from peer pressure. As children grow up, they try different things to discover who they are. Some may join sports teams, others may learn musical instruments. Some children also experiment with drugs and alcohol. Peer pressure occurs when a child who is reluctant to engage in an activity, in this case consume drugs and alcohol, does so. They feel that they must partake in the activity to be included in their group and adopt this new behavior.
Attitude changes are also a key characteristic in children experiencing peer pressure. The children who choose not to adopt the new behaviors are sometimes shunned from their social groups. They are excluded to preserve the collective’s beliefs and ideas. At their young ages where they haven’t yet come into their own and depend on the approval of others to maintain their self-esteem, some experience depression. They withdraw from others and stay holed up in their rooms as a visceral reaction to their exclusion.
A drop in academic performance is another indicator that a child is suffering from peer pressure. A lack of concentration from partaking in drugs and alcohol or even depression from feeling excluded can lead some children to neglect their school work. They may lose their drive to focus on their studies because they lack their social support, their friends who they interact with for a large portion of their waking hours on a weekly basis.
In summary, children that experience peer pressure exhibit certain behaviors. They change their behaviors to fit in. They also may undergo a change of attitude. Some children’s academic performance may also drop.