Peer pressure can be a good thing.
You heard us right. Peer pressure can be a good thing. Maybe we should call it “peer encouragement.” Whatever the label, it can work in positive ways.
Grangeville High School’s Idaho Drug Free Youth chapter – about 18 members in all – spent time with Grangeville middle school students last Friday. Team building, interacting with new peer groups, laughing, talking and playing games were all part of the IDFY outreach exercise.
Why is this important? Because preteens and teens watch each other. They listen to each other. They want to know what their friends are doing. They want to emulate older students.
By mixing high school and middle school students in a positive social setting, peer pressure begins to bubble about.
The message of “don’t do drugs” was actually underscored by the message of “be yourself, but don’t be afraid to try new things.”
Statistics show one of the top reasons teens try drugs is because they are seeking social acceptance. If youth are accepted by their peers and have mentors and role models who participate in a variety of other activities who don’t condone drug use, they will be less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
The closing message, verbalized by GHS senior and IDFY leader Darby Finnegan, was the core of keeping our youth on the right path: “What we did here today was fun, but if it stays here it doesn’t mean a thing.”
Reach out. Support. Participate. And offer a little peer pressure for a positive outcome.