Friends and peers mostly affect children’s personality and behaviour

Friends and peers mostly affect children’s personality and behaviour


Peer pressure is the influence wielded by people within the same social group. It is also the term used to describe the effect this influence has on a person to conform in order to be accepted by the group. Often, peers are thought of as friends, but peers can be anyone of a similar status, such as people who are the same age, who have the same abilities, or who share a social status.

Peer pressure is commonly thought of in a negative light, but in reality, it’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes peer pressure is used to positively influence people, such as when teens work toward common goals such as doing well in school or helping out in their community. Learning about acceptable group norms can be a positive part of learning how to live with and socialize with other people.

The way your child (or you, for that matter) responds to peer pressure can indicate who they are as an individual. Natural leaders tend to be less susceptible to bad forms of peer pressure, while followers may have a harder time resisting it.

There are a variety of negative health indicators that show a peek during adolescence, namely homicide rates, non-intentional injuries, driving under alcohol effect or infection by sexually-transmitted diseases. Experimenting substances also occurs usually during adolescents, a time of development in which tolerance is lower and the risk of dependency increases. Peers and family have a key role in promoting health during adolescence, as well as, the perception that youngsters have of their quality of life and subjective well-being. Health does not depend solely on the delivery of health care during illness; on the contrary, influence of different settings may be crucial .

Some signs that your child may be experiencing peer pressure include:

  • Avoiding school or other social situations
  • Being very image-conscious1
  • Changes in behavior                                                                                                                          
  • Expressing feeling like they don’t fit in
  • Low moods
  • Making social comparisons
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trying out new hair or clothing styles



  • The relation with parents may be a mitigating factor of the negative influence by peers. Communicating family rules and parental style have been inversely associated to substance, alcohol and tobacco consumption during adolescence. This influence is essential for adolescents’ development up to adulthood. Communication between parents and adolescents emerges as a protective factor for alcohol, tobacco and substance use

Of course this has both positive and negative conspicuities

Positive Peer Pressure

Positive peer pressure is when someone’s peers encourage them to do something positive or push them to grow in a beneficial way.

Here are a few examples of positive peer pressure:

  • Pushing a friend to study harder so they can get better grades
  • Getting an after-school job and convincing friends to get a job too
  • Saving money for a big purchase like a car and encouraging friends to do the same                                                       
  • Disapproving of bigoted jokes or gossiping
  • Discouraging illegal or risky behavior, like under-age drinking or smoking

Negative Peer Pressure

Negative peer pressure, on the other hand, involves pressure to do something dangerous or damaging to themselves or others.

Here some examples of negative peer pressure:

  • Convincing a friend to skip school
  • Encouraging a peer to fight or bully someone
  • Getting friends to engage in sexting
  • Pressuring a friend to drink or try drugs
  • Pushing someone to buy e-cigarettes online                                                                                                              



While peer pressure can be difficult, it isn’t always a bad thing. Positive peer pressure can be a valuable part of learning how to socialize and even growing as a person. The type of peer pressure your child is experiencing depends on the peer group they socialize with as well as the larger social groups they interact with, both in person and online.

  • If you suspect that your kids are struggling with negative peer pressure, encourage them to talk to you. Sometimes kids don’t want to talk to their parents about peer pressure. If that’s the case, don’t take it personally. Encourage them to talk about it with another trusted adult, like a teacher, a school counselor, a doctor, or a therapist. 
  • Danai Paschalidi, A4

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