In my essay, I hope to prove that positive peer pressure is good for self-development and that even negative peer pressure may help some people develop. I contend that positive peer pressure may force a person to excel, and that fighting negative peer pressure may help build character.
Peer pressure is the social influence that people in your particular group have over you. People pleasers are typically more prone to peer pressure, and people with more to lose from losing their group are prone to peer pressure. A common example of people having more to lose is with gangs in the US. Members of the gang will often have little else in their lives to enable them to walk away from their gang. In that case, if they are pressured into doing something for the gang, then the member is more susceptible because he or she cannot risk losing membership in the gang. (Montgomery, 1996).
I contend that positive peer pressure may force a person to excel. Sports and competitive events seem to prove this. People who enter competitive events are typically forced to work hard because of their own will and because they have people relying on them to perform well. If a competitor does well, then that competitor is adored by his or her peer group. If a competitor does well, then he or she may experience things such as scorn, threats and even physical violence. Competitors in sporting and competitive events are therefore encouraged to do well and excel because of peer pressure. (Claesen, 1986).
Fighting negative peer pressure may help build character. Peer pressure that is directed towards negative actions or events is likely to cause a person to do negative things or take part in negative events. If a person is able to fight such peer pressure and fight against all the risks that come with fighting peer pressure, then it may help build character. It is quite a conservative thought in many cases because the person under pressure is forced to use his or her head rather than his or her feelings. Such a conservative attitude, such as the ability to fight peer pressure when risk is involved, is a conservative attitude that helps a person build character. It means that person is able to make his or her own decisions without allowing other people to bully him or her. (Kandel, 1992).
There are times when a person develops on his or her own, and there are times when self-development is forced. In the case of peer pressure, it appears that force may be necessary. A person may develop on his or her own, but peer pressure may force the issue. The only downside is that peer pressure may force people through stages of development that they are not ready for. For example, sports athletes may be pushed too hard until they burn out, and people may be encouraged to take part in negative events and may be too immature to fight negative peer pressure. There are downsides to peer pressure, but those downsides do not eradicate the potential upsides if they are correctly harnessed. (Hansen, 1991).
Peer pressure has its pros and its cons, but on the whole, it may help a person develop both emotionally and socially. Positive peer pressure may have negative effects, but the outcome is often a positive one. On the other hand, if a person is able to experience negative peer pressure and fight it, then it may have a dramatic effect on his or her personal development. It may also help that person become more mature because a mature person is able to put something on the line and risk it in order to grow.
Claesen, Donna Rae, B. Bradford Brown, and Sue Ann Eicher. “Perceptions of peer pressure, peer conformity dispositions, and self-reported behavior among adolescents.” Developmental psychology 22.4 (1986): 521-530.
Hansen, William B., and John W. Graham. “Preventing alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use among adolescents: Peer pressure resistance training versus establishing conservative norms.” Preventive medicine 20.3 (1991): 414-430.
Kandel, Eugene, and Edward P. Lazear. “Peer pressure and partnerships.” Journal of political Economy 100.4 (1992): 801-817.
Montgomery, Richard. “Disciplining or protecting the poor? Avoiding the social costs of peer pressure in micro-credit schemes.” Journal of international development 8.2 (1996): 289-305.