Jan 26 2008
The biggest problem effecting the youth of my community is the power of peer pressure. Considering that today’s schools commonly use the technique of random drug testing to try to catch kids that are indeed using drugs says a lot about a problem that youth come in contact with. When I was in high school the introduction of random drug testing was relatively a new thing where today it’s common among many if not all schools in this area. As well as my job, I had to take a drug test before being hired at the Oregon Park district. That hasn’t always been a requirement until measures changed and random drug testing became an appropriate method. Hence, the start of drug testing individuals whether its on the job, major league sports , or at schools where our youth is, there is the making the assumption that there is the risk of some percentage of kids that are going to fail the tests.
Ultimately, I believe that the practice of random drug testing demonstrates that there is the potential of certain students under peer pressure. This leads me to the topic of being under peer pressure. It’s not necessarily drugs but any decisions that might come in to play of a youth’s kids live, can be a result of being under peer pressure. Drug testing is just one example of the many instances of peer pressure that goes on. I chose peer pressure in relation to drugs because I can relate with the experience of drug testing starting at my schools. I’m a graduate from Oregon High school and I remember when drug testing emerged. So with the possibility that some of the students were involved in illegal drug or substances, drug testing was one of the positive solutions to the community. By helping keep kids stay drug free and if not would have to serve the consequences, drug testing is a great method, and I agree that it should continue to be used.
Unfortunately, such behaviors are not an uncommon reality. Youth and peer pressure is going on every day. Many youth suffer from peer pressure. We should be asking “Why is peer pressure happening, why is this a big problem, and what are solutions that can be done to resolve this from happening?” I once knew a family who made the decision of having every one of their kids home schooled after their first child experienced being picked on at school. They wanted to protect the rest of their children from ever having to be in that kind of position of falling under peer pressure. I disagree that the right solution was to pull their children out of public schools to be home schooled. I do believe though that with more awareness in the school systems that peer pressure is a problem that can be lessened with the strategy of helping the youth cope with these situations.
With that being said, recognizing social pressure by members of a certain group affect the decisions an individual makes is powerful thing. The answer though is not shunning kid’s social skills by missing out what youth do pick up by attending the public schools with all of their other peers. On the other hand, parents could keep there children in school instead of taking them out so they could experience learning those particular important social skills. Meanwhile, with the suggestion of focusing on teaching kids how to handle peer pressure and how extremely important it is to openly talk to the kids about finding help from adults because we can make a difference to them. Emphasizing on ways to make youth realize the positive type of peer pressure and also seek to warn and help children handle certain bad peer pressure situations would have a more positive outcome.
Being a babysitter of different aged kids, working with all different generations at work, participating in athletics all throughout high school, I have observed and experienced peer pressure among people myself. Everyone might agree that they have been under some type of peer pressure sometime in their life. Whether it was peer pressure in a positive way such as being pressured by friends to study harder and cooperate as a team to get a better grade on a project.
In contrast, it could have been someway to gain some kind of acceptance in a lot of instances for the youth. Although there are two types, positive and negative peer pressures, it is the bad peer pressure in society that has not such good results and is a problem. It is a sad thing that youth are doing things that they only do because they are scared of what others in the group are going to think if they don’t do something everyone else is trying.
Having that said, I believe schools being more involved is the best way to persuade youth not to fall under peer pressure. In effort to decrease the amount of peer pressure schools need to devote more time in hiring public speakers, show movies, and act out real life skits allowing youth to believe there are ways to get through peer pressure and what to do in these types of situations. For example, when I was in high school my school put on an excellent real life scenario where a student had been involved in an alcohol accident. This demonstration which included police men at the scene a, fire truck and a life line helicopter flying above the scene in the parking lot where there lay a totaled car and a student getting carried away in a stretcher in the ambulance. This skit made an impact on every student watching want to think twice about decisions one might encounter out on prom night. More of these types of real life situations should be done. My school only put that certain skit on one time when I was in high school but continued to still set the totaled car out the next two years in the front lawn of the school the whole week before prom to remind students what could happen under peer pressure of drinking. It opened a lot of eyes and was an incredible way to get everyone’s attention. With out a doubt at schools is a great target where some of these problems can be addressed and therefore prevent some kids from experiencing peer pressure by having the proper material or speakers to solve what kids might run in to.
Keeping in mind that school is where parents are not around and it’s easy for youth to go along with what their peers are doing and where it can be very influential on the choices that kids will make together. This time, also kids don’t think of the damage and consequences that there will be from these actions. Just as young kid’s take the Drug Abuse Resistance Education classes instructed by the Dare officer where parents are not present. By emphasizing how it’s a bad choice to get involved in drugs is good steps in letting kids first learn what peer pressure is all about but then it seems as if it’s on halt after elementary school. When kids are a little bit older more suggestions would to have community social workers come in and speak to the classes about other situations of peer pressure besides drugs. Such as, rape, abuse, cheating on tests, sex, stealing, other topics youth might have. There are other situations besides drugs that youth will enter in grade school. The DARE programs are great for kids, and there should be other programs about other subjects too.
For example, learning how to handle situations that kids aren’t feeling comfortable could really help a kid build self esteem. Any type of peer pressure ones exposed to in an event it’s hard to seem to avoid the situation from coming up over and over again causing tons of anxiety. Kids don’t do anything about it a lot of times and I think there needs to be more attention for getting help. Approaches to getting that help without the insecure feeling of not ever finding help needs to be fixed. Too many kids are embarrassed, ashamed, or to afraid to ask for information from someone about peer pressure.
Not only are many kids afraid to admit there being a victim of peer pressure but also scared they will get in trouble if they tell on someone. Youth might feel that no one can help them anyways even if they brought the problem up to someone. I think by just doing small things like posting flyers in a bathroom stall that give a number to reach for getting help could really go along way. Posting one of these flyers with little tabs with a number for help to tear off for someone to take is a great way of prevention and keeping it private and anonymous. There are public clinics and different health departments in areas where a lot of times kids don’t pay attention or even know exists too that could be suggested to students by someone of the higher education level such as a teacher to go and check these places out. This is another solution of preventing peer pressure, receiving information on it before it happens to them. For young kids this might not be so easy to be able to go on their own to find help, so in that case, elementary schools should send programs to the parents about the issue of kids and peer pressure in the mail so parents can be more involved and have the opportunity to explain situations to their kids and what they might experience along the way of growing up. Being told by someone who has more authority and is at a higher level especially at a young age kids want to listen to teachers and parents for advice and guidance. Kids look up to the older people and if teachers would be more open to talk about peer pressure instead of not bringing it up at all I think a lot of kids would benefit from hearing it. Feeling confident knowing that there is someone out there to help, talk, and listen would make things a lot easier for kids to make the move to find those resources.
It’s not easy growing up under peer pressure and that’s why I think it’s the biggest problem affecting the youth in the community. Peer pressure can lead to ruining one's life, one bad decision could have heavy consequences even jeopardizing one’s whole future. I sure know that being an adult now being 20 years old I can certainly tell some examples that stick out in my mind. Therefore, staying on the right tracks I’ve made good choices as an adult and stayed away from getting involved in events that crossed my path. I knew how to handle situations of being pressured to do something I am not comfortable going through with. Plenty of times I have stood up for myself and did the right thing because I was taught early as a kid what to do. My parents brought me up where they didn’t stop talking about making the right decisions as I began to grow. They made sure I’d speak up if I had any problem that I ever wanted to discuss. I would love to speak publicly to the youth and explain to them the points I’m trying to make. This is very important to me that this problem will only get better for the youth. The youth reflects a part of me because I and like every other adult has been there at that age once and can remember going back in time and think about was there an available source when I was under peer pressure?
In conclusion, I strongly believe that with a little more involvement from the schools in taking the right steps to bring in public speakers, continue the drug testing, read articles, have classes watch movies, send pamphlets to parents homes, more school assemblies, kids will learn and gain knowledge from all of these solutions and it will only help kids. Even if kids have heard the information before there is nothing wrong with going over it again and really pounding it in their heads of how to handle peer pressure. Emphasizing in using positive peer pressure and having kids work on setting goals and finding good hobbies and what to look for in choosing good friends is all helpful ways of reducing the problem . This will benefit kids in improving how they feel about there selves and the choices they make and not what others want them to do. I want to do whatever I can to keep kids safe from ever getting caught in these type of peer pressure problems and making them realize that they don’t have to do anything that they feel uneasy about . Most importantly I want it to be clear to the youth that there is help out there for peer pressure. I hope that youth under peer pressure would take advantage of the available resources to help them and in result become more happy, strong, positive, and successful people.
One final note, finding ways to eliminate this problem and truly understanding how to deal with the concept of handling peer pressure for the youth can and will be done and I am involved for life!