The True Power of Peer Pressure

The words and behaviors of others can have a huge impact on the decisions we make in life, especially in our younger years. Young adults, especially teenagers, are more likely to make decisions based on what their friends do. In fact, one study found that children are six times more likely to try alcohol if they have a friend who drinks.1

Peer pressure and the need to fit in often causes teens to make decisions based on what their peers want versus what they know is right. Here’s what you need to know about peer pressure and how it could lead to your child needing substance abuse treatment.

Peer Pressure vs. Peer Influence

Understanding peer pressure and peer influence is an important part of understanding why younger people are often more inclined to try drugs and other harmful substances. Peer influence is when you choose to do something, such as drink alcohol, in hopes of feeling liked and accepted by your friends.

On the other hand, peer pressure is when someone encourages you to make a decision when you don’t want to. Youth are particularly at risk of peer pressure and peer influence, and both of these factors come into play when a teen decides to try drugs or alcohol.

Drugs and peer pressure go hand in hand. For some, the fact that their friends are drinking is enough to make a teen also drink. For others, being in the company of friends can entice them to want to try something that is otherwise off-limits and unsafe.

Peer pressure and influence can cause teens to use gateway drugs that can then lead to drug abuse in the future. Researchers have found that teenagers who use marijuana are 26 times more likely to use other drugs,2 including cocaine and Ecstasy. The study also found that teens who use marijuana are more likely to have harmful drinking habits by the age of 21.

Drug addiction caused by peer pressure is a real danger for teens, but there are many ways to fight against it.

How to Resist Peer Pressure

For a young person, going against the grain and saying no to something that otherwise seems cool or fun can be tough, but there are many different ways that teens can resist peer pressure to keep themselves on track.

Here are some tips for teens who need help resisting peer pressure:

  • Stick to your own morals and values.
  • Know what’s best for your own health.
  • Talk to others if you feel pressured.
  • Know your worth and value.
  • Avoid friends who partake in dangerous activities.

However, we all know that it can be hard to resist pressure and influence on our own. As a parent, it’s important to know how to help your child stay on the right path.

How Parents Can Help

For parents, the idea of having to send your child in for alcohol treatment or addiction treatment is a scary thought. The best thing adults can do to support teens during their trying years is to be active listeners. Pay attention if your child expresses feelings of pressure or influence.

father and son having a hug

It’s also important to set expectations. Parenting with structure and warmth tends to fare better than parenting with few boundaries. A solid parenting style makes it much easier for teens to resist negative pressure. Set rules and boundaries and ensure your child knows the consequences

Our Services Are Designed to Help Teens & Young Adults

At Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers, we offer addiction treatment and rehab facilities for patients of all ages. If you believe that your teen is using alcohol or drugs, early intervention is the best way to get your child back on track.

To learn more about our services and how we can help, call our team at (717) 859-8000. We look forward to helping your family!