Don't bend to peer pressure

Students should stick to their own moral code, not run with the herd

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Parents: Pop some popcorn, grab some chairs, and you and the kids gather around this editorial. They need to hear this.

The recent battery charges against five Lakeside Middle School students for simulating lewd acts on unwilling classmates is a sad, stark lesson in one thing in particular:

Peer pressure.

You have to believe that some, if not all, of those kids heard a voice in the back of their heads telling them what they were doing was a horrible idea. But they went along with the gang.

It’s a phenomenon we humans must battle all our lives: going with the herd when we know we should break from it.

Peer pressure is a powerful force that can nudge folks into places they know they shouldn’t go – especially young folks, since their sense of identity is still forming and they give unwarranted weight to the opinions of them by their peers, the cosmopolitan little dears.

This has always been the case, but today’s no-holds-barred media, along with social media sites such as Facebook, can make the herd all the more attractive.

Here’s a secret for you young people: The herd is often wrong. It takes wisdom and courage to stand apart and go your own way. But when you feel it’s right to do so, trust your instinct. It’s probably right.

There are all kinds of statistics about how peer pressure leads to risky, self-destructive behaviors, including substance abuse, smoking and sex. Middle school is an especially delicate time as puberty hits and, with it, perhaps a little cockiness. The good news is that experts say peer influence peaks at about age 14. So if you can make it through those years without giving in to your friends’ bad ideas, then you’ll be better off. (Just remember your courage when you’re an adult and the rest of the board of directors wants to do the wrong thing!)

Probably the most important thing for vulnerable students – other than parental involvement – is having the right friends. The time-honored caution against falling in with the wrong crowd is time-honored because it is so right.

So the next time you hear your friends suggest something that goes against your moral code, ask yourself this: Is it in your best interest to do it?

And if you find yourself asking that a lot, you might find new friends.

Comments (13) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 03/05/12 - 02:44 am
3
0
In the contemporary popular

In the contemporary popular culture, the strength of one's convictions has been replaced as a badge of honor by the number of one's convictions and the number of one's illegitimate begotten.

Jon Lester
2480
Points
Jon Lester 03/05/12 - 04:11 am
1
1
Somehow I doubt if this will
Unpublished

Somehow I doubt if this will change the culture in Martinez either way.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 03/05/12 - 07:12 am
4
0
Many studies have shown

Many studies have shown people, not just teens, will go to great lenghts to be accepted and held in high regard by the current group they believe they are part of. It trumps past upbringing and most any factor. We also see it in local politics where some do wrong to build their status in the eyes of THEIR group.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 03/05/12 - 07:26 am
3
1
Let’s turn this editorial

Let’s turn this editorial around and put it on adults. There MAY be a business and the head of the business is involved in some wrong doing. His employees will go to great lengths to ignore and rationalize the wrong doing. I imagine the peer pressure is enormous, but there is even a financial pressure aspect in this case.

These subordinates never do anything, but smile at the boss. They never ask him about the wrongdoings. They never try to HELP the boss by pointing out the consequences and proper remedial actions to take. Peer pressure institutionalized, rewarded and sanctioned. Closer than some realize or admit.

seenitB4
98527
Points
seenitB4 03/05/12 - 07:44 am
3
0
That is a mouthfull at

That is a mouthfull at 726pm....

We have the same thing going on in these posts......some will speak out/some just complain......some KNOW a lot.....& have their "own" reasons for remaining quiet....life ain't easy is it..

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 03/05/12 - 07:54 am
1
0
AM, not PM....But, sure some

AM, not PM....But, sure some have their reasons for remaining quiet. I'm certainly not saying I'd necessarily be brave enough to speak out either. But I have on occasion and other times wished I had. Life ain't easy.

Of course, SeenIt, I knew you would pick up on what my comment was about. Of course, you are close to the fire too with your family connections. No one expects heroric actions, but possibly truthful remarks could help the organization and the leader or any group. It's also been my experience when I swallowed hard and spoke up and was right, my esteem and respect grew with the leader...after he cursed me out. Heh.

seenitB4
98527
Points
seenitB4 03/05/12 - 08:05 am
1
0
Well let us put it this

Well let us put it this way....

If you work for a certain "place"...this is your only income.....it feeds your family......how TOUGH would YOU be??

You could lose your home--family wouldn't eat as much---saying & doing is 2 different things.....it is not easy in todays world......& I do understand when some remain quiet...

IT happens everyday everywhere.....not just Augusta.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 03/05/12 - 08:15 am
1
0
SeenIt, like I've said, more

SeenIt, like I've said, more than a few times in my life, I haven't been the brave person I'm talking about we need more of. There's a realism in what you say and I don't expect anyone to suddenly jump up and shout. But maybe my point that bosses are often so insulated they appreciate someone who does that will make the slightest inroad into doing something that helps all the individuals and the organization.

dichotomy
37616
Points
dichotomy 03/05/12 - 08:16 am
2
0
It very easy to succumb to

It very easy to succumb to peer pressure when there is no fear of suffering any significant punishment. Quite frankly, it wasn't that voice in the back of my head telling me that what I was about to do was a horrible idea that kept me out of trouble. It was that voice in the back of my head that told me "if you do that you are going to be in BIG trouble".

The few times that I did not listen to that voice usually resulted a whipping combined with being grounded for a week, month, or an entire summer and assigned extra household chores to occupy my time. By the time I was 14 I could cut grass, edge sidewalks with a hoe, wash windows, and paste wax hardwood floors by hand with the best of them. There was no question in my mind that I should listen to that little voice in the back of my head.

Of course, that took a little parental involvement and supervision by my divorced, working mother. She always had a subtle reminder about peer pressure and my frequently used excuse that "everyone else was doing it". It was something about "if everyone else rolled a (lump of fecal matter) down the street would you do it too?". I think that boils this complicated peer pressure thing down to basic logic that even a 14 year old can understand. The wisdom of that logic has time to sink in while you are washing windows, cutting grass, waxing floors, and washing cars.

seenitB4
98527
Points
seenitB4 03/05/12 - 08:27 am
0
0
Information is also

Information is also insulated....there isn't any way to put all in the news & you know that....not all is destructive to mankind......some decisions actually help the public & you know that.

Give the man his due......that is all I'm saying....

The way the media works today is almost self defeating ...it is like a rag MAGAZINE .......just watch the news at night & what do you see....they try to outdo each other with gore/killings/crap.

seenitB4
98527
Points
seenitB4 03/05/12 - 08:29 am
0
0
Tiny little stream...I want

Tiny little stream...I want to keep you around.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 03/05/12 - 08:34 am
0
0
Okay, time for me to go lie

Okay, time for me to go lie to MY boss for awhile. Y'all be braver than I am and speak up at times. The Man will appreciate it. I've always given the Man his due respect, by the way. He has earned it.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 03/05/12 - 08:50 am
0
0
Seenitbefore. "It happens
Unpublished

Seenitbefore. "It happens every where especially in "right to fire" states where people are quiet for the very reason you outlined.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 03/05/12 - 09:50 am
2
0
River, true, regarding your

River, true, regarding your 7:12 a.m., on acceptance. Acceptance is key. That is exactly why it is so important to find our first acceptance in Christ. When I believe: 1) That God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do 2)What God has said about me, my value, who I am, and what I can do; then I am strong and I can stand firmly, against anything that comes my way. I don't need anyone's approval, because I have already received the ultimate.

eagle
94
Points
eagle 03/05/12 - 10:31 am
0
0
dichotomy, are you sure our
Unpublished

dichotomy, are you sure our mothers aren't related in some way? When I finished cutting OUR grass, then I had to do the neighbors.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 03/05/12 - 11:13 am
0
0
oops,wrong story.

oops,wrong story.

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