I think peer pressure is an interesting topic because there is negative peer pressure and also positive peer pressure. I feel like negative pressure and compromising values go hand in hand. Some of the family and personal values i have include…
It is probably more accurate to refer to this as peer influence, or social influence to adopt a particular type of behavior, dress, or attitude in order to be accepted as part of a group of your equals "peers".
Peer influence is not necessarily a bad thing. We are all influenced by our peers, both negatively and positively, at any age. As you become more independent, your peers naturally play a greater role in your life. Sometimes, though, particularly in emotional situations, peer influence can be hard to resist it really has become "pressure" and you may feel compelled to do something you're uncomfortable with, as I and many others have experienced.
Through all this pressure, choices can be made that are not beneficial to yourself or your family. This is called “Compromising values” as my dad says. With doing this there are consequences, unpleasant, yes of course. But Understanding and maturing enough to realize that is exactly what you need is a sign of growth. Coming from a bad place as a result of peer pressure can be emotionally and sometimes physically exhausting. Growth is the next step in recovery and when you start to realize your growing, you establish those core values once again. That is exactly what I myself am doing. With the love and support but also persistence of my family and also myself, I am growing and finding who I am as a person so I can help others who have struggled just like me.
Dad’s Thoughts on Peer Pressure…
I don't think being a kid in today's world is an easy task. There are so many influences competing for our kids attention. Maintaining your own values as a teenager and a person of faith is extremely difficult, but not impossible. Even those who have the best intentions can easily get sucked into a lifestyle of destructive sin that causes them to drift away from the values that have always been a safe harbor for them. The Good News is that you can come back to God anytime and he will welcome you back with open arms. Paul talked about the Gospel of Reconciliation to the church in Corinth as recorded in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. God is in the business of forgiving and restoring us when we've fallen. We are New Creations in Christ, the old version of us has been taken away.
If we’re New Creations, then we need to live like it. Our walk and our talk need to tell the same story. Consistency is a necessity, or a compromising our values is imminent.
Shame doesn't motivate change, forgiveness does. We’re not forgiven so we can go back out and sin without feeling guilty, we’re forgiven because God loves us and desires relationship with us. The sacrificial ministry of Christ Jesus reconciled us back to our Father in Heaven. When we screw up in life, once we’ve received God’s forgiveness, we must forgive ourselves. When we realize we’ve been living under the influence of a lie, we can make a stand for truth and become more resilient to resisting the temptation to believe the lie. What is the life? The lie is anything that takes you away from God. The lie is anything that causes you to stray from your Christian values. I absolutely believe in grace, but I also believe there is evil and the world. I am in no position to judge, but I can easily see the selfishness within humanity.
I remember my childhood as if it was yesterday. Peer pressure causes many young people to drop their values in order to fit in, or get acceptance from their peers. In doing so, many find themselves involved in things they never thought would happen to them. That was my story. I said, “yes” to the things I should have said, “no” to. I compromised all because I wanted the acceptance of the people I thought were cool. They never truly accepted me, I comprised on my values and they lost respect for me. You get respect for standing up for what you believe in, rather than falling for the same bottomed out lifestyle they're living.
It could be drinking, drug abuse, sexuality, or any number of issues affecting a young person today. It takes true grit to stand up to peer pressure, but it takes even greater courage to come back to your core values after you've compromised. One of the greatest needs in the life a teenager is to feel accepted by their peers (or their tribe as I like to think of it).
In searching for acceptance, kids become willing to do things that they would never have done otherwise. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure, which is often shame-based. Without sounding too conspiratorial, I think it’s a form of social engineering that is pushed through a majority of the media.
When I was a Youth Pastor, I taught my kids about the need to be satisfied by God’s acceptance of them. Rather than trying to seek it out acceptance and approval from those who weren't qualified to give it to them, I encouraged them recognize and acknowledge how loved they were by God. . Kids might welcome you into their circle of friends, but they're just as broken and lost as you might be. The acceptance is superficial, fleeting and ultimately unfulfilling.
In the Gospel John 16:33 Jesus said to his disciples, “take heart, I’ve overcome the world.” We live in a world filled with beautiful, broken people. Once you say yes to the sin that so easily besets us, coming back to Christ can almost feel impossible. Sometimes we’re blocked by feelings of shame and pride. Sometimes we’re completely delusional about the way we’re living, rationalizing it and justifying it to ourselves with all kinds of lame excuses. Whatever it is that is going on, there is hope in Christ Jesus.
In conclusion, I’d like to quote my daughter Maddie…
“With the love and support but also persistence of my family and also myself, I am growing and finding who I am as a person so I can help others who have struggled just like me. “
As a family, we can find freedom in Christ Jesus and be strengthened in our faith.
Be blessed my beloved friends.
Maddie and Pastor Jeremy Evans