Peer pressure is when someone influences another person's decision about what to do or not to do, which can be positive or negative. Although peer pressure can occur at any age, it's most often experienced by young people. Common examples of peer pressure include the pressure to try drugs, engage in sexual activities, ditch school, cheat on tests or not be friends with certain people.
Young kids often encounter peer pressure from others at school and in social circles. They may experience negative peer pressure to engage in illegal conduct or stay away from people and activities they enjoy; they may also experience positive peer pressure to avoid bad behavior. Examples of positive peer pressure are encouraging someone to stop smoking or using drugs, supporting enjoyable activities, and encouraging new, healthy experiences. The goal of positive peer pressure is to make someone happier or healthier.
However, according to Kids Helpline, most instances of peer pressure experienced by young children are negative. The most common instances are the pressure to drink alcohol, take drugs or smoke cigarettes to appear cool. Kids Helpline suggests handling negative peer pressure by using humor, changing the subject, speaking directly to the person or seeking support from adults.