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As you grow older, you'll be faced with some serious decisions. Some don't have a clear right or wrong answer - like should you play soccer or field hockey? Other decisions questions, like whether to cut class, smoke, or lie to your paents. Making decisions on your own is hard enough, but when other people get involved and try to pressure you one way or another it can be even harder. People who are your age, like your classmates, are called peers. When they try to get you to do something, you don’t want to do, it's called peer pressure. It's something everyone has to deal with - even adults. Let's talk about how to handle it.

Peers (friends) can control your life, even if you don't realize it, just by spending time with you. You learn from them, and they learn from you. Friends can have a positive influence on each other. You might admire a friend who is always a good sport and try to be more like him or her. Maybe you got others excited about your new favorite book, and now everyone's reading it. These are examples of how Friends positively influence each other every day.

Sometimes friends influence each other in negative ways. For example, a few kids in school might try to get you to cut class with them, your friend might try to convince you to be mean to another friend , or a kid in the neighborhood might want you to shoplift with him.

Why Do People Give in to Peer Pressure? Some kids give in to peer pressure because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other kids may make fun of them if they don't go along with the group. Others may go along because they want to try something new that others are doing. The idea that "everyone's doing it" may influence some kids against their better judgment.

How to Walk Away From Peer Pressure? It is tough to be the only one who says "no" but you can do it. Paying attention to yourown feelings never second guess your first thought about anything! When your “self” your inner voice tells you NO! Always listen!! Thats your higher self telling you your making a big mistake. You inner voice IS you, so always listen to it. Having inner strength and self-confidence will help you stand firm, walk away, and resist doing something when your friends are pressuring you.

It can really help to have at least one other friend, who is willing to say "no," too. This takes a lot of the power out of peer pressure and makes it much easier to resist. It's great to have that one true friend who will back you up , and can be trusted 100%. If you continue to face peer pressure and you're finding it difficult to handle, talk to someone you trust. If you have a friend or friends who keep pressuring you, maybe you should ask if this person is worth your friendship at all. Don't feel guilty if you've made a mistake or two. Talking to a parent, teacher, or school counselor can help Prepare you for the next time you face peer pressure. or being made fun of for being smart in not doing what they are!

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