Good Ways and Good Grades

By: Miranda Leibstein

"The social environment does carry more power than we have given credit for, so we should leverage that intentionally." Gesell says. Instead of seeing peer pressure as a negative, parents should use it as a powerful motivator towards their kids, in a positive way! Peer pressure has positive mental, physical, and academic effects on students and their peers.

There are many upsides of peer pressure, and some of them can be life enhancing. Positive peer pressure can teach kids lessons and help them on their path to the future. For example, teens can learn how to value relationships and can learn why it's important to become a responsible adult (IndiaParenting.com). Peer pressure can shape the way kids think, in a positive way, and can put them on the path to become successful later in life. As Journal Media Group says, "For youths, the results of “Everyone is doing it”, in positive peer pressure, can lead to changes in their futures because they have expanded their perspective." (JournalMediaGroup). Think about it: learning from positive pressure CAN help you! Peer pressure can help guide students towards better things. But to be on the better side of it, "Each and every student must charge himself with the responsibility of making the decision as to whether he will be a positive or negative influence on others." (JournalMediaGroup). You would want others to look up to you, and when others do, you create the positive pressure. It also puts pressure on you to make the right decisions and to lead others the right way.

Peer pressure can also be a motivation to be healthier. When kids hang out with more active peers, they feel the need to be like them, leading the kids to exercise more and create healthy habits, and also reducing the risk for obesity (Park). Park states, "… children change their exercise level about 10% to better match those in their circle; children who hang out with more active students were more likely to increase their physical activity levels…" (Park). This means that if the teen, or any child, is friends with a kid more active than them, they will try and be at the same physical level as them, causing them to exercise more. Also, if teens are in a positive peer group, they may show some interest in getting involved in extra activities or sports in school (IndiaParenting.com). These extra activities can help kids with skills that may use later in life, and can help them make new friends with the other kids in that class. Positive pressure can lead kids to make healthy habits and being more physically active.

Positive pressure from other students can also help kids improve in school. If your friends get better grades than you, this might encourage you to study more. Right? You would want to get better grades than them! Also if students TELL their peers to study a little longer and a little harder, this also can cause a student to take their peer's advice and then they will do better. Just parents have saying that you need to get better grades, doesn't really do anything, but another student saying that you need to makes an impact. And one other big thing is that if a child wants to be apart of a certain peer group, and that group believes in doing well in school, the kid will try to be like them and get good grades. "Therefore, when the members of the peer group believe in doing well in class and doing their regular lessons with care, you will find the other teenagers follow suit." (IndiaParenting.com) Being positively pressured and motivated in school by others to do well, will lead that student to get good grades in class and become more academically fit.

However peer pressure does have its downsides. As the DailyMail states "One-fifth of teenagers say that their friends take drugs to look “cool”... the need to fit in with their group dictated their friends behavior." (DailyMail). This is showing that some kids do inappropriate things, just to look cool or to try and get into a group by taking drugs or drinking. Also some research shows that teenage peer pressure has effects on brain signals that involve risk and reward. So, this could be the reason why teens act the way they do with friends, taking unnecessary risks just so they can get noticed. But pressure can seen in different ways, positive still outweighing the negative.

Peer pressure is a good thing and can help kids improve physically, mentally and academically, just from the words of others. The possessive pressure can help you do better things, and become a better person in many ways. From improving your physical health to getting better grades, positive pressure can get you there.