LYFTing Above Peer Pressure

February 2nd, 2015

LYFT is a Community Prevention Coalition that serves youth and families in the four municipalities that make up the Pennsbury School District. Students are able to participate in a club where members devote time to community events, promote good decision making amongst teens, and discourage drug and alcohol use. The following was written by Lizzie Sharp, President of ATAG, the student group associated with LYFT.

photo - lizzie lyftPeer pressure today has a great impact on my generation.  Teenagers in high school are exploring their identities yet still crave approval from those around them. The experience of peer pressure, which stems from a desire for social acceptance, influences teens’ choices of music, clothing, and activities.

Peer pressure can cause conflicts between teens but may also cause them to experience internal conflicts as well. Though they may know something they’re doing is wrong, part of them wants to go along with the group anyway. This desire to do what the group is doing is often called “herd mentality.”

Herd mentality is a leading cause of bad decision making amongst teens. This pressure drives some of us to try smoking, alcohol, or drugs. The pressure to try alcohol or drugs affects millions of teenagers around the world, and it has also impacted my experience in high school.

As a high school senior, I often see my peers use drugs and alcohol. Whether it’s at parties on the weekend or at football games, the pressure to smoke or drink is constant. I was offered pot as early as freshman year.

When I became an upper classman, the pressure to drink skyrocketed. As a senior, I feel it more than ever.  The offers to try alcohol and or do drugs has become routine, but I have been saying “no” for so long that it’s my automatic reply when I’m offered them. For others, saying no is not so easy.

I have found that, for me, the easiest way to deal with peer pressure is to avoid it all together.  I surround myself with people who are like me – who value being active and taking care of themselves.  That has kept me from becoming a victim of negative peer pressure. If I’m put into a situation where I feel pressured, I walk away or make an excuse.

Teens must think of their futures when confronted with a difficult situation involving illegal substances. The potential consequences, like failing grades, getting into accidents, or getting into trouble with the law, just aren’t worth it.

About the contributor: Lizzie Sharp is a senior at Pennsbury High School where she is the President of ATAG, a member of the Pennsbury Interact Club, and on the Varsity field hockey team. She also volunteers at Sunrise Assisted Living and St. Mary’s Hospital. In college, she plans to major in exercise science and become a Physician’s Assistant specializing in Orthopedics.

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