topic five – within groups
to the teacher
Peer pressure is something everyone faces through life. It is therefore
important for young people to discover ways of establishing their
own values. This would help them to have the moral courage to stand
up for the things they believe are right and to opt out of those
things they know will do them harm in the long run.
In addition they could find increased inner strength by learning
to give positive leadership, not in the dictatorial sense but in
the creation of good communication, teamwork and constructive activities.
One teenager wrote, 'I think the main challenge for young people
today has got to be peer pressure, always having to do things because
your friends are doing them like smoking and drinking. But I think
it's best just to be yourself.' In agreeing with this, others in
the group said they felt pressured by their friends to experiment
with drugs, alcohol and casual sex, and sometimes to take part in
violence. Other challenges mentioned were coping with unemployment,
divorce and high expectations from their families.
To open up the subject of peer pressure, discuss with the class
why young people often go around in groups and what causes most
Give them each a sheet of paper and ask them to divide it down
the centre and write 'for' at the top of one column and 'against'
on the other. Now they should write down four pressures they have
experienced, in the appropriate columns, and their reasons for and
against giving in to these pressures.
Have a class discussion using what has been written.
Introduce resource sheet 2 (page 17)
Facing the truth on which are two examples of peer
pressure and worksheet 4 (page 15) Be
yourself which gives questions helping them to think through
the issues in the examples and how these apply to themselves.