When it comes to social influences and peer pressure, the general opinion is that it is harmful. Many parents frown upon it.
With modern-day parents, whenever their children reach the adolescent stage, they try their best to contain them by citing friends as negative influences.
In their minds, honest rendezvous at the mall or visits to friends’ houses are a gateway to secret drug and alcohol-fuelled parties with all forms of debauchery imaginable.
‘We are only trying to do what is best for you’ is a phrase commonly used when we confront them about these misplaced assumptions.
As we get older and learn more, we wonder if this really was in their best interests. After all, they did say, the longer the leash, the simpler it is to walk the dog.
Before I wrote this, I searched my brain for instances where peer pressure was advantageous to me – unfortunately, nothing sprung to mind – and that is where the problem lies.
Although I can vouch for the positive effects social interactions with supposed bad friends have had on me and those around me, these benefits are not immediately apparent to the naked eye.
Where parents see misplaced priorities and rebellion, I see personal growth. Learning to navigate young adulthood, and all the pressures that come with it is something I believe our parents were supposed to teach us from a young age; that is what determines the type of adult we end up becoming.
Many older people find themselves deeply entrenched in mid-life crises – all because they never got the opportunity to truly discover who they were outside parental supervision.
It is all well and good being a ‘yes man’ and dancing to the tune of your parents’ drum, but what effect does that have on your future sanity?
As controversial as this may seem, I encourage my fellow youth to live a little so as to unearth their true selves. This is not to say you should go crazy and throw yourselves into all worldly pleasures – instead, just dip your toe into the water and feel out the temperature.
If my parents ever come around to reading this post, they may just get a glimpse into my contradictory train of thought – but if not, at least it may touch a young mind currently stuck between a rock and a hard place – or as my sister says, ‘a parent and social significance’.
- Olavi Popyeinawa