How to end the tug-of-war of peer pressure
Remember when you were growing up and you did something because all your friends were doing it?
When you got in trouble your parent's whipped out the universal parent quote-book and asked, "If everyone jumped off a bridge would you do it too?"
"Of course not," we'd think to ourselves. "That's dumb. This is sooo different." So why do we feel such a tug-of-war when EVERYONE is jumping off the proverbial bridge even when it doesn't seem right? The wrestling we feel is our modeling instinct in conflict with our reasoning skills. Modeling is how children learn what is acceptable and what isn't. It's part of our survival DNA that innately tells us if we don't know what to do, follow someone who does. But what happens if the leader is doing something that doesn't feel right to you? Peer pressure is what's at play here, but it's not the powerhouse behind the internal conflict; campus culture is. Culture sets the rules; peer pressure is only the campus police that enforces them and modeling is how we learn to play the game, whether it's right or not. The way students win the tug-of-war of peer pressure is to develop a strong enough sense of self-worth that the crowd's actions doesn't affect their self-esteem. Students that like who they are, are not easily swayed to try to be like someone else or subcome to peer pressure.
Together, we can do this,
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