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How To Handle Peer Pressure In School

Mr. Antony Koshy
Dec 12, 2022
Learning, School

Indian high schools in Dubai as well as the Montessori schools are amongst the best anywhere in terms of infrastructure, facilities and ethos. That being stated, students need to be able to grapple with and handle peer pressure. 

What Is Peer Pressure?

The pressure to conform to what is perceived as the norm is peer pressure. This may be particularly acute in a Montessori school and highschools in  Dubai because of the varied and diverse backgrounds of the students. Then there is also the question of young people being susceptible to all kinds of influences that come bearing down on them via the ubiquitous social media channels.  All of these factors together put a lot of pressure on young and impressionable minds to behave in a certain manner.

Types Of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be of myriad types. It could be spoken peer pressure where school children are told by their fellow students to conduct themselves in a certain way. It could also be unspoken, where one’s peers might convey approval or disapproval for someone with their body language and expressions. The peer pressure could be a direct one where one is point blank asked to conduct themselves in a certain manner or it could be indirect and subtle peer pressure where one is made to feel inadequate and in need of change in behavior.

What Is Positive Peer Pressure?

When school children get inspired by their classmates in a positive manner they benefit from what is positive peer pressure. If a group of one’s classmates regularly get good grades on account of their sense of discipline and willingness to work hard, they might inspire some of their classmates to try and do the same. That is positive peer pressure for you.

What Is Negative Peer Pressure?

If school children come under the influence of their peers to indulge in behavior that is harmful to their interests and that of others, they are said to be under the influence of negative peer pressure. A good example of this would be the example of a perfectly well behaved teenager who undergoes a transformation and starts using swear words and getting into violent quarrels at the drop of a hat because he or she hangs out with friends who behave that way.

What Are The Examples Of Peer Pressure?

Let us look at some real life examples of peer pressure-

Examples Of Positive Peer Pressure

1. Someone deciding to take tennis lessons because his or her best friend in school inspired them to take an interest in the game.

2. An Indian high school Dubai student deciding to train for marathon running, because his classmates are into physical fitness.

Examples Of Negative Peer Pressure

1. A highschool student pressuring his parents to buy him the latest  i-phone because his wealthy friends at school all possess one.

2. A school student spending more time playing games on his phones and PC than on studying because most boys in his class do that.

Examples Of Indirect Peer Pressure

1. A school going girl in grade 6 getting obsessed with the way she dresses and styles her hair because some girls in her class ignore her as they don’t find her ‘cool.’

2. A normally gregarious high school boy becoming withdrawn because some boys in the class keep their distance from him, as they find him a bit of a show-off.

Examples Of Direct Pressure

1. A teenage girl stops eating normally and mostly starves herself because some girls in her class told her that she was fat.

2. A teenage boy takes to smoking on the sly because some boys in his class have told him it is manly to do so.

Best Ways Of Handling Peer Pressure In School

Peer pressure is inevitable in a school as one interacts with a large number of peers on a daily basis. A certain amount of peer pressure is healthy and necessary for a school going child’s growth, but being impacted excessively by it can be harmful. Given below are a few ways that one can successfully handle peer pressure at school-

● Question the peer who puts pressure- If a peer puts pressure on you on any count, ask them why they do so. If they tell you that your fashion sense is awful, you can turn around and ask who they are to decide that. They could alternatively be asked why they are not focusing on studies instead - the purpose of going to school.

● Learn to say no- If you are not comfortable with a peer putting pressure on you on any count, learn to say no to them firmly but politely. That will save you a word of trouble.

● Share your problems with your parents- If you are having peer trouble in school, seek your parents' advice to deal with it. It is not ‘uncool’ to do so as they possess the wisdom and experience to guide you to do the right thing.

● Hold your ground, come what may- No matter how relentless the pressure from your peers to toe their line, stay steadfast in your beliefs and convey your stand to them again and again.

● Stay away from the source of pressure- If there are certain students in your class who pressure you to be a certain way, steer clear of them at all times.

● Don’t get into stressful situations- Make it a habit to keep your environment stress free. Don’t conduct yourself in a way that encourages others to try and confront you. 

Confront the leader of the peer group- In order for concerted peer pressure from a group to cease, it makes sense to have a frank conversation with the leader of the group and convey how you feel firmly. 

● Understand the consequences of coming under too much pressure-Take a moment to dwell on the consequences of succumbing to negative pressure and convince yourself to stay strong.

Emulate the role models-Everyone emulates the role models who radiate positivity. Study how they conduct themselves with strength and dignity.

● No, everyone is not doing it- Don’t buy the line that everyone is doing it that those putting pressure on you will use to justify their behavior.

● Seek support from the right people- Seek support from the right minded people amongst your friends as well as the teachers if you feel that you are coming under negative peer pressure.

● Be your own best friend- Always remember that there is none who is as great a friend of yours as you yourself. Rely on yourself to do the right thing.

● Find your own niche in which to excel-That is the best way to steer clear of undue peer pressure.

● Be around positive friends- That is the best way to have positive peer pressure work for you.


Peer pressure in school is something that all school going children need to learn to cope with. While positive peer pressure might benefit school kids, negative peer pressure can have a devastating impact on them. It is, therefore, important that school going children be made sensitive to when they might be in danger of getting harmed on account of negative peer pressure.


How do peers affect children?

Peers may affect children in both a negative and positive manner.

Why do some kids give in to peer pressure?

Kids who have low self belief or no one to counsel them on how to conduct themselves are more susceptible to yield to peer pressure.

What is the best way to say no to peer pressure?

The best way of saying no to peer pressure is to examine whether it is in one’s best interest to yield to peer pressure or not. If it is the latter one should stand one’s ground and say no to the ones exerting the pressure.

What can teachers do to help students resist peer pressure?

The teachers can explain to their students to understand what constitutes good peer pressure and how to understand and avoid negative peer pressure. They can also assure the students of help in case they are being pressured against their will.

What is the first step to withstanding peer pressure at school?

The first step to withstanding peer pressure at school is to be able to understand when it can cause harm to oneself and developing the courage to resist it.

Mr. Antony Koshy

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