Lexington High School

Reducing Stress and Developing Resiliency


Peer Pressure/Academic and Athletic Competition

We are all influenced by our peers, but in the case of children and teens, peer influence is particularly strong and often a cause of extreme stress. In order to feel like they fit in, children often try to act and think like their peers. This peer pressure can influence, if not dictate, how they dress, how they talk, and what music they listen to. In the teen years, it can also entice youngsters to smoke, use drugs, and engage in other risky behaviors. Another, more subtle form of peer pressure concerns academic and athletic performance. On the playing field, teen athletes feel intense pressure to outperform teammates. In high-achieving communities, students feel pressure to overload their schedules with AP/honors courses and to achieve high GPAs--comparing their schedules and grade with their peers’. The increased incidence of cheating by “good kids” has been linked to this intense academic competition. Not “measuring up” in sports and academics can cause anxiety and feelings of failure and worthlessness.

“How you handle peer pressure -- the pressure your children feel as well as the pressure you feel -- in the early years will play a significant role in how your children handle peer pressure when they become adolescents.” Kevin Lehman, Adolescence Isn't Terminal