‘It is also important to note that letter R stands for Reality Deficiency: a lot of teenagers are not at home with reality. They are sold to fantasy. This is due to the fact that they are yet to come to terms to the real issues of life. Therefore they tend to be shallow. Their choices in most cases are determined by their emotional instinct. Therefore they are not ready for the consequences of their actions in most case. Custodians must take it as our responsibility to make our teens face reality and become conscious participants in the affairs of life, well before they become teenagers.’
Yesterday was an unusual day. It was a day when things happened completely contrary to your plan. It was a day when I got a call to handle an hour project and the one hour project became a twenty four hour project in the spirit of abracadabra. It is very long story, which I must as a matter of discipline bother you with. The long and short of the story is that all my sincere and concerted efforts to join you here yesterday were effectively thwarted by a force, which subtly took me by surprise. It was not only my visit here that was thwarted, so was my time with my beautiful, supportive and amiable wife. I am glad that the siege is over and I am able to show up here today. Thank you for bearing with my frailties and of those who hijacked me yesterday. Dear friends please join me as I share with you the 14th core habit of a purposeful, disciplined and effective disciplinarian: Teach your child the Pressure Point Principle.
Peer pressure is a major issue among human beings. Since every man or woman is a product of influence and environment, we find ourselves being pressured by peer from time to time.
What exactly is peer pressure? It is a social pressure by members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted. How do we define age group? It is ‘a group of people, usually of similar age, background, and social status, with whom a person associates and who are likely to influence the person’s beliefs and behavior.’
I think it is important we dwell a bit on the word, ‘pressure.’ The word, ‘pressure’ does not connote voluntary influence. It speaks of ‘a compelling or constraining influence, such as a moral force, on the mind or will.’ Once it is not voluntary, it takes away a bit of a person’s dignity of human person. If it is not voluntary, it may not proceed from conscience. If is not voluntary, the benefits of the actions or mission induced by peer pressure may not be known or benefited from by the pressured party. In a lot of cases, men and women lose the essence of their existence to peer pressure.
Please note that when the noblest of habits are not a function of our conscience persuasion, continuity is not guaranteed. Apart from the fact that peer pressure lead to a lot of negative actions or omissions, it must be stated that the pressured loses himself/herself to the one to whose pressure he or she bows.
I think there are three ways by which we become pressured: The first one is express luring from a member of one’s peer group. Peers, who are interested in getting us to embrace their ways of life, do embark on a journey of persuasion. They make effort to sell us on an idea or issue. They exact pressure and even emotional blackmail to ensure we bow to their position. Their pressure may not necessarily mean that they have identified the benefits of the idea or value they want us to inculcate. They themselves may not even know the benefits. Some may even know the negative impact of the habit being sold and they have decided not to go down alone. Though, this may not be a conscious thing.
The second way by which we are pressured is modelling. A peer may model a particular kind of behaviour, which other follow. In some cases the modelling may be deliberate and while in some cases, it may be deliberate. I must hasten to add that depending on the consciousness and motive of the model, modelling may be deliberate efforts to lure the unwary peer. Third way by which we can be pressured is comparison. This is when we compare ourselves to others and we want to be like them.
I think at the root of bowing to peer pressure is lack of identity. Identity is preceded by self discovery. Self discovery is a function of a man’s understanding that every human being is created in the image of God.
I think peer pressure is a major feature in the development of children, particularly, teenagers. It is important to note that there are two characteristics of the teenager that make them prone to pressure from their peers. The letter, G in the word, teenager stands for Geared Towards Pleasure/Pressure: the teenager loves pleasure. His/her environment capitalises on this singular need to put pressure on him/her. Thus in most cases when his/her real issues are not carefully identified and properly addressed, he/she becomes a victim of peer pressure and tends to bow. Thus he/her becomes the target of merchants of vices like pornographies, drugs, alcohol, indecent clothing, negative media, sex, abortion, lesbianism.
It is also important to note that letter R stands for Reality Deficiency: a lot of teenagers are not at home with reality. They are sold to fantasy. This is due to the fact that they are yet to come to terms to the real issues of life. Therefore they tend to be shallow. Their choices in most cases are determined by their emotional instinct. Therefore they are not ready for the consequences of their actions in most case. Custodians must take it as our responsibility to make our teens face reality and become conscious participants in the affairs of life, well before they become teenagers.
The foregoing puts the teenager in a position to bow to peer pressure. It is the responsibility of custodians to prepare their children for the teenage years. Same way we prepare for mid life crisis, we must prepare our children for the peculiarity of the teenage years, which I call mid-childhood crisis. Our society is populated today with many teenagers, who are not prepared for the teenage years. Because many custodians do not understand the challenges of the teenage years of childhood, they do not prepare their children for it and besides they are shocked and become frustrated and hopeless at the manifestation of the traits of the teenage ages.
My charge today is that we must train the children under our care to handle the challenges of teenage years. Please note that we do not begin to train our teenagers for the challenges of the teenage years when they become teenagers. It is done before then. When the children under our care are well prepared they will become little men and women of their own and will be in a position to stand their ground. When they are able to stand their ground, they become the pressure point. They lead and their friends follow. They become the positive influence among their peers. I think the crisis of peer pressure among teenagers is a crisis of unprepared teenagers.
Does that mean teenagers are going to be perfect when they are prepared? Not at all…they will not be perfect…not at all. They will make their mistakes. But one thing that is sure is that they will not be foolish. Please note that not being perfect is very different from being foolish.
I think I will like to rest my admonition here. Please join me tomorrow as I continue this journey. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.
POINT 2 PONDER:
‘Please note that we do not begin to train our teenagers for the challenges of the teenage years when they become teenagers. It is done before then.’
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