Abstract The paper is about self-esteem in children and young adults which occur as a result of peer pressure among other factors. The focus has however been put on peer pressure as an agent of self-esteem problem in this group of individuals. In the introduction, attention is concentrated on how these two things are always interrelated. Deeper into the paper, the relationship between peer pressure and self-esteem are identified as a way of creating an understanding of these two issues better. Once this has been achieved, the paper goes ahead to look at the main part of the work: the impacts of peer pressure on self-esteem to these young adults and children. The paper looks at all the areas affected by this problem from the family to the children too. In making this work worth a piece of importance, the paper goes ahead to talk about the possible solutions towards mitigating this problem. It highlights the importance of parents, teachers and other people as the key agents of operation in working towards achieving this since they are the ones dealing directly with these children. Coping mechanisms and regular counseling are viewed as the main elements that can foster children into escaping the trap of low self-esteem. In the end, the paper concludes by emphasizing on parents and teachers to use the opportunity they have at hand towards helping children out of this problem.
Self-esteem and peer pressure are two phenomena that have become a critical aspect in the growth of children especially in the transition from childhood to adulthood commonly known as adolescence stage. The self-esteem of a kid from an early age of 5 (Marshall et.al, 2009) is very vital in determining the character and most probably the future life of the kid. It, therefore, becomes crucial to critically analyze and research more about this topic with the aim of finding solutions to this problem and also seeing how children can be helped to cope with this inevitable situation. This paper is aimed at looking at the impacts that peer pressure has on the self-esteem of children. In achieving this, there will be a need of looking at the possible causes of the peer pressure before considering the effects. In making the paper conclusive and also helpful, there will also be a need for coming up with a possible course of action that can be followed to mitigate this issue that is viewed as a problem. In generating the concepts and developing the paper, class materials related to children counseling and books will be used. In relating the matter to the Worldview and ethical approaches, the Bible will also be sourced.
At topping it all, other peer-viewed articles that support the topic will also be referred to. The relationship between peer pressure and self-esteem According to Marshall and others (2009), peer pressure is defined as the internal force that makes one give away all that they can with the aim of fitting into a group of those around them. It is when one is influenced people around to at in a manner that pleases these individuals. Psychologically, one will never develop a thought process of establishing whether the act they want to be engaged in is a good one or not (Martyn?Nemeth et.al, 2009). Peer pressure is not always a bad thing; in other cases, it leads one to a good path in life (Steinfield, Ellison & Lampe, 2008). It all depends on the agents of the pressure whereby the agents of the pressure are those influencing the subject. The origins of peer pressure have been in existence from the beginning of the world. It was because of peer pressure that Eve opted to heed the lies of the serpent, into disobeying God (Genesis 3:1-6, NKJV).
Going further we see the disciples of Jesus being influenced by Him to the extent that they want to know how to pray the same way the Jesus prays (Luke 11:1-13, NKJV). These two scenarios from the Bible give a clear indication on the two facets of peer pressure, that is, it can impact a person in either a good or a bad way. The direction of the impact will depend heavily on those influencing the change in character (Marshall et.al, 2009). Self-esteem in psychology is viewed as the manner in which a person evaluates his or her own personal worthiness (Steinfield, Ellison & Lampe, 2008). It is more of an emotional judgment of one’s self and the attitude that one will develop towards themselves after reaching a conclusion of the value they possess. It is a very paramount agent of an individual’s confidence towards a particular thing that they are involved with when it comes to performance. When one feels that they are valuable as individuals, they will have a high self-esteem which automatically translates to high levels of confidence. Steinfield and others emphases this my arguing that extremely low levels of self- esteem can even lead to a person rejecting their personal being (2008). Self-esteem just like peer pressure it is as old as it can be remembered. In the encounter of Job and those wanting him to forsake God, in addition to the faith he had in God, he also viewed himself to be worth more than what he was going through. His high self-esteem was fundamental to see him through (Job 13:1-4).
When it comes to children, these two entities are so good to get over them and be able to alter their character attitude and emotions towards specific things in their lives. Children from the age of 5 years have their social cognitive function and process well developed, and this develops their aspect of being social beings (Marshal et.al, 2009). Any child that refrains from interacting with others has an issue that needs attention. At this development stage, the interactions make them feel accepted, and the desire of recognition develops. In the process, one will want to be like another kid maybe because they have a better toy than theirs or even they can play a given sport better. This aspect of peer pressure is thus developed. In such a scenario, there are two possibilities that will either enhance the self-esteem of the kid or lower it depending on whether the kid will eventually have a chance to be like the mate or not. In adolescents, it is worse. At this age, the kid has an opportunity to explore from friends since it is when he or she is allowed some freedom. Much of the time is spent away from the family, and mostly with friends. At this point, one is always desperate to fit into the expectations of the other (Martyn?Nemeth et.al, 2009). This makes them ready to do what it takes to look the same as those around them.
The problem comes in when there are obstacles around that restrict the individuals from becoming like this new society. There will be feelings of alienation which lowers their self-esteem (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010). In such instances, they may even lack a personal identity for themselves. If they are able to match the character of those around them, for example, the kid joins the band and begins taking drugs, they will have a feeling of achievement and acceptance. This in return boosts their confidence and self-esteem as explained by (Martyn?Nemeth et.al, 2009). Impacts of peer pressure on the self-esteem As stated earlier, the impacts can be positive or negative depending on the causes. The kid may end up attaining to fit in the group, but the worry remains of what this group is involved with. For young children, in as they desire to be like some, most is due to materialistic issues. If there is no person around to help the kid to get through it by getting them what they want, they will feel unwanted, and therefore their esteem is lowered. This makes them refrain from others as he feels incomplete (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010). This will also make them develop feelings of agitation especially the kids that they initiated the pressure on them. In other cases, rebellion ends up to be the only weapon remaining (Gerber & Pühse, 2008).
Such feeling will make the kid unhappy, and this can be seen in their dislike towards things that they have liked. A good example can be a favorite toy or television show. If it happens that the kid is able to get someone who will note the changes or will hear from the kid of what they want and be able to provide what they want self-esteem will be enhanced. They will end up feeling loved and cared for, and this boosts their emotions and attitude towards life (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010). If it is something related to school work, they will develop an acute interest in school. A kid who wanted a bicycle to ride to school just like others and the parents help them to achieve so, it will be noted that they are always interested in going to school. This, in the long run, will definitely enhance their class work. In adolescents, the flow of events is the same with the difference being that, in this case, the impacts are more adverse and difficult to reverse. As this young lad ends up to gain confidence due to acceptability in that new family they have got, they lose the respect that is expected of them towards their parents, guardians and even teachers. The kid will have a false confidence that this new group will always be by their side (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010). Parent and teachers will experience a lack of control over this kid since there is nothing they can do to get his or her attention.
This has been a very common problem in most households (Gerber & Pühse, 2008). Such events trigger misunderstandings especially among spouses since one sees the other as if they have negated their obligation leading to the kid slipping out of their control. This has led to depression and stress to parents and even family breakdown for those who failed to seek a solution in time (Steinfield, Ellison & Lampe, 2008). Patchin & Hinduja, however, highlights on the positive dimensions of peer pressure (2010). In constructive areas like class work or sporting activities, peer pressure will always enhance hard work and better results. He goes ahead to highlight how the kid will be happy and feeling accepted since there are people around ready to help them to achieve what they desire from their peers (Marshall et.al, 2009). The environment is even made more conducive since there is a reward. This has made such children develop high esteem and confidence, and as a result, they end up creating good foundations for their bright future. Gerber & Pühse also remembers to warn on the importance of the parents being observant of the same still (2008). With people around impressed on how the kid is striving to meet the expectations of their peers in a good way, they will be putting themselves under the pressure of performance, and if they fail to achieve their target, they will end up with an injured personality and confidence (Gerber & Pühse, 2008). Worst case scenarios are when the child has failed to fit into the group and yet there is no one around to help them cope with it. In most cases, a child is usually faced with the challenge of wanting to engage in immoral behavior as a way of getting accepted. A good foundation from the family makes some of these kids to find it hard to engage in activities such as drug and substance abuse and premarital sex since their earlier growth makes them view this as an impossible activity to engage in (Martyn?Nemeth et.al, 2009).
This is, in fact, the most dangerous position that a young adult can find themselves in. The failed mission to keep up with peer pressure makes such children end up not knowing what they want in life. The low self-esteem makes the children end up in a low moment whereby they will even lack purpose of life. Psychologically, they will be in deep mental and emotional torture (Martyn?Nemeth et.al, 2009). Gerber & Pühse (2008) argue that such children will even end up in a state of loneliness and depression cases become part of them. If this persists before anyone can chip in to offer help the affected kid may end up having suicidal thoughts. There are those who have been too weak to handle such lowliness to the extent that they end up committing suicide in reality (Gerber & Pühse, 2008). Possible solutions towards the problem The issue of mitigating these scary scenarios related to low self-esteem in children lies to those around the children. It should be noted that all adults are given the a mandated of ensuring that kids be they yours or someone else’s, all have a divine role of ensuring they are safe (Ephesians 6:4, NKJV). Both guardians and teachers have the task of keeping in check on the progress of their children to protect them from any cause of low self-esteem in addition to peer pressure. There are a couple of ways of protecting children from such problems that can not only affect the kid but also the entire family.
One possible way of making this possible is by instilling peer pressure coping mechanisms to the children. Frequent teachings and talks to kids regarding the effects of peer pressure and the possible ways of ensuring it is key to keeping them away from things that subject them to low self-esteem (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010). Through regular counseling especially to adolescents, they will end up learning the threat that faces them. By this, they can be able to know what is good to follow and what is not. Counselling has been the best way of making these young adults feel appreciated and accepted even when another group of their peers feels the other way about them (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010). Parents are also expected to be close to their children at all time so that they can be able to note any changes in their behavior. Through this, they can take note in good time regarding self-esteem issues and eventually enable them to seek help in time (Marshall et.al, 2009).
Dealing with adolescents is usually a challenge to many parents; however, one key way of winning their trust is by being a good listener to them. Martyn?Nemeth and others highlight how giving adolescents a listening ear can make them open up about their inner troubles (2009). Conclusion It is evident that peer pressure has self-esteem issues as some of its repercussions. The problem has impacted heavily on the development of young children and also created hurdles to the transition period that adolescents usually face. All is not lost, however. Parents and teachers need to work tightly together and bring the children closer to them as a way of understanding them better, and this allows the depressed kids to speak out of their misery. Through this, self-esteem issues in children will be unheard of.
Gerber, M., & Pühse, U. (2008). “Don’t crack under pressure!”—Do leisure time physical activity and self-esteem moderate the relationship between school-based stress and psychosomatic complaints?. Journal of psychosomatic research, 65(4), 363-369.
Marshall, W. L., Marshall, L. E., Serran, G. A., & O’Brien, M. D. (2009). Self-esteem, shame, cognitive distortions and empathy in sexual offenders: Their integration and treatment implications. Psychology, Crime & Law, 15(2-3), 217-234.
Martyn?Nemeth, P., Penckofer, S., Gulanick, M., Velsor?Friedrich, B., & Bryant, F. B. (2009). The relationships among self?esteem, stress, coping, eating behavior, and depressive mood in adolescents. Research in nursing & health, 32(1), 96-109.614-621.
Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2010). Cyberbullying and self?esteem. Journal of school health, 80(12), Steinfield, C., Ellison, N. B., & Lampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), 434-445.
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