How can peer pressure be either positive or negative?

David Herz, MD
Peer pressure is complicated. As your child grows up and spends more time with friends and less time with family, peer pressure can strongly influence his behavior. Whether that influence is positive or negative is what concerns parents most.

Peer pressure can be positive in that it can help your child develop useful coping skills in social situations or become more active in productive activities such as sports. Positive peer pressure could also encourage teens to avoid risky behaviors.

On the other hand, peer pressure can steer your child in negative directions, such as abusing drugs or alcohol or skipping school. The challenge is that teens may feel grown up, but their brains haven't fully developed to have solid judgment.

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