For a brief essay explaining peer pressure, what does peer pressure mean?

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Peer pressure consists of the pressure a peers place on an individual in order to change that person's behavior (in order to make it more like the group's).

An essay on peer pressure would include a definition of what peer pressure is, a personal interpretation of what the technical definition means, and examples of peer pressure.

The above definition is a "formal" definition of what peer pressure is. In order to define peer pressure for yourself, reword what the technical definition in order to make it your own. As for examples of peer pressure, the following suggestions offer different situations where peer pressure is evident.

1. One teenager is not drinking. His or her friends are al drinking. In order to get him or her to be included in the "festivities," the other people around the non-drinker will continue to offer drinks to the person, say "it is no big deal, have a drink," and/or tell him or her how much he or she is missing out. In order to "fit in," the girl or boy will submit to having a drink (they have submitted to the peer pressure).

2. In a similar situation as number one, a single person is not doing drugs, but everyone else is. Again, the people doing the drugs will try to get the one not doing drugs to join in.

3. A girl (or boy) is in a relationship. All of the girl's (or boy's) friends are in relationships where they are sexually active. The friends, or the boyfriend, pressures the girl into having intercourse based upon the fact "everyone is doing it."

The conclusion of the essay will restate the definition and may explain how hard it is for some to not give into peer pressure (based upon the examples provided).

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My dictionary defines "peer" as "A person who has equal standing with another, as in rank, class, or age....Peer refers to an equal, not a superior." A teenager's peers would be other teenagers, not his parents or teachers. A teacher's peers would include other teachers. Peer pressure can be very strong for everybody because we all want approval and acceptance.