YOUNG WRITERS SPACE | Managing Peer Pressure at Parties

How to Manage Peer Pressure at Parties

Introduction: Young Writers Space

It is great to introduce Haydn to readers. Haydn is a young person, who is an aspiring writer, and we are privileged to have him writing and sharing some of his experiences for other young people.

Haydn has studied commerce at UWA, majoring in Marketing. He has also studied Mandarin at Soochow University in China. He loves music, photography and telling stories that impact and are meaningful. He is inspired by the recent increasing awareness and appetite for minority representation in storytelling.

Welcome Haydn and thank you for your first piece on managing peer pressure at parties.

– David Kernohan,  Director of Youth Legal Services

 

Managing Peer Pressure at Parties

Have you ever felt pressured to take drugs at a party?

Relationships can often feel like they are at stake at parties. It is common to feel pressured to take part in activities such as underage drinking, recreational drug use, antisocial behaviour (intimidating strangers, vandalism, hooning), these are all common pressures for teenagers at parties.

This can be tricky territory to navigate, given the potential social consequences of not participating and potential legal consequences if you do participate. In some situations, peer pressure may dissipate after a few attempts to pressure you and you may be left alone. Other times, you may face social exclusion, you may be made fun of, or even experience bullying or harassment for not participating.

Another thing to consider are the possible legal issues, if for example police are called to attend — whether for a noise complaint, or because of late-night antisocial behaviour spilling on to the street — this is not uncommon. Anxiety may not just stem from the police’s attendance, but whether you might be questioned as they seek to understand the situation, as well as determine whether charges should be laid. While you may not be partaking in drugs or underage drinking, there can still be the anxiety of “guilt by association”?

However, this must be recognised as part of growing up. Personal responsibility must be taken; this is a part of how we mature. As young people, we must learn to take responsibility for our own wellbeing and actions. If we are in an uncomfortable situation, we must learn to deal with it by overcoming it or removing ourselves from that situation. You may have to learn to take responsibility the hard way. It may mean suffering the consequences, either by dealing with legal issues like police questioning, or social exclusion and perhaps even bullying.

However, this must be recognised as part of growing up. Personal responsibility must be taken; this is a part of how we mature. As young people, we must learn to take responsibility for our own wellbeing and actions. If we are in an uncomfortable situation, we must learn to deal with it by overcoming it or removing ourselves from that situation. You may have to learn to take responsibility the hard way. It may mean suffering the consequences, either by dealing with legal issues like police questioning, or social exclusion and perhaps even bullying.

As we grow up, we must realise that being perceived as cool does not mean we necessarily are experiencing fulfilling and meaningful living. For many, including myself, as a teenager, I just wanted to be liked and accepted by my peers. Now looking back, I realise that acceptance did not need to come from the coolest kids in school, or from participating in alcohol or drugs.

Whether it is through making new friends or taking up new interests, we must ground our living in sustainable living that does not increase our anxieties, but instead makes us comfortable. When we look back at our lives later, even as soon as in five years’ time, you will probably think about those situations differently. The way you act, the things you prioritise will have changed, and you will probably look back at those times and think you would have done things differently. You must think of your future – will you be bold and make decisions for your future self to be proud of?



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