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Does anyone know what the word peer means?
A peer can be a friend from school, someone in the community or even someone on TV.  Usually a peer is someone around the same age as you, of similar ability, or someone you are in regular contact with.

What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is when somebody you know (a peer) persuades you to do something that you would not normally consider when you're alone.

Sometimes, it doesn't even have to be someone you know, it could be someone you want to know in that cool group of people at school. Everyone goes through peer pressure at some stage of his or her life and some more than others. But it is more an issue in your teen years because you don't want to be left out or be different from other people.
Would you agree with this?

• Pressure to dress or have your hair a certain way.
• Pressure to smoke, drink or take drugs.
• Daring you to do something you are not comfortable/confident doing.
• Going on the mitch with your friends.

It’s about choice…
Sometimes your best friends will offer you (even pressure you to take) a cigarette, drug or alcohol, but it is your choice to take it or not. Sometimes it is not easy to identify what peer pressure is. You may end up doing something you wouldn’t normally do just because your friends are doing it and not because they are telling you to do it.

It can be a source of affection, sympathy and understanding, a place of support and experience. For example, peer pressure from others could be good when someone pressures you into reading a book that they and others enjoyed, and then you did too after you read the book. It can also help you do interesting or fun things that you wouldn't normally do or are nervous about doing.

Can you think of some ways to cope with peer pressure?

Coping with peer pressure is different with every person. For some, it is easy to talk to someone about it, or maybe listen to music.
There are many different ways to cope with peer pressure, and you may have a completely different way to someone else.

Don’t bottle it up.

One thing that is not recommended when someone is pressuring you to take or do something is to keep it bottled up, because there are some people out there who are willing to listen and also help.

People have to understand that their peers will still respect them even if they don't take a drink or smoke. It's the way you feel about the issue.

If you feel comfortable, then do whatever you want, as long at its not illegal, doesn't hurt anyone or spoil someone else's experience.

And if you decide not to do it, remember that this doesn’t make you any less of a person but rather shows you can stand up for what you believe in.







Being assertive is about honestly communicating your thoughts, feelings and needs to others in an appropriate and clear way. Communicating assertively can give your mental health a boost.

Passive    Assertive    Aggressive 

What is passiveness?
Being passive is the opposite of being aggressive. When communicating passively a person often:
• Is unwilling to express their thoughts and feelings – suffers in silence.
• Put others’ needs and thoughts before their own
• Won’t participate in group activities
• Has trouble saying "NO" to people asking them to do something.
People communicating passively often drop hints instead of speaking straight. This is only effective if the other person picks up on the hint.

Can you name some aggressive behaviours?
There are some main behaviours that characterise aggressiveness, like:
• Physical violence
• Put-downs
• Not listening to differing points of view
Being aggressive is a way of forcing people to do what you want them to do without consideration for their thoughts and feelings. Intentionally standing over someone when talking to them is aggressive.

There are also people who are passive-aggressive who are not honest with themselves or others and they tend to:
• Act false by being "nice" on the outside but really they are angry.
• Bottle up anger and plan revenge or to get even.
• Try to sabotage something to get what they want.

Communication involves verbal messages; what we say and how we say it. Communication also involves the body language that we use, such as crossing our arms and using hand gestures as we speak.

It is important to match up our body language with our verbal messages for good communication. How we speak and use our body language determines whether we are communicating assertively, passively or aggressively.

Tact and timing
Tact is an important part of assertiveness. Using different tones and styles with different people is a big part of being assertive.
Timing is just as important as tact e.g. waiting for a good moment.
Say what you mean
Too many people don’t say what they want to say or when they do they don’t tell someone straight e.g. they drop hints and talk in round about ways.

Mean what you say
Meaning what you say is another thing that is extremely important in assertiveness. Try not to say “I don’t mind” when you actually mean “Yes” or “No”.

There is more to assertiveness than getting your way all the time and telling other people ‘this is how it’s going to be.’ Both sides need to be listened to and respected.

Do you think you might use any of these? If yes which ones?

Next time you have an argument, conversation or discussion try communicating assertively. It can help you with relationships, making decisions, problem solving and dealing with conflicts.