5 Things to overcome teenage peer pressure
1- Change their perception: The way to tackle the vices often caused by negative peer pressure, like drugs/alcohol abuse, gambling, sexual immorality, cultism is more about changing the understanding and perception of the teens so that they see the danger inherent in what they are doing.
Help them see the destruction in the path they want to tread, that the path that looks more enticing right now (like Gambling, Yahoo-Yahoo (internet scam), Cultism etc) will eventually lead to great pain and regret.(Proverbs 16:25, 4:10-19, 5:21-23, 9:13-18, 8:32-36) and help them they see the beauty and hope in following the way of Christ Jesus & godly virtue.
2- Set a vision of their identity in Christ and of God’s redemptive love for them: Make them realise their identity in Christ, and God’s love for them so that they see that in God their future is much much brighter and God has far far better plans for them than what the world offers (Jeremiah 29:11, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, Isaiah 48:17-19. Romans 8:28-39)
(Check out link at the end of this article if you need help teaching Identity and God’s love to your teens)
3- Godly virtues will get you to God’s plans for you- And then making them understand that it will take time-tested, rock-solid virtues like obedience, patience, contentment, diligence, skillfulness, humility, faithfulness, self control, compassion and other fruits of the Spirit to get to the awesome things God has in store for them (Isaiah 48:17-19, Timothy 6:6-16, Proverbs 22:29. 2 Peter 1:1-11)
4. Help them Deal with F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out):
A key reason we give into peer pressure is the fear of missing out. We feel like there’s something our peers are enjoying by the life they are living that we aren’t, but it’s a lie, if their way of living and their decisions go against God’s law.
We shouldn’t think of God’s law as trying to kill our joy, rather it’s for our greatest pleasure! The Psalmist says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103), and Jeremiah says, “When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. (Jeremiah 15:16)
God’s laws protect us and help us live truly joyful and abundant lives, and it doesn’t matter if the world goes against his ways, we must consistently remind ourselves that His laws are for our greatest joy, and not give into the pressure from our peers or popular culture to disobey his laws.
We shouldn’t despise that our lifestyle is different from others because we follow God’s way, rather we should rejoice in it, just like a prince or princess rejoices in their nobility, rather than despise the fact that their lifestyle differs from those of ordinary men.
If our vision and love for God’s laws are strong enough, our fear of missing out on the latest fads and trends in other areas were we don’t quite match up, would pale in comparison.
5. There are cleaner ways of making money: And then teaching them to seek cleaner, peaceful and more sustainable ways of getting what you want (making money), rather than illegal ways that can land you in prison (like Hushpuppi), and make you do really terrible or abominable things or keep you constantly looking over your shoulders, or worse landing you in hell if you continue on the wrong path. (1 Timothy 6:8-10. Proverbs 9:13-18)
We need to often teach these things to our teens, because sometimes the noise of the world, or their emotions, desires or hormones may become louder than that of ours. This is the same reason why we often need to remind ourselves of things God has spoken to us about, because sometimes the storms of emotion, the pressure of the moment, people, doubt, forgetfulness etc could drown out his voice.
It's about making them realize there is a blessing that makes rich and adds no sorrow to it. Proverbs 10:22.
In Closing, the book of Proverbs, particularly the first 9 Chapters is a great book for the teens and teachers to study in handling these issues.
These vices are largely due to a flawed perception of life, and lack of godly wisdom. Proverbs 2:9-15, 7:1-27. Job 28:28
And so our prayer, according to Isaiah 32:1-5 (words in bracket mine), is that the King (Christ) will reign in their hearts and each of them will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm (rather than like trees easily blown by the wind like they currently are), like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
And that the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen (be attentive). The mind of the rash (the impulsive, impatient of mind, the one who acts without thinking... like a lot of our teens) will receive discernment to recognize truth, will take time to think clearly and make sound decisions. And the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear
They will no longer idolize fools as celebrities or role models, neither will they respect scoundrels or give them positions of honor.