Peer Pressure: An Unavoidable Situation

Unaviodable Peer Pressure - Peculiar Ministers Christian Movement
Our Guest 

Mrs. Odunola Akintola ARUGBOOJO is a music minister and a perioperative nurse by profession. She studied Nursing from school of nursing Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria and did her speciality in nursing from school of perioperative nursing UCH Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. She is a woman whose love for the Holy Spirit is unquantifiable. A lover of youths and teenagers. A marriage and youth/teens counsellor.

Odunola Akintola ARUGBOOJO has passion for encouraging the weary hearts and she is committed to preaching the gospel through the Word and also through spiritual songs through out the globe. She is married to Pastor Akintola Sunday and they are blessed with Godly heritage.


The Interview

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: It is good to have you here. Thanks for honouring our invite. The Topic before us is Peer Pressure: An unavoidable situation.

Peer Pressure has been in Vogue, and it has been an alarming situation that people face daily in one way or the other. Can you tell us what you understand by the word “Peer Pressure”?

Mrs Odunola Akintola: I am going to put it in a very simple way.  When you look at the term peer pressure it has two words “peer” and “pressure “. Peer simply means your age group, your age bracket; while pressure means influence or you can say impacts.

So, when you talk about peer pressure, it simply means the influence of your age group on you emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, physically, intellectually and so on like that.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: In your definition you said it can be an influence/impact that comes from ones age bracket. Is there Such thing as positive Peer pressure?

Mrs Odunola Akintola: We have about 6 types of peer pressure. I may not go deep but if we need to, no problem at all. We have:

1. Spoken peer pressure
2. Unspoken peer pressure
3. Direct peer pressure
4. Indirect peer pressure
5. Positive peer pressure
6. Negative peer pressure

So, to your question of course there is such as positive peer pressure. It’s one of the types of pressure we have.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: Can you kindly give a brief definition to each of them?

Mrs Odunola Akintola:

Spoken peer pressure is when a teenager asks, suggests, persuades or otherwise directs another to engage in a specific behavior. If this is done in a one-on-one environment, the recipient of the influence has a stronger chance of adhering to his or her core values and beliefs. If, however, the spoken influence takes place within a group, the pressure to go along with the group is immense.

Talking about spoken peer pressure, your friends tells you that these are the particular things they do late in the night like watching romantic movies till late night; and may be when you meet in school or class, they start gisting about the movie and in a way they are telling you too to start watching romantic movies till late in the night. Before you know it, you are influenced by your peer if care is not taken. That is spoken peer pressure.

The unspoken peer pressure is more of non verbal. Your peers behave to you in way that suggest that you too should start doing what they are doing. This one has to do with their actions. This can be seen very well in the way we dress. If you love to put on gown that may be what your parents had taught you as a God fearing lady, your gown or your skirt must be below your knee. But when you get to school, most of your friends are those that always wear micro mini to lecture. You know indirectly they are telling you to join their group too and if care is not taken, I mean if you don’t have a strong will to adhere to the right value, you may be influenced.

Direct Peer Pressure is a type of peer pressure which can be spoken or unspoken. It can be either of the two. Direct peer pressures normally behaviour-centric. Examples of these kinds of behavior would be when a teenager hands another teen an alcoholic drink, or makes a sexual advance, or looks at another student’s paper during a test. The other teen is put in a position of having to make an on-the-spot decision.

Indirect Peer Pressure is similar to unspoken peer pressure. Indirect peer pressure is subtle but can still exert a strong influence on an impressionable young person. When a teen overhears a friend gossiping about another person and then reacts to the gossip, that is indirect peer pressure; or if a middle schooler learns that the popular kids’ parties include alcohol or drugs, that indirect pressure may prompt them to experiment as a way to gain acceptance.

Negative Peer Pressure is asking a young teenager to engage in behavior that is against their moral code or family values. Teens see the actions of other teens with stronger personalities and are put in a position of following the leader or walking away. It’s not uncommon for teens with strong morals to find themselves engaging in behavior that goes against their beliefs, simply because they want acceptance. Young people often lack the skills to come up with an excuse or reason to say no to negative peer pressure. To overcome this negative peer pressure, you must be extemely strong willed if not you will fall for it.

Positive Peer Pressure is a group dynamic of positive peer influence if the behaviours are healthy, age-appropriate and socially acceptable. For instance, if a peer group wants to make good grades, a young teen can be positively influenced to study. If your friends love books and it is likely you will love to read too. I remember then we use to do competitions on reading our book back then in secondary school and nursing – it was a positive one for me .

If your friends are the prayerful and fearful types, you will also be influence positively too on how to pray and fear God. That is why the Bible says, “bad communication corrupt good manners”, that is, show me your friends then I will tell you who you are you are likely to be like whom you call your friends.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: All well said and detailed.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: Can we say teenagers are the only one vulnerable to Peer Pressure?

Mrs Odunola Akintola: No, teenagers are not the only ones but, they are just the most vulnerable ones. As an adult, you can experience peer pressure .Take for instance a single sister at 25 years and almost all her friends have gotten married. Of course, she could be under pressure to just accept anybody as a suitor if she doesn’t know her value as a spinster. If her self esteem is very low, it’s most likely she falls for the pressure of getting married so it’s not only teenagers, but teens are most vulnerable.

You can also be married and all your friends have their own children, if you don’t learn to be patient, it can affect you negatively and make you do things that should not be done. Knowing who you are in God is very important.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: Well understood. Peer Pressure and Low Self Esteem, are there any similarity?

Mrs Odunola Akintola: Peer pressure and low self esteem are not the same but your self esteem can help you to overcome peer pressure.
That is where the role of parents come in. As parents, we need to consciously and intentionally boost our wards self esteem by telling them how important they are. Teenagers especially should be told that they are loved. The statement, “I love you”, “you are amazing” should not be far from our mouth as parents. When a teenager is shown love and care, he or she feels good and also feels secured. Hence, whatever pressure he or she faces out there won’t affect him or her negatively because he or she knows who he or she is in Christ.

Many parents had failed in this regard and some are still very far behind. “I love you” should not be far from our mouth as parents because we are the best people to influence our wards. To buttress this, if your mum and dad always tell you they love you, you look good and so on, do you know it would prevent low self esteem. When they always tell you, “you are the best”, you see yourself as the best. So, even if one guy is telling you he loves you in school, you won’t fall for it because you are used to the words but if you are always abused and beaten and not appreciated at a home, you know, that will give room to you going after any body that shows you love and the end could be distratrous. I have a word for the parents out there, may be when we are about rounding off.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: Hmm, parental care is very important.

Mrs Odunola Akintola: Yes, it’s key to preventing negative peer influence in your ward‘s life.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: Have you ever experienced peer pressure? If yes, is it in a positive or negative way? Can you share your Story?

Mrs Odunola Akintola: Yes, I had experienced peer pressure before both positively and negatively. Let me talk about the negative effect. When I was in secondary school till SSS 3 in Nigeria, I had no boyfriend. I remember I had not given my life to Christ then too, but all my friends had boy friends so I looked so odd among them. Sometimes, they  will be discussing about their boy friends so I was under pressure of having one. I did get one, but the guy started demanding for sex and I wasn’t ready for that even as an unbeliever. Then, I had made up my mind that my husband will be the first to sleep with me on my wedding day. That strong determination helped me never to bow to the pressure of sex. So, when I saw that I may end up loosing my virginity, I broke up with the guy because I cherish my body so much and I don’t want unwanted pregnancy as a teenager. That was my first experience. 

Second was when I was ripe for marriage. I had so many of my friends that had gotten married 5 years back. When I discovered pressure was too much on me to get married, I stayed back in school then in UCH, Ibadan after my graduation and I got a job in Ibadan. I decided not to go home. I wanted to just serve God and I needed maximum concentration. I believe God makes all things beautiful in His time only and I didn’t want any distractions at all. When God was ready, He gave me the best husband in the whole word who cherish my beliefs and respected my body till marriage. Not even a kiss let alone romance till we got marrried. That’s my second experience.

My third experience was during my Nursing. I used to have friends that read a lot so we did competitions which really helped me to read very well and study hard in school. Also positively as a child of God, I had seen spiritual friends charging me more to get closer to God. When I see their zeal for God and the fear of God, I also want to get closer to God too.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: Well said. There is a saying that, “If you can’t beat them you join them”. How can you say “no” to peer pressure?

Mrs Odunola Akintola: Anybody that can’t see far cannot go far is my answer. That is more reason you need Jesus. When Jesus is your friend and lover, He will be in the boat of your destiny and you know what that means – you can’t just behave like others, you can’t. It is lack of identity that makes you want to join them.

First thing first, who are you? Do you know who you are? What are you called for? Where are you heading to?

If you must fulfill purpose in life you must be able to answer all these questions and be true to yourself. When you know who you are, what you are called for, and where you are heading to, then you won’t say you want to join them. Are your destinations the same? You can not afford to join them.

Knowing Jesus Christ and be lost in His will will help you to know your identity and also answer all these questions I asked earlier on. Knowing Jesus and knowing that you can’t afford to mess up is key to saying no to peer pressure. When you carry the Anointing of God you can’t misbehave. When you know your purpose in life, you can’t afford to bow to peer pressure. You can’t join them if you can’t beat them. No! You are God’s special and you carry something different from the normal
so you need to tread carefully.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: This is more like a charge. You need to know your identity in Christ.

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: How can peer pressure conflict with your belief/value?

Mrs Odunola Akintola: Many ways. There are some morals that say, “a girl should keep her virginity till marriage but peer pressure will tell you if you are not having sex you are not a big boy or girl”. The Word of God also admonishes in Hebrews 13:4 that, “marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge”. There will always be conflicts between peer pressure and your beliefs and values. You are the one that need to stand and stand firm to do the right things in the eyes of God.

Teniola Timileyin: Finally, what is your advice to those facing Peer Pressure and Low Self Esteem?😊

Mrs Odunola Akintola: You need Jesus Christ, that is the only remedy. No other foundation except Jesus Christ. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:11.

You need to have a closer walk with your maker God and befriend the Holyspirit so much. You cannot be neither cold nor hot as the book of Revelations say. If you are neither cold nor hot I will spew you out says God. May that not be your portion, my portion in Jesus name.

You must know what you carry that’s your identity. You need a mentor too. Someone spiritual that you can open up to whenever you err. Someone you know you can listen to and submit to. A very spiritually minded personality. And finally you need to flee from all appearances of evil – flee fornication, flee masturbation, flee alcoholism, flee from lies and adultery, you need to flee from pornography and all appearances of evil.

You need to surender all your fears to God. There is someone here you are reading this piece you need to submit your fears, hurts and wounds at the feet of Christ . You always feel or wanted love, unfortunately, you couldn’t get this love from your parents and you are frustrated you wanted to bow to peer  pressure. Please don’t give in. Don’t bow to it. God said I should tell you that, He is your mother and He is also your father; give me the pieces of your life and I will make something beautiful out of it for you, out of the ashes for you. Don’t give in to peer pressures but wholly seek and serve me and I will father you and I will also mother you. To that perosn, God is saying, I love you daughter, I love you son, just follow me and follow my instructions and I will make you a wonder to your generations .

So like I said all you need is Jesus. You need Jesus. You need His power to overcome negative peer pressures around you. Why don’t you come to Him today, let Him make you a wonder to your world – Matthew 11:28.

God bless you for reading. Thank you

Teniola Timileyin Temitayo: We have come to the end of this wonderful interview. Honestly, I don’t want it to end, but it just has to. I have learnt a whole lot and you have really dealt with each questions carefully with God’s Wisdom. I really appreciate your insight, thank you very much.

On behalf of Peculiar Ministers, I say thank you wholeheartedly and more anointing. Love from we all at Peculiar Ministers..😊😊😊

Mrs Odunola Akintola: All glory to God and thank you for having me on this platform Teni. God bless this great team in Jesus.

Thank you.

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