While peer pressure affects people of all ages, it has its most influential effects on young, impressionable teens.
The youth ministry, or IMPACT, team at Showers of Blessing Christian Church has scheduled a youth forum at 7 p.m. today at which organizers are hoping to give those teens the tools necessary to resist peer pressure.
The forum will kick off tonight at the church and involve testimony from multiple guest panelists.
“Peer pressure is an issue that is the root of a lot of other problems, including teenage pregnancy and drug abuse,” said Rontrell Lynch, the event’s coordinator. “It is very important that teens not only are aware of peer pressure, but know the ways in which they can resist it.”
Peer pressure also can be positive, and that is another point Lynch will stress at the forum.
“A good example is when a person doesn’t really like to study and who gets in with a group of peers who do. That peer pressure and those people saying it is really necessary to study is positive,” Lynch said.
Many young people want to go with the flow and be in the crowd in order to resist rejection, Lynch said.
“There is no particular target audience for the forum. Everybody deals with peer pressure – even adults and young children,” Lynch said. “Even third-graders are introduced to drugs like marijuana because of peer pressure.”
Combatting peer pressure is especially important in South Rocky Mount, as many youth are exposed to peer pressure that leads to them joining gangs and thus committing violence, Lynch said.
“The IMPACT program is pretty new, but we are looking at doing more youth events like these in the future,” Lynch said. “We also are scheduling mentoring programs to help these teens when they are applying to go to college.”