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Bible Reading : 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Kings 12:1-17

Every youth comes under the influence of his peers, that is, those within the same age group as he or she. This influence coming from one's peer group is what is usually referred to as peer pressure. Peer pressure can either be positive or negative, depending on the kind of influence and effect it has on the individual. When the influence is bringing about good and profitable effects on the individual, it is said to be positive. But when it results in negative tendencies causing harm to the individual and others around him, such influence is said to be negative. It is this kind of harmful and damaging negative influence that a Christian youth and indeed, every youth should watch against.

The Bible warns in our text that associating with the wrong company, and allowing their influence to bear on our lives will corrupt whatever good qualities we may have. This is clearly illustrated in the story of Rehoboam, Solomon's son. The negative counsel of his peers led him to taking a very costly decision that eventually led to his losing ten tribes of Israel to Jeroboam. It is wisdom therefore; for every Christian youth to avoid becoming negatively influenced by their peers in the society.

Bible Reading : 1 Kings 12:8,3; Proverbs 1:10-14

Peer pressure is a very common influence among young people. This is particularly so, because of the peculiar nature of the youthful age. This is one of the challenging and adventrous stage of man. There is the search for independence, the quest for identity, the eagerness to explore and exploit, and the turbulence of emotional instability being often experienced. These factors make the youth easy prey of several influences. All these make the youth to want to experiment with a lot of things, most of which unfortunately are dangerous to them. Peer pressure is strong among youths because of the following factors:

   a. The uncertainty and fear of the adolescent age
   b. The need for self-worth and statues
   c. The desire for acceptance and a sense of belonging
   d. The feeling of being unwanted and unloved
   e. The desire to please, impress and win the applause of others

To satisfy the above mentioned needs, many young people unfortunately fall easy prey to the wrong elements in their society.

Bible Reading : 1 Corinthians 15:33; 1 Kings 12:1-17

Negative peer pressure is the influence that leads to doing wrong things that can cause harm to the subject and others. It involves hanging out with the wrong set of people in the society, who do not have the fear of God, and whose conducts and actions are usually against socially accepted norm. This brings regret, pain and many bad consequences upon them.

Coming under the influence of negative peer pressure begins at times in a very subtle, insignificant manner. It can start with a secret admiration of the lives, and perceived freedom of those in the group, becoming displeased and unsatisfied with oneself andcondition, having a feeling that there is something out there that one is missing, gradually inquiring into the lives and ways of the group. These may eventually, if not checked, lead into becoming part of the group.

When a youth has come under the influence of a negative peer group, there are some obvious signs that indicate this. These include:
   a. Loss of previous convictions and beliefs
   b. Sudden and radical change in apperance
   c. Change in personality and language
   d. Change in behaviour, habits and conducts
   e. Withdrawals
   f. Questioning of authority and once cherished values
   g. Open rebellion, disobedience and stubbornness
   h. Truancy and keeping away from home

To be continued. Watch out.

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