When it comes to social influences, the general opinion is that it’s harmful. Parents frown upon it.
Years of misguided advice has led most to believe that peer pressure is a cancer whose effects tend to promote moral decay and trouble. With modern day parents, whenever their children hit that dreaded adolescent stage, they try their best to contain them by citing friends as negative influences. In their minds, honest rendezvous at the mall or show grounds are code for secret drug and alcohol-fueled parties with all forms of debauchery imaginable. “We are only trying to do what is best for you” is a phrase commonly blurted out when we confronting them about these misplaced assumptions.
In hindsight I wonder if this really was in our best interests. After all they did say, the longer the leash, the simpler it is to walk the dog. Before I wrote this, I searched my brain for instances where peer pressure was advantageous to me, unfortunately nothing sprung to mind. And that’s were the problem lies.
Although I can vouch for the positive effects social interactions with supposed bad friends have had on me and those around me, these benefits are not immediately apparent to the naked eye. Where parents see misplaced priorities and rebellion, I see personal growth.
Learning to navigate young adulthood, and all the pressures that come with it, is something I believe our parents were supposed to teach us from a young age. That is what determines the type of adult we end up becoming. Many older people find themselves deeply entrenched in the dreaded mid-life crises all because they never got the opportunity to truly discover who they were outside parental supervision.
It is all well and good being a yes man and dancing to the tune of your parents’ drum, but, what effect does that have on your future sanity? Last week it was reported that there were eight suicides in the country. We need to keep our sanity in check.
As controversial as this may seem, I encourage my fellow youth to live a little so as to unearth their true selves. This is not to say you should go crazy and throw yourselves into all worldly pleasures, instead just dip your toe into the water and feel out the temperature.
If my parents ever come around to reading this post, they may just get a glimpse into my contradictory train of thought, but if not, at least it may touch a young mind currently stuck between a rock and a hard place or as my sister says a parent and social significance.
*Olavi Popyeinawa has a diploma in Alternative Dispute Resolution and is currently studying law, LLB at the University of Namibia (Unam). He will weekly contributing this column on youth mattersInstagram: niceguy_olavi Facebook: Olavi Longfellow Twitter: @OlaviPopyeinawa