by Khadijah Ali-Coleman
Youth workers and programs can utilize peer support in promoting positive youth development. Peer supporting is a two-way stream in learning and empowerment.
Gang formation is an example of the negative direction the search for membership and belonging can take. The concept of a fashion trend with a large following also exemplifies the need of the masses to feel connected and part of a group while expressing themselves and attracting attention. Ultimately, both choices typically begin, subtly or more overtly, as peer pressure. Peer pressure is a successful tool for bullies because it preys on this human need that surfaces most readily in adolescence to fit in and belong to a group. The positive aspect of peer pressure, however, is peer support. Peer support is peer pressure turned on its head.
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