The Surprising Benefits of Peer Pressure

The Surprising Benefits of Peer Pressure

By Aviva Patz

Surprising benefits of peer pressure! Kids do some crazy things to keep up with their friends — even preschoolers (“I dare you to eat a worm!”). But as negative as it can be, there are a few benefits of peer pressure.

“There’s no doubt that peers can make each other more aggressive, but they can also make each other smarter and happier,” says psychology professor William M. Bukowski, Ph.D., of Concordia University in Montreal. “In fact, the positive effects of peer influence are more important than the negative effects.”

Here’s how going along with the crowd can be a smart move after all — and how you can encourage your child to reap the rewards.

Benefit of Peer Pressure: Encourages excellence. Students who learn with smarter classmates tend to perform better academically themselves, according to a 2011 study in Child Development. That’s because kids imitate each other, especially when they’re unsure of how to behave. They also reward each other for acting a certain way — by laughing, smiling and giving each other high-fives. “Children have expectations of one another, and they make those expectations clear,” says Bukowski.

Your move: Book more playdates with the kids who model doing the right thing.

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