After spending a year writing our Living With Less So Your Family Has More book, my husband and I really began to think about the reality of adult peer pressure. The words “peer pressure” usually refer to the pressure to conform that teenagers experience. But if we’re honest, peer pressure doesn’t stop after the teen years…it continues right on into adulthood.
If we’re not aware of the demand to conform, we’ll likely find ourselves pressured into a lifestyle that may not be what we want for our family. At the end of our life, though, what we give our family materially isn’t nearly as important as what we give our family relationally. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Less really can be more.
We can’t resist peer pressure if we don’t recognize it’s there. So today I want to encourage you to watch out for these five types of adult peer pressure:
Pressure to have debt—Our culture seeks immediate gratification. We want what we want when we want it…even if we have to pay double the price in interest to have it. Believe it or not, there are middle class people who pay cash for a car, refuse the concept of 12 months same as cash, and other than having a mortgage for a home would never take out a loan for anything. Resist the urge to “get it now” by going into debt.
Pressure to give our kids every possible opportunity—In our activity centered life too many of us forget that the best opportunity we can give our kids is simply the opportunity to be a kid. In the preschool years, our kids need to play in the backyard sandbox rather than on an organized sports team. During the grade school and teen years, it’s healthy for kids to be in activities outside the home, but resist the pressure to overdo it. You’re only one person and you don’t need to meet yourself coming and going to too many activities. Set a boundary for one extra-curricular activity for each kid. It’s healthy for them and healthy for you!
Pressure to move up the corporate ladder—We have to weigh carefully how much time and energy we want to pour into our career, especially if it will take away from our family. There are those who resist this pressure and choose to step off the corporate ladder. Yes, it limits their earning power, but it increases their availability to their family. Time is just as valuable—and sometimes more valuable—than money.
Pressure to live in the right neighborhood and drive the right car—Too often we allow ourselves to be defined by things that we could lose in the blink of an eye. Those who resist this peer pressure may drive older cars and live in a house and neighborhood they can easily afford. Resist the urge to “keep up” with what others are doing.
Pressure to live up to other moms’ social media pictures—With social media it’s so easy to compare our insides with the other moms’ outsides. Too often we compare our behind-the-scenes reels to another mom’s highlight reels. We have to stop these unfair comparisons. We all struggle. We all have good days and bad days. Spend a little time over on www.pinterestfail.com to gain some much needed perspective!
Adult peer pressure is real, it’s controlling, and it will influence us far more than we realize. Join me in considering the impact cultural expectations have on your thinking. And if you’re so inclined, join those of us who believe that you can live with less and actually give your family more.
Jill Savage speaks to audiences of thousands and is the author of twelve books including Better Together, No More Perfect Moms and No More Perfect Kids. She’s the founder of Hearts at Home (www.HeartsatHome.org), a ministry for moms. Her biggest accomplishment? Being a mom to five beautiful children and Nana to three precious grandbabies. Jill Savage encourages tens of thousands each year through her speaking and writing. Why is she so successful? Because she’s just one of us — a mother trying to make it through each day with the challenges life can present to us. Jill and her family live in an old farmhouse in Normal, IL, where she admits that she burns bacon on a regular basis. You can learn more about Jill at www.JillSavage.org.