Best of Jill’s Blog: The Reality of Adult Peer Pressure

After spending the past year writing our newest  book Living With Less So Your Family Has More, I’ve really been thinking 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 requires we work more to give our family more. 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. Watch out for these 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.

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.

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.

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…especially in the economic challenges we’ve experienced over the past few years. Those who resist this peer pressure may drive older cars and live in a house and neighborhood they can easily afford.

Adult peer pressure is real, it’s controlling, and it will influence us far more than we realize. Take a minute and think about the impact cultural expectations have on your thinking. Talk it over with your spouse.  And then stand firm on what’s right for your family…regardless of what others think!

What about you?  Where have you experienced adult peer pressure?  What helps you stand firm against the pressure to conform?


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15 thoughts on “Best of Jill’s Blog: The Reality of Adult Peer Pressure

  1. Hmmm … this is a great question!

    Not sure if this falls into the same category, but I find family pressure to be worse than peer pressure. Especially from my parents. But then a lot of that could be my perceived expectation from them.

    I hope this is in good taste to quote another blog – found it interesting that Seth addressed the issue of pressure today too!
    From: Seth Godin
    Sent: Aug 17, 2011 6:27 AM
    Subject: Seth’s Blog : “I’m under a lot of pressure…”

    “I’m under a lot of pressure…”

    The ellipsis hides the most important part of this sentence:

    “I’m under a lot of pressure from myself.”

    When you have a big presentation or a large speech or a spreadsheet due, the pressure you feel is self-induced. How do I know? Because stuff that felt high-pressure a few years ago is old hat to you now. Because it used to be hard for you to speak to ten people, and now it takes a hundred or a thousand for you to feel those butterflies. Because not only do you get used to it, you thrive on it.

    Unless you’re in a James Bond movie, it’s really unlikely that the pressure that you’re feeling is anything but self-induced.

    What you do with the pressure is up to you. If it’s not helping you do great work, don’t embrace it. Pressure ignored ceases to be pressure.

  2. Totally feeling the adult peer pressure as I sent my kids to school yesterday. I am a SAHM of four kids in public school. My husband and I have sacrificed mightily so I can be home for the kids, something we both greatly value. But a lot of my friends are shocked that I would continue to stay home even while the kids are in school. I feel like I need to defend or justify myself, but instead I am choosing to remember that I am adult, and I get to live my life according to what Jesus is asking me to do, not according to what others think I should be doing. Thanks, Jill.

      • Thank you so much for this link. I had someone ask me the other day what my aspirations were for the future and when I told them to be a mom they looked at me and said “That’s it. You don’t want to go back to college or have a career?” It made me angry and sad at the same time. I have 3 small kids (5, 4 and 15 months). I don’t know what I want to do after my youngest starts school but I do know that I want to be there for them. I am blessed because my husband makes good money which allows me to be home with them. Our lives are very hectic (this is a 2nd marriage for both of us) with the kids going different places and we feel like God is convicting us to make our home as normal and safe-feeling as possible. I was a single mom working full-time and I always felt like I was short-changing my son. It is great knowing other people feel the same as me.

  3. I am a young wife, 26, (married 7 yrs.) and a young mother. I have a 4 and 1 year old son. While I know there are different situations, the Lord has convicted me to homeschool our children and to walk a very narrow road. At times I get overwhelmed by the pressure of people asking if my soon goes to a preschool or day care and why I do not do this or that. At times I wonder to myself if I can do what I feel called to and want to do with my children – we do not have a lot of friends and as a military family move every 3-4 years, it’s overwhelming and is a constant reminder of my need for God and to take it to him.

    Thanks I needed this post.

    • Ashley, you might want to check out a couple of my books to bolster your courage and conviction. Professionalizing Motherhood, My Heart’s at Home, and Living With Less So Your Family Has More will be very helpful. I homeschooled my kids off and on as needed. I think it’s a great option!

  4. Hi Jill,

    I’ve just read two of your books My Heart’s at Home and Living With Less So Your Family Has More. I must say I enjoyed the “Living With ..” more, as it was more practical and gave more straightforward advices. We (me and my wife) have just finished the first month of living on the budget. We’ve put together categories and prepared envelopes and I must say it went pretty well. We’ve been 10% underbudget and we’ve had everything under control through the whole month. I hope we will repeat the success during September.

    So thanks again for this book and your hard work.

    Greetings from Poland.

      • I think I’ve read an article written by one of the stay-at-home moms located in Warsaw. I think one of your publications was mentioned. I went to and you had really good reviews, so I gave it a chance (I ordered also the “Living for less ..” as at the moment we are living on a single salary :)).

        I only faced one problem, my wife is really busy with our two todlers (2 year-old boy, 3 months-old girl) and she can’t find time and motivation to go through at least one of them. Any advice on that?

        • Max, you could offer to take care of the children for 30 minutes to allow her to close the bedroom door, fix a cup of tea, and read. Then after the children are in bed, the two of you could discuss what you’ve read. Or you could encourage her to just read it in small sections rather than trying to accomplish a chapter at a time.

          Which book do you have other than “Living With Less So Your Family Has More?” Are you aware that my book Professionalizing Motherhood is available in Polish? I’ve had the privilege of speaking in Poland on two different occasions. I love the people there!

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