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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