Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Peer pressure has been around for a long time. It can be positive. Or it can be negative. But in all my years I've never heard of a more concerning end-result than the one I read about recently in Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters by Abigail Shrier. This intellectually honest journalist has taken a brave stand on the topic of gender dysphoria, a psychological condition characterized by severe and persistent discomfort in one's biological sex. She has illuminated a correlation between peer pressure and gender dysphoria among girls.
Gender dysphoria typically begins in early childhood. By age four, a child sometimes demonstrates discomfort with his or her gender. But in most cases—up to 70%—childhood gender dysphoria resolves. And historically, it's been a problem only boys face. But since about 2012, that has changed. Dramatically. There has been a sudden surge in girls who are struggling and they are generally tweens, teens, or college-aged young women. Not pre-schoolers.
An intellectually honest sociologist will ask the question: why the sudden change?
Abigail was brave enough to do so. She followed cases of girls who were transitioning or struggling and found something alarming: clusters of girls in a single grade suddenly all discovering transgender identities together. These girls were begging for hormones and desperate for surgery. Peer pressure was leading them to mutilate their bodies and change their "identity."
Abigal Shrier, despite being perfectly comfortable with adults who authentically identify as transgender, was attacked for shedding light on this trend. But she did not give in to the peer pressure. You can read her thoughtful research on this topic in her book. (See pages xxi-xxii to read about the peer pressure phenomenon.)
Peer pressure is no joke. Take it seriously. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are the friends my daughter hangs out with from families who share my values?
- Do my daughter's friends influence how she thinks and behaves?
- Are those influences good or bad?
- Does my daughter do things because of peer pressure?
- When was the last time you asked her if she was experiencing it?
It's so important to talk to her about these things. The wrong pressure can put her on a conveyer belt to unhealthy and sinful lifestyles.