The Positive Peer Culture (PPC) model focuses on improving social skills and cultivating strength in youth by developing teen’s care and concern for others in a group setting. Rather than an authority figure demanding obedience, a peer requires responsibility for actions.
Peer pressure is particularly effective amongst adolescents, and PPC has proven to be a powerful method of behavior modification when adults are encouraging and fostering the teens to develop an environment of trust, respect, and responsibility. Gangs are a good example of when peer pressure goes awry. PPC uses a model that all teens are familiar with and leverages it to reinforce pro-social attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in which caring is made fashionable and hurting behavior is not tolerated.
The higher level goals of Positive Peer Culture are:
- Meet the needs every teen has to belong, to grow, and to develop autonomy
- Find and cultivate strengths
- Improve social competence and interest
- Convert self-focus into care and concern for others
Problems as Opportunities
In many experiences as teens, they are taught that problems are their fault or are defects in their character. PPC takes a different approach. Problems are looked at as opportunities to learn and grow; they are good things. Teens are encouraged to acknowledge their problems, to understand that once a problem has been identified, it can be owned and worked through. This process builds strength of character and teaches adolescents not to blame others for their behavioral problems.
Holding Each Other Accountable
When in a PPC group that is facilitated by a trained adult, teens can learn to respect, listen, and watch out for each other. The adults model the behavior they teach and if they must confront members, they do it in a way that is non-threatening and does not overpower the peer connection that is being established.
In the PPC model, youth are confronted by their peers when:
- They are not taking accountability for their actions
- Peers are not holding other peers accountable
- They are trying to manipulate others around them
- They are participating in inappropriate behaviors
The reverse is also true. Teens who are improving, making good life choices, and encouraging each other are spotlighted and recognized by their peers. The goal is to move youth away from being self-focused and from harmful conflict. Instead, PPC aims to develop self-worth in the teens who participate as well as dignity and self-responsibility as each one becomes committed to helping and caring for other.