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Peer pressure and teenagers

Age of innocence

Teenage and early adulthood is that phase in a youngster’s life that is often not properly understood, and the experience itself is a big influence on the self and his/her peer. Rapid changes are happening in each of the person and on the environment.  Teenagers are influenced by someone or something around them.

Peer pressure and teenagers

Understanding peer pressure

A growing child expresses the desire to do the things that people of their age group exhibit.  They tend to imitate the behaviour,  have a similar style of dressing, have a liking for the same kind of music, and develop an admiration for the same celebrities and sports stars.  The basic motivation for this behaviour is a sense of acceptance in the group of the same age.  There is a sense of conformance to the group and it is considered cool. 

Is peer pressure positive or negative

Peer pressure is often considered as a very negative influence but what is often overlooked is the fact that it can also be a very positive influence. Educational pursuits require that teens spend more time with children of their age groups, away from the direct supervision of their parents.  There is a new found sense of independence and peers play a greater role in influencing each other.  

Peer pressure is hard to resist. There is a silver lining to it. Just as people influence others to make negative decisions, there can be a positive influence too. A teen might be influenced to take up a social cause, put in more effort in his studies to get better grades, develop some talents. All because the peer group feels it is a good thing to do. 

In some situations, teens behave, act, and dress only for a sense of false acceptance in the group. This behaviour subjects the teens to a lot of pressure and makes them uncomfortable.

Peer pressure and teenagers

Teens and young adults

Teens often respond to situations not knowing the consequences and they seek instant gratification.  The temptation to “try it ” is very high and they often give into it.  Some social behaviours such as smoking, drinking,  drugs and early initiation of sexual activities when they are not prepared for it, are mostly due to intense peer pressure.  This response comes from a wrong idea that everybody in the group is doing it and it must be cool. It is human nature to listen and learn from people of the same age group.

Young adults always want to have the latest gadgets and are constantly bombarded by the advertising industry telling them what is the “in thing”.

Responding to peer pressure

If parents do not influence their children, society will.  So the degree of parental involvement in the formative years of a teen prepares the teen to handle peer pressure positively.

While teens are strongly influenced by what is around them, ultimately the decision to act or not is up to them as individuals.

There is no fixed strategy to approach peer pressure but handling it takes some maturity.

Be your own self – Even if your friends feel it is okay, are you really comfortable.

Learn to say, “No”. You do not have to say yes to everything others are saying yes to.  Let people accept you for who you are.

Consult a top Psychologist

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References

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  • Peer pressure and influence: teenagers — raising children — Accessed on April 20, 2016 http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/peer_pressure_teenagers.html
  • Peer Pressure: Its Influence on Teens and Decision Making — headsup—Accessed on April 20, 2016 http://headsup.scholastic.com/students/peer-pressure-its-influence-on-teens-and-decision-making
  • Peer Pressure – kidshealth — Accessed on April 21,2016  http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/peer-pressure.html

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