Peer Pressure and Teens

By: Firoj Khan


Peer pressure is one thing that all teens have in common. You can't escape it. It is everywhere. Whether it is pressure to conform to a group norm or pressure to act, peer pressure is something everybody has to deal with at some time in his or her life.

Children, especially during adolescence, begin to spend a lot more time with their friends, and less time with their family. This makes them more susceptible to the influences of their peers. It is important to remember that teenage friends can have a positive influence on your children, you should therefore help them find friends that have similar interests and views as those you are trying to develop in your children, including doing well in school, having respect for others and avoiding drug use, smoking and drinking, etc.

How successfully you handle peer pressure depends a great deal on how you feel about yourself and your place in the world. There are certain "risk factors" for peer pressure, personality traits that make you more prone to give in to peer pressure.

Parents of teens typically talk about peer pressure a lot. They sometimes blame peer pressure when teens make poor choices. But, peer pressure is often misunderstood in a number of ways.

Peer Pressure is two types; such as positive and negative peer pressure.

Peer pressure isn't always negative. Peers may pressure others into negative behaviors or away from positive behaviors, but can push in positive directions as well. Not all teens react to peer pressure in the same way. Gender and age are factors. For example, boys are more susceptible than girls to peer pressure, particularly in risk situations. Younger teens are more easily influenced than older teens, with peer pressure peaking in about eighth or ninth grade. Individual characteristics such as confidence level, personality and degree of maturity make a difference. Peer pressure varies according to the situation: being with one close friend, in the small clique of friends, or seeing what the larger peer group is doing in school.

Parents on longer-term issues, including college and vocational choices, political, moral and religious concerns, influence teens. That influence can lead to parents and teens having similar views, with variations based on peers and changing social opinion.

The need for acceptance, approval, and belonging is vital during the teen years. Teens who feel isolated or rejected by their peers —or in their family — are more likely to engage in risky behaviors in order to fit in with a group. In such situations, peer pressure can impair good judgment and fuel risk-taking behavior, drawing a teen away from the family and positive influences and luring into dangerous activities.

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