Archive for 'Peer Pressure'

Dec 24

As we all know, peers/friends are probably the most important thing in a teen’s life.  This can be a particular conundrum depending on who the friends are, of course.  We know that along with attitudes, values, and beliefs, negative peer associations are a very strong risk factor for anti-social behavior.  We also know peers have a dramatic affect on attitudes, values and beliefs.

Much of an adolescent’s self-image, “beliefs” and “attitudes”, are in synch with and shaped by their peers – good, bad or ugly.  For most adolescents for example, it would be unthinkable to act in ways that were inconsistent with the norms of their peer group.

For approval, sometimes the most shocking acts are the best to perform, even if they totally are against their values.  For acceptance, the desire for conformity and loyalty to peers often outweigh consequences, values, and even family loyalty.  Paradoxically, despite often blind adherence to the peer group’s norms, teens will often externalize the bad decision-making on the people they hang out with.  For teens, choice of peer group is crucial to doing the responsible thing and the irresponsible thing.

For parents, it is crucial to be aware of the choices their teen is making regarding friendships.  Parents should be as informed as possible about their teen’s friends, their parents, and have as much personal contact information as possible.  Parents must not apologize for being vigilant; it is a riskier world out there than ever before.  Keep your kids close and don’t abandon them to their peer group.

Dec 07

“Whoever I decide to be depends on who I am with.”
Pet Shop Boys

“Peer pressure” is defined as the ability of adolescents to impact the behaviors, feelings, and thoughts of one another. This happens because of the intense need for a feeling of belonging and acceptance adolescents have and their willingness to conform to peer expectations. Adolescents can have either a negative or a positive influence on one another.

“Negative pressure” means to convince someone to go along with negative or illegal activities. It also means to do things that are negative in order to be accepted by others.

“Positive pressure” means to influence someone to change or grow by role modeling or by having expectations of them.

“Tattling” means to tell on someone for your own personal gain. An example would be to “bust” someone for breaking a rule as revenge for something else.

“Responsible concern” means to confront someone to benefit them. This means putting aside your own feelings or discomfort in order to meet someone else’s needs. An example would be to not condone an act by someone which is harmful to them or others.