October 28, 2012
Causes and Effects of Peer Pressure
Peer pressure has a much greater effect on adolescent teens than any other factor. Think about it, teens spend more of their waking hours with peers than family members. The interaction is direct, and much more powerful than the influence of teachers and other authority figures. Peer pressure tends to have more of an effect on children with low self-esteem. If a child feels compelled to fit in, the teen may do things that go against his/her beliefs simply to be part of the group. Peer pressure can lead to experimentation with drugs and alcohol, sex, skipping school, and various high risk behaviors. If there is a sudden change in child’s appearance, clothing, and attitude, especially if accompanied by secretive behavior, he or she may be succumbing to the influences of peers. Especially if there is a sudden change in the friends who make up their core peer group. An unexplained change in the type of friends the child associates with would indicate that the child is vulnerable to new influences that may not be positive. How can parents who spend far less time with their children than do their peers, have an influence on their teens? Parents need to set clear expectations for behavior, establish rules about communicating where and with whom their teenagers are spending their time, and should pre-set consequences for lying about activities or where they are going. By communicating expectations, the adolescent cannot claim they “did not know” what is expected of them. One of the most difficult issues can be when a teen decides to hang out with the “wrong crowd”. Parents often find it is difficult to control such behavior. They will lament that when they forbid their teen. Often by simply setting the rules about communicating their whereabouts, the effects of any peer group can be limited. However, if a particular peer group is negatively impacting the child, it is important to deal with the reasons the teen is being influenced in this direction. He or she may have problems with self-esteem or self-confidence and feel it is necessary to fit in any way possible, even if it means fitting in with a negative peer group. Parents will not change the teen’s attitude by forbidding access to these peers. They can only change the attitude by dealing with the primary issues that cause it in the first place. An adolescent is drawn to a particular group because it “feeds” them in some way. If they are choosing the wrong group there is a fundamental core issue that needs to be addressed therapeutically before any significant change can occur. Drinking is one of the most common for teens. This is because teens see drinking as a way to get away from the real world. The stresses they are under are less overwhelming when they are drunk. Drinking is a very addictive behavior that not only affects the person drinking, but also the people they are around. Drinking is a major cause of teen accidents, violence and loss of interest in activities. Drinking also has several negative health effects. These are liver damage and failure, incoherent behaviors, mental and emotional damage. Smoking is a very widespread peer pressure. The effects of smoking are a lifelong habit that is very damaging to health. However, this is one of the main ways a teen starts to feel like an adult. They do not realize that the effects they are taking on with each cigarette are much more than just seeming more like an adult. Drugs is another widely used vice started by peer pressure. Drugs are also alluring to teens because it helps them relax. There are several different options of drugs that have different effects both short term and long term. There is pot that relaxes, but however can cause weight gain. There are harsher drugs like cocaine, crystal meth etc. that causes teens to act more excited. However these drugs have very bad effects on the body. For example:...