Friends Are the Biggest Influences

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Why A Young Person’s Friends Are Their Biggest Influences
People often wonder what motivates young people to act the way they act. Why do they drink and do drugs, stay out after curfew, and become the people they are? In fact, statistics show that 30.2% of young adults are given, offered, or sold drugs in high school or middle school (“Love to Know Teens”). Research also shows that teens have their first drink or smoke with or because of their friends. Their friends are their motivation to try these new things and to be “cool.” As unhealthy as it can be, the truth is, the biggest influence in a young persons life is his or her friends.

Teenagers often look to their friends to help them make tough decisions. This usually results in peer pressure or doing things they do not really want to do. When all their friends are doing it, why shouldn’t they? In fact, studies show that 22% of young adults claimed they tried drugs because of peer pressure (“Teacher Net”). Eventually, peer pressure usually causes young people to try drugs and get into drinking, which is not safe and leads them in all the wrong directions, as well as going against their parents’ wishes. Initially, friends encourage teens to go behind their parents’ backs and break the rules. It’s all just “fun”, right? However, most young people do not realize how wrong it actually is, and some just do not care because they may not have the best motivation at home to follow the rules. According to Michael Windle, author of Psychology Press, “Peer substance use also predicted coping motives for drinking by the target adolescent, implicating possible role modeling or imitation for drinking under stressful conditions and a preference for avoidance coping strategies.” Usually, when things are not good at home, teens turn to their friends to feel comfort, but this can just cause trouble. They can get encouraged to run away or do drugs to feel better.

Frequently, young people do things to impress their friends,...
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