Peer pressure has a much greater effect on adolescent teens than any other factor. Think about it your teen spends more of his/her 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 you notice a sudden change in your child?s appearance, clothing, and attitude, especially if accompanied by secretive behavior, he or she may be succumbing to the influences of peers. You should especially be alert to sudden changes in the friends who make up their core peer group. An unexplained change in the type of friends your child associates with would indicate that your 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 your expectations, your adolescent cannot claim they ?did not know? you would be upset.
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, you will limit the effects of any peer group. However, if you really believe that a particular peer group is negatively impacting your child, it is important to deal with the reasons your 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.
There are many effects that peer pressure has on teens. Shop lifting, this negative peer pressure is one that will cause your teen not only to break the law, but also to have a possible juvenile record. Shoplifting is often times something that becomes an addiction for the thrill of not getting caught. So the behavior is often times continued through to adulthood, which is a crime that is punishable by a jail sentence and an adult criminal record.
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. It also smells horrible. 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. Many adults do not smoke.
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 you and makes you gain weight