Every teen needs to belong or feel recognized by his or her own age group. Teens feel they need to conform to peer group norms and values. This is a normal behavior because teens want to be with people of their own age. At the onset of adolescence, children start to spend a lot of their time with friends than their family. The risk is that they are more susceptible to the influence of their peers. It is an accepted fact that peers can have a strong influence whether positively or negatively. During teenage years young people are more inclined to believe and accept their peers’ feelings and thoughts. It is more likely that they would fall victim to peer pressure.
Peer pressure is feeling or being forced into a definite way of living, studying, dressing, communicating, mingling with other people, among others. Peer pressure is a powerful energy emanating from this social class referred to as a peer group. Teen peer pressure is more than just a phase of life that teens normally go through. During adolescence young people try to find their own identity and try to be more independent. They enjoy experimenting on various activities which may lead to drug addiction, early pregnancy, alcoholism, and some other detrimental conditions.
Fear of peer pressure is very common among parents. As parents they have invested a lot of time and money for their teens hoping that they will make good and will be their parents’ pride. Parents really have a tremendous influence over their teens and can do a lot to counter the negative effects of peer pressure to them. As a parent it is your moral obligation to protect your teens from negative influences in their environment.
When you feel and observe that your teen is giving into negative peer pressure take note of certain actions that you may take. Open and good communication can be the key to establishing closer relations between you and your teens. Make them feel that they are loved by the family and that they are valued. Show them that you are interested in what they have to say. Monitor their activities without necessarily controlling them. Nurture self esteem, this way their interest in socializing with friends will be developed. Avoid criticizing your teen and his friends. Encourage your teen to join community groups and participate in social projects.
Negative effects of peer pressure can easily be overcome and controlled if the necessary actions by the parents, guardians, and other concerned persons will be taken the soonest.