Adolescent Peer Pressure Essay

1279 words - 5 pages

Between the ages of twelve and nineteen is a period in a teenager's life that determines what kind of adult he or she will become. This period of adolescence, also known as the "formative years", is the subject of much study and research to determine why adolescents are vulnerable to the phenomenon called peer pressure. The disturbing number of incidents of teenage drug use, teenage pregnancy and teenage suicide is most assuredly the reason that fuels the need for such research. Perhaps it is because as children they are taught the importance of having and maintaining friends. Or perhaps they don't feel that they can talk to their parents or teachers when problems arise. Or maybe they simply want to rebel against the pressures placed on them as youths. Because adolescents spend their time either at home or in school, it is within these confines that the answers to adolescents' behaviour lay. In other words, family and school can sometimes cause adolescents to give in to peer pressure because of an overemphasis on the importance of social adjustment, a lack of interest or communication on the part of the parents and teachers, and the unrealistic expectations that these entities create.Although the purpose of attending school is to receive an education, it also provides children with a medium through which they can develop relationships with other children that eventually turn into friendships. The ability to form friendships can be traced back to even the pre-school years and its importance henceforth emphasized by eager parents who want their children to fit in at school. Interactions with friends or other peers are crucial for the development of a mature morality. Most would agree that social interaction is important but sometimes parents are guilty of over-emphasizing this importance. Let's recall the numerous birthday parties where every child in the neighbourhood was invited to come regardless of whether or not they were actual friends. This desire to socialise children also occurs in the classroom at school. The classroom setting represents not only an educational arena but a powerful social context in which the psychological adjustment of children and adolescents can be affected. Teachers tend to promote social interaction by assigning exercises that require working in pairs or groups. Furthermore, when a teacher spots a child playing alone, they will encourage him or her to join the other children while overlooking the possibility that the child might have preferred to be alone. Thus, from an early age, children are taught to value the importance of social interaction and this value stays with them as they move into the adolescent years. The result is that adolescents come to value their friendships deeply and in some cases more so than their relationships with family members. This accounts for the adolescent not being able to refuse their friends for fear of losing the bonds that they have formed and is thus a cause of their greater...

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