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Peers Once children become teenagers they develop independence and begin experimenting in drugs, sex, and alcohol.

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Introduction

Peers Once children become teenagers they develop independence and begin experimenting in drugs, sex, and alcohol. Society and most parents instill upon their children that underage drinking, sex and drug use are wrong but peer influence can easily sabotage many teenagers. As stated in Prevention Alert (1999), Peer influence is most strongly felt in episodes of heavy drinking. As teenagers spend more time with friends outside of the school environment they are put in situations where their peers are consuming alcohol. Teenagers will often sleep over at each others houses and their respective parents will have no control over the situation or know what their child is doing. Often teenagers will claim they are spending the night at a trusted friend's house while they are really staying at a party. Another study, conducted by Mayer, Foster, Murray, & Wagenaar, 1998, at the University of Minnesota, found that teenage drinkers were more likely to participate in binge drinking episodes when with peers, in large groups of underage persons, and away from home. ...read more.

Middle

With so many of their peers drinking it is easy to see how teenagers are influenced by stories in school to parties with friends. Drinking often will lead to risky behaviors like unprotected sex. Starting at an early age, school and parents will instill in their children that they should wait to have sex. Waiting to have sex is a nice idea, teenagers say, but they hardly believe anyone does it (Meckler, 2003). As children turn into teenagers gradually they will hear stories from their friends and peers as they begin to have sexual experiences. Boys in particular actively talk about their sex lives and might even feel pressured to make up stories or actively seek sex. The Kaiser survey found that boys face particular pressure to have sex often from male friends (Meckler, 2003). Nobody wants to be the last of their peer group to have sex or be liked by the opposite sex. ...read more.

Conclusion

These same teenagers are clearly armed with the knowledge that drinking and drug use can lead to unprotected sex and promiscuous behavior. They have been taught in school about the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases but they will use the alcohol or drugs as an excuse for themselves. Before independence as a teenager, children's time with peers was often structured. Once teenagers develop independence and the ability to drive vehicles they are able to gain more unstructured time with peers who are also independent. All this time with peers leads to teenagers first drinking experience, first sexual experience and illegal drug use. All their prior knowledge and parents upbringing is no match for peer pressure when it comes to making these important choices. The childhood time parents spent with their children is easily documented but the time teenagers spend with their peers is largely undocumented and harder to follow. Further research should be done on how teens are affected in situations where they are away from their parents, surrounded by peers and challenged to participate in underage drinking, drug use or sexual activity. ...read more.

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