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Adolescence And Peer Pressure.

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Adolescence And Peer Pressure As children grow, develop, and move into early adolescence, involvement with one's peers and the attraction of peer identification increases. As pre-adolescents begin rapid physical, emotional and social changes, they begin to question adult standards and the need for parental guidance. They find it reassuring to turn for advice to friends who understand and sympathize - friends who are in the same position themselves. By "trying on" new values and testing their ideas with their peers, there is with less fear of being ridiculed or "shot down". Yet, mention the word "peer pressure" and many adults cringe because the words are laden with negative connotations. The idea that someone, or something, lures our children into learning dangerous and destructive behaviour by discarding all parental behaviours and values scares adults. The fact is, peer pressure can be positive. It keeps youth participating in religious activities, going to youth meetings and playing on sports teams, even when they are not leaders. It keeps adults going to religious services, serving on community committees and supporting worthwhile causes. The peer group is a source of affection, sympathy and understanding; a place for experimentation; and a supportive setting for achieving the two primary developmental tasks of adolescence. These are: (1) identity - finding the answer to the question "Who Am I?" and (2) autonomy - discovering that self as separate and independent from parents. ...read more.


Youth gangs, commonly associated with inner-city neighbourhoods, are becoming a recognizable peer group among youth in smaller cities, suburbs, and even rural areas. Gangs are particularly visible in communities with a significant portion of economically disadvantaged families and when the parent is confliction, distant or unavailable. Formal dating patterns of two generations ago have been replaced with informal socializing patterns in mixed-sex groups. This may encourage casual sexual relationships that heighten the risk of exposure to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. As high schools become more culturally diverse environments, ethnicity is replacing individual abilities or interests as the basis for defining peer "crowds." Crowds can be an important source of ethnic identity, but also the centre of racial and ethnic tension in schools. There has been an increase in part-time employment among youth, but it has had little impact on peer relations. To find time for work, teenagers drop extracurricular activities, reduce time spent on homework, and withdraw from family interactions, but they "protect" time spent with friends. Adolescents and the Community All of these factors may or may not fit a particular community, school or family. However, there is a tendency to deny some of these changes that are taking place. Sometimes communities think it is the family's total responsibility to monitor the negative effects of peer relationships over which they have little control. It is critically important that communities provide a safe, supportive, nurturing environment for adolescents as they grow up. ...read more.


Place sensible restraints on part-time teenage employment. This could ease adolescents' compliance with peer pressures to "buy" acceptance into a peer group (i.e., to have enough money for the "right" clothes, the "right" shoes, the "right CDs, etc.). Increases in part-time employment among youth have had little impact on the time they spend with peers. Support parent education programs for families with teenagers. Parents need to be better informed about the dynamics of adolescent peer groups and the demands and expectations teenagers face in peer relationships. Establish intervention programs for preadolescents with low social skills or aggressive tendencies. Addressing these problems before adolescence will decrease the chances of these youth joining anti-social peer groups that will reinforce their problem behaviours. Summary During adolescence, peers play a large part in a young person's life and typically replace family as the centre of a teen's social and leisure activities. But teenagers have various peer relationships, and they interact with many peer groups. Often "peer cultures" have very different values and norms. Thus, the adult perception of peers as a "united front of dangerous influence" is inaccurate. More often than not, peers reinforce family values, but they have the potential to encourage problem behaviours as well. Although the negative influence of peers is over-emphasized, more can be done to help teenagers experience the family and the peer group as mutually constructive environments. To accomplish this, families, communities, churches, schools and other youth groups must work together because "it takes a whole village to raise a child." Adolescent Psychology By Ashley Powell 28/04/2007 ...read more.

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