As we all already know that adolescence is the developmental stage between childhood and adulthood, generally referring to a period ranging from age 11 and 19. Adolescence has many psychological and social stages, as well as biological. Because it is filled with constant changes and uncertainty, the risks of losing the sight of the right path is quite high. Let me talk about how and who affects them.
As children grow, develop, and move into early adolescence, involvement with one's peers increases. In order to be included in a group of friends they are easily swayed to do something wrong.
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They are faced with decisions to try new things, such as drugs, changing fashion, slang words, alcohol, sex etc. The use of drugs by teenagers is the result of a combination of factors such as peer pressure, curiosity, and availability (Cotterell, 135). Peers are the ones who most frequently initiate one another into drug use.
Family members are the most important source of peer pressure. I believe family is the most influential foundation for several reasons. For one, peer pressure is encountered first at home. The mother and father play the biggest role in our lives because they teach their children right from wrong.
For example, as a child my parents would always warn me about a girl whom I hung out with and lived in my neighborhood. They advised me a million times to not associate with her because they thought she was “bad news.”
Similarly, religious institutions are another great source of influence. The young adults that participate in religious institutions, come from families which are not into drugs, alcohol, violence, or any sort of crime. So the effects these religious institutions have are great on young people in society.
Religious adolescents can encourage one another to be successful in school, sports, and other activities. In my own past experiences when growing up, the people I have chosen as friends weren’t always the coolest, or craziest, but they were always good for their word. These types of friends are valuable for positive peer pressure and are important to keep.
Friends, as it is seen, are a major source of peer pressure that one encounters when growing up. I believe from past experiences, friends have the strongest influence on us. The effects from our friends can sometimes be really good or truly bad.
If one friend brings the bottle to the hang out and tells another teen to try it because it is “so cool,” he or she will experiment with it not knowing what effects it can lead to. One of the reasons that our society finds it difficult to handle teen’s drug use is because adolescent culture does not consist of “one uniform, homogeneous group.” (Miller, 107).
Teens and children are also having sex at a young age because most of their friends may be doing the same thing. They want to fit in and be part of the “in-crowd” so they will not follow what they feel is right and so they will take part in sexual behavior in order to be “cool.”
Sex is just one issue that adolescents are faced with. Consumption of alcohol is another factor that can lead to bad decisions based on the friendships that they make.
Choosing the friends one hangs out with can sometimes be difficult. Even though we know what is right from wrong we still have the tendency to do the wrong thing.
Even though there are a lot of negative effects from friend’s influences, there are just as many positive effects too. I believe the right friends can push one to doing the right things such as belonging to a soccer team or joining the band club.
In conclusion, peer pressure is always surrounding us and affecting us. Our friends, family members, and religious institutions are the main sources in which peer pressure comes from.
With the proper guidance and right choice of friends, one will not have any trouble with life’s difficult decisions, and will hopefully do the right thing when faced with difficult problems. Adolescence is a powerful time in one's life with an array of chances to ruin a bright future, so I guess forewarned is forearmed.
Cotterell, John. Social Networks and Social Influences in Adolescence. New York: Thomson. 1996.
Miller, Michelle, Alberts, Jess, Hecht, Jess, and Robert Krizek. Adolescent Relationships and Drug Use. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 2000.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism. Retrieved from http://www.niaaa.nih.gov
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