Sunday, March 18, 2012

Peer Pressure and Adolescence

Unfortunately peer pressure is a common occurrence among adolescence aged kids today. Everywhere you turn, be it a news channel, social media or the paper, it seems there is almost always a story about peer pressure affecting an individual and their family. Peer pressure can come from a variety of sources for adolescents, be it wanting to fit in, pressure to conform to a group (like “brains”, “jocks”, “cool kids”), wanting to be part of a clique, crowd norms, etc. Another major source of peer pressure for adolescents is the media and the insane amount of attention they give to celebrities. This can pressure an adolescent to conform to what is “popular” at any given time. The biggest form of peer pressure put on adolescents, especially girls, is the idea that being thin and stick-like is the new definition for pretty. This idea is slowly falling out of the mainstream however, thanks to campaigns like Dove’s Real Beauty. Peer pressure is not limited or unique to certain crowds and the media however. Pressure can also come from bullies and that pressure isn’t limited to the school environment anymore like it was in the past. Bullies are now pressuring their targets through several different avenues in addition to school hours.  Some examples are through cell phone messages and through social media sites such as Facebook. Adolescents are no longer able to escape the pressure and taunting of bullies, unlike in the past where it never left the school grounds. Currently, laws are being introduced and passed to prevent and protect children from bullies and peer pressure, but change starts on the individual and family level. If someone is a target of peer pressure, get a referral to a counselor or talk to another trusted adult about what is going on. Parents should talk with their children often and have an open line of communication on all topics. Remember, change starts with one person. Society has the power to decrease, or even eliminate, the effects of peer pressure on today’s adolescents and youth. 

-Katie Meehan


  1. You're right, it is unreal how prominent peer pressure is throughout our society. Yes, technology is great in many different aspects, but it has also promoted new alternatives to peer pressure..which is obviously not good. I like the part about having an open line of communication with their parents. Being able to talk to your parents open and freely can be beneficial in so many different aspects of life.
    April Wiland

  2. Nkechi Anayanwu
    Peer pressure can definitely encourage a teenage child to do things he/she would not do alone. These things can either be positive or negative. For example, i a teenage child hangs out with religous agemates who likes to go on camping, evangelize, volunteer time for community projects etc would be pressured to do the same (making it a positive influnce). However, a child who hangs out with 'kool kids on the block' would want to get the same material things that the 'kool kids' have so that he/she can fit in. some of these teenagers would do anything possible like stealing, lying etc which makes peer pressure negative. so peer pressure depends on the kind of friends the teenager hangs out with.

  3. I substitute taught last year at all levels of school. I witnessed a lot of peer pressure from kids trying to be "cool". It was hard to watch sometimes, but I know it's also a rite of passage that kids sometimes need to experience in order to learn certain lessons.
    -Jennifer Hancock

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  5. Peer pressure,bullies,and glad those days are over! But as I am now raising my own daughter those things start to worry me more and more. I think that communication is important b/t parents and children as you have stated. But I think that with the changing times we need to address to our children what they say to others can have a huge impact on them. Children need to start learning the power of words! Samie McCullough