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What is Peer Pressure In Teenagers, and How to Handle It?

Parents and teachers should be aware of peer pressure in teens and how to assist vulnerable young adults in dealing with it, as they are the only reliable source of power to do so. Please continue reading if you are dealing with such a problem with a teenager (or more).

What is Peer Pressure In Teens?

Peer pressure in teens is the phenomenon encompassing the sway peers exert over each other's attitudes, beliefs, and actions. It can manifest through various avenues, including coaxing friends into partaking in risky activities, adhering to group standards, or altering one's viewpoints to harmonize with their peers. 

In the context of adolescence, peer pressure can be extreme, as many young people are constantly seeking to establish their identities and gain social acceptance.

To overcome the peer pressure do have positive effects, such as encouraging healthy behaviours or fostering a sense of community, its adverse effects must be recognised by parents and teachers, who are responsible for guiding young adults to improve.

Why Teenagers Are Vulnerable to Peer Pressure?

There are several reasons, from scientific to social, that show why teenagers are vulnerable to peer pressure.

Developmental Changes In The Teenage Brain

The prefrontal cortex in the brain, which is responsible for decision-making and impulse control, still develops during adolescence. This means that teenagers are more likely to engage in risky behaviours because they do not fully understand the consequences of their actions.

A Desire For Social Acceptance

As numerous teen and coming-of-age films and television shows have demonstrated, youth is a time when people seek to establish their identities and gain social status. Thus, they may be more likely to conform to social norms and engage in popular or socially accepted behaviours.

why teenagers are vulnerable to peer pressure

Peer pressure can be seen the most in a crowded learning environment

Lack of Self-confidence

Many young people look to their peers for validation and support when they experience self-doubt and insecurity during adolescence. This act can make them willing to engage in behaviours they would not otherwise engage in to gain social acceptance.

The Effects of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure on teenagers can, as previously mentioned, have both positive and negative effects, with the latter being more worrisome.

On the plus side, peer pressure can sometimes encourage healthy behaviours, such as exercising, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and helping young people develop a sense of belonging and community.

However, the negative effects of peer pressure outweigh any benefits they may provide. The following are the most common consequences of peer pressure:

Sudden Changes in Behaviours and Attitudes

With the involvement of peer pressure, lots of teenagers can develop unhealthy habits to fit in with a group of friends. They may even go as far as making compromises and conforming to those of their peers just to feel connected and be a part of their community.

Impact On Mental and Physical Health

Stress, anxiety, or depression may occur in the mental health of teenagers who feel pressured to conform to social norms. Furthermore, they might not have time to physically unwind as a result of their excessive participation in a group of peers.

Impact On Academic Performance

Peer pressure can also affect academic performance, as young people who prioritise social acceptance over academic achievement may struggle to keep up with their studies.

How Parents and Teachers Can Help Reduce Peer Pressure In Teens?

When a young and vulnerable teenager is subjected to the negative effects of peer pressure, parents and teachers who have been through their adolescent years and can empathise must be on their side for the better.

how parents and teachers can help reduce peer pressure in teens

Parents at home and teachers at school must both aid children with peer pressure

Here are some suggestions for how concerned parents and teachers can help teenagers overcome the detrimental effects of peer pressure and regain self-esteem and confidence:

Open Communication

To encourage open communication, parents and teachers can provide a safe environment for teenagers to discuss their experiences, concerns, or favourite topics. It is critical to actively listen to them without passing judgement.

Parents and teachers can help adolescents who feel isolated and misunderstood feel heard and supported by doing so. As a result, they may learn constructive coping mechanisms for overcoming adolescent pressures and forging stronger bonds with adults.

Cultivating A Culture of Care

Cultivating a culture of care involves creating a supportive environment that prioritises empathy, respect, and kindness towards others.

To develop such a caring culture, parents and teachers can:

  • Encourage students to participate in activities with others that are in line with their passions and interests so that they are more likely to develop meaningful relationships based on shared values than on superficial factors like popularity;
  • Give students a chance to participate in volunteer work and service projects that will benefit their community and foster a sense of responsibility and empathy towards others;
  • Provide resources for students experiencing mental health issues or other personal challenges, such as access to counselling services, peer support groups, and other forms of emotional support.

Teenagers are less likely to engage in risky behaviours to win the approval of their peers when they feel like they are part of a community that cares about their well-being.

Encouraging and Nurturing Individuality

Many teenagers today struggle to find a group of friends to feel like they belong. As a result, they frequently experience pressure to live up to their peers' expectations and blend in with a group.

However, if parents and teachers support an environment that values individuality, teenagers might feel more at ease expressing themselves and making decisions based on their preferences and values.

To achieve this, parents can let their children explore who they are while respecting and appreciating their unique interests, abilities, and viewpoints. Teachers can give students chances to express themselves creatively in the classroom by embracing and promoting their variety of skills and talents.

Parents and teachers must avoid placing their expectations on teenagers or comparing them to their peers. The emphasis should be on fostering in teenagers a strong sense of self and the self-assurance to make decisions consistent with their values and objectives.

Conclusion

Peer pressure is a common phenomenon that can lead to many setbacks in a teenager's life. By understanding peer pressure in teens and ways to solve this issue with them, parents and teachers can be a helping hand that pulls young adults from self-doubt and losing their sense of individuality.

It is critical to assist teenagers with this problem at school, where peers interact frequently. As a result, parents should select a healthy and positive learning environment where students can grow together optimistically, such as at UNIS Hanoi.

Our diverse co-curricular programme for students in grades 6–12 aims to inspire them to become lifelong learners and responsible world citizens, and it has yielded excellent results since its inception. Furthermore, at UNIS Hanoi, the definition of well-being is very broad, with our Student Success Teams and Student Intervention Teams ready at any moment to assist students with their emotional issues.

Admission for 2023–2024 is open now, with limited spaces across all levels. Secure a spot for your child today!