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You may have noticed your youngster dressing up in an uncharacteristic way, behaving in an unusual way, or developing certain interests all of a sudden. What you’re basically seeing is your teen giving in to the influence of their peers, or in other words, peer pressure.
Although peer pressure can affect people of all ages, teens are generally most susceptible to it. A lot of factors play a part in raising their vulnerability to this phenomenon, but for now, we’re just going to be focusing on three of the biggest underlying causes.
While discussing peer pressure, it’s a common mistake to jump straight to the symptoms while completing ignoring the somewhat low-profile root causes. Domestic problems are one such example. A lot of teens find themselves emotionally overwhelmed due to their family problems that they start searching elsewhere for solace. Divorced parents, frequent shouting matches at home, dad’s addiction to alcohol, neglect from parents, all these things have a potential to turn a teen into an emotional wreck and make them desperate to take a break from their own reality. Following in the footsteps of someone who’ seemingly happier and relaxed becomes a tempting escape, which is precisely the route they take.
Self-esteem is the backbone of confidence. If a teen lacks the former, they’re bound to find themselves short of the latter. If they don’t think too highly of themselves because of being frequently subjected to a tirade of insults and abuse, and are made to belief that they’re worthless, then that is exactly how they eventually start perceiving themselves. They start seeking a new and better identity for themselves to give themselves a chance of making an impressive impression on people. Their pursuit of this new social identity causes them to become influenced by peer pressure as it promises to give their social life an uplift and fill them with confidence.
Perhaps one of the biggest factors behind peer pressure’s strong influence is a teen’s desperation to feel like they belong. The fear that nobody would want to be friends with them or talk to them constantly plays on their mind, making them paranoid. Their negative thinking begins to consume them, gradually disconnecting them from the reality and pushing them into a state of perpetual stress. To break free of the stress and make themselves socially relevant or at least noticeable, they start doing what they see their more popular peers doing without taking the potential risks and consequences into account. They’re willing to do anything and to fit in and maintain a social presence. Be young and somewhat naïve, they’re often unaware of the full implications of their actions and decision.