Peer pressure vs Parental influence: Who is the winner?

Normally, parents try to do their best while bringing up their child – nurturing them with love, teaching them right from wrong and hoping the best for their future. However, their time spent on them has little effect on their long-term development, particularly when they leave their nest to explore the temptations of the world. This is the time when parents come to know if their upbringing has stood the test of time.

Most of the time the need to be accepted by the ‘in’ crowd at school puts a lot of pressure on a child, and they end up giving in to their peers rather than sticking to the lessons they've learnt at home. In such situations peer pressure wins over the parents’ influence on teenagers. Famous American psychologist, Judith Rich Harris says, a child who is raised in a traditional, happy family with adequate attention and care is as likely to go astray as the one brought up in a broken home; given their company of friends and peers at school. Parents' influence on teenagers doesn't always last in the face of peer pressure. 

Personality clash 

No two individuals are similar in habits and behavior; not even identical twins. If you have more than one kid, you can observe how different their behavioral patterns are; despite living under same roof, raised by same parents, given same attention and love. These unique patterns identify how receptive your teen is towards activities admonished by you.

Forbidden fruit 

It sounds quite biblical, but teenagers have the tendency to gravitate towards activities that parents dislike and disapprove of. The influence of peer pressure on teenagers is tremendous. Most of the times it’s not the teen’s intention to annoy their parents; they're doing the forbidden because their peers are doing it. The change in your daughter’s clothing style is to impress her girlfriends, to become part of the popular crowd. Your son is smoking because that’s what his friends find cool.

Sense of identity & belongingness 

Outside their homes, teenagers look for security, which drives them to form alliances with a particular group of peers. By doing so teens adopt their way of clothing, speech, habits to form an identity of their own. That’s okay as long as they are listening to music or using language which the parents do not approve of. However, the situation might get worse if under peer pressure they get involved in illegal activities; like teenage drinking, use of drugs and weapon etc.

Popular culture

Music, Hollywood movies, celebrity culture and internet directly influence the teen to opt for activities that defy parental authority. Use of marijuana is an example where teens try to “play safe” while copying their favorite celebrity.

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