Influence of peer group on the behavior of Adolescents
Before going further let’s interpret the terms in the title -
- Adolescents - Children (mostly from the age group of 10-19 according to WHO) in the adolescent age.
- Adolescence - It is a stage of many physical and psychological changes that generally occurs during the period from puberty to adulthood.
- Peer Group - A group of people of approximately the same age, status, and interest
Peer pressure is a way to describe how teenagers' behavior is shaped by the influence of their group of friends. Peer influence is something which you do without your consent just to get accepted in that particular set of groups. The outcome of such influence could be both positive and negative depending upon the habits and culture of the chosen group. When a child reaches adolescentage, he/she wants to spend more and more time with their peer group as they need someone to understand them emotionally.
With the nagging from the parents' part, they don't find themselves secure enough to share their emotions, so they become more dependent on their friends for fulfilling emotional needs. Thus, they find their peer group to be more reliable and trustworthy.
Peer influence may result in children choosing the same type of dresses, music, hairstyle, habits, and use of language or choice of words.
Too much influence of the peers may lead the adolescent to do what the peers think is right and hence suppressing his or her own will or desire like some adolescents may not like smoking and drinking or going to parties every weekend but they are forced to involve themselves in such behavior due to the peer pressure.
How to manage peer influence:
● By proper communication with your child.
● Not to use an authoritative tone.
● Be gentle with their emotions.
● Share your time with them.
● Inculcate a new hobby and work on it together.
● Praise your child and encourage them for every little task they do.
● Build their Self-esteem.
If you are worried your child's friends are a negative influence, so it's important to be patient rather than being aggressive and curtailing them from their peer group. If your child comes to know you don't approve of his/her friend circle, he would be more interested to join them. So, the need of the hour is to talk and listen without judging and be more empathetic to your child. Empathy works miraculously in handling teenagers. If your child is happy and content within, there is less chance that they get influenced by any peer group, and do remember parents' influence is the biggest factor in shaping a child's values and long-term choices.