For teenagers, it can seem very important to "fit in."
Teens are very concerned about their images, and
they are worried about what others think about them.
As a result, peer pressure is very influential in many
teens' lives. Peer pressure is basically the influence
that people your age have on you. For teenagers, it is
the influence that other teens have on their behavior,
dress, attitude and practices. Often, teenagers do
what others are doing so that they can fit in - or at
least not stand out. Teens like to do what their
friends are doing, and be accepted. This peer
pressure, though, can lead to undesirable behaviors.
Statistics on peer pressure
There are some startling statistics about peer
pressure, and what teenagers feel pressured to do.
Here are some statistics about peer pressure:
The Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base reports that right around 30% of teens are offered
drugs in middle school and high school.
According to the National Household Survey on Drug
Use and Health from the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, 74.3% of high school students
have tried alcohol.
3.1 million teenagers smoke, according to the
American Lung Association.
The Kaiser Foundation reports that about 50% of
teenagers feel pressured with regard to sex in
You can see that the pressure is on to engage in
behaviors that may not be healthy, physically or
emotionally, for your teenager. It is vitally important
that you help your teenager develop the self
confidence to withstand peer pressure, and make
his or her own decisions.
How parents can combat peer pressure
There is always going to be a certain amount of
bowing to peer pressure. Teens naturally want to
project the "right" image. However, you can reduce
the influence that peer pressure has on your
teenagers by making the following moves:
1- Open lines of communication: Teenagers
are afraid to come to those who are
judgmental or who will subject them to
2- Have clear expectations: Start when your
children are young to have clear
expectations or their behavior.
3- Know their friends.
4- Be involved: Show your teen that you care.
5- Talk about the issues.
6- Pick your battles: Understand that some
things are less important than others.
In the end, you need to encourage your teen to
choose good riends who will be supportive of them.
And you need to help your teenagers withstand peer
pressure by providing a safe support system.