It has been shown that teenagers are much more likely to try alcohol, drugs and smoking in comparison to the rest of society…but why is this? Perhaps they want to experiment with their new-found freedom; perhaps they want to take a break from the stress of their exams…or perhaps they’re just trying to fit in with their friends?
Peer pressure is something which everyone has had to deal with at some point in their life, perhaps from a very young age. For teenagers especially, friends can have a huge impact over their lives. Whilst some teenagers are more independent and can withstand peer pressure, many find it extremely difficult – particularly younger teens. Those with lower self-esteems Conforming to peer pressure is often a way of ‘fitting in’ to a specific group. However, trying it once or twice won’t cut it. Smoking, drinking, or taking drugs regularly alongside peers is a way to maintain and deepen the ‘friendship,’ and before you know it, you’re addicted. In fact, statistics have shown that up to 30% of teens are offered drugs in middle and high school!
However, with the right support and education, this can be combated. Studies have shown that adolescents who receive more support at home are less likely to give in to their friends’ demands. Similarly, being taught properly about the risks of drinking, smoking and taking drugs whilst at school is likely to have a positive impact on ability to withstand pressure. Parents also have a much larger influence on such issues than many people may believe. By being open to communication, talking about important issues and having clear, reasonable expectations, parents can steer their children away from negative influences, and help them to stay focused on what is right for themselves.
Another thing that many people do not seem to realise is that peer pressure can also have a positive influence, and may actually deter teenagers from experimenting with alcohol, drugs and smoking if their friends look down upon it. Finding out the risks of their actions may also deter people, as many do not realise that their actions whilst they are young will affect them in later life, and any damage caused at such a tender age is likely to be permanent.