Think back to your teenage years and you will probably remember the feeling: fear that everyone will think you’re not cool and that they won’t want you to hang out with them anymore. That fear leads a lot of teens to do things they might not otherwise do. Whether it’s smoking, drinking, or any other negative behavior, dealing with teenage peer pressure can become a huge problem during high school.
During our teenage years, we start to branch out from our families and develop our own personalities. Our parents’ approval starts mattering less, and our friends’ approval starts mattering more. The fear of disapproval from peers leads many teens to succumb to peer pressure.
If you feel like you are starting to lose your teen to negative influences, you may need to change their environment. Therapeutic boarding schools like Sundance Canyon Academy provide a positive atmosphere with trained staff to help the students stay on a positive path in life.
Why does teenage peer pressure matter so much?
As teens start to spend more time away from home, they feel the need to fit in with their peers. They develop a sense of self that can be different from how they saw themselves as a child. If they are rejected by their peers, it can feel much more devastating than it would as an adult. Teens who struggle with low self-esteem or anxiety can be especially susceptible to peer pressure.
However, peer pressure isn’t automatically bad. If your teen is hanging out with a crowd that engages in positive activities, they can be persuaded to participate in positive activities as well. Many teens find positive influences from friends who work toward longterm goals in school or on sports teams.
Examples of teenage peer pressure
As your teen starts branching out, you may notice that their behavior changes based on their friend group. When teens want to fit in with their friends, they are more likely to jump on board with whatever activities help them become a deeper part of the group. Behavioral change is normal during adolescence, and you can expect peer pressure to play a role in your teen’s development.
Here are a few examples of common positive and negative behavior changes that you may notice as your teen moves through high school.
StudyingDrinkingExercisingDrug useDriving safelyUnhealthy dating habitsVolunteeringDangerous behaviorsJoining teams or clubsBullying
While we all hope for positive peer pressure to win over negative peer pressure, that isn’t always the case. If you notice that your teen is starting to engage in negative activities, you may need to step in to help them overcome negative peer pressure.
How to help your teen overcome negative peer pressure
If you feel like you are starting to lose your teen to negative influences, it’s time to intervene. Talk to your teen about their behavior and why it concerns you. Encourage them to tell you what’s going on and listen to what they say. It can be very difficult for teens to defy their friends and risk losing their approval. Your teen needs to know that you are there for them even if their friends are not.
If your teenage son doesn’t respond well to your conversations with them, you may need more advanced help. Attending a therapeutic school like Sundance Canyon Academy lets the students work with counselors who are trained to help teens address negative behaviors. Working with professional counselors helps the students develop the self-esteem to stand up to peer pressure.