Peer Influence or peer pressure is probably the single most powerful influence in the life a teen. This will cause a teen to do things that he or she will look back later and wonder what they were thinking. Peer influence affects the clothes a teen wears, the way they wear their hair, the way they talk, and what they do in their free time. Peer influences everything a teen does. If their friends are doing it, wearing it, or saying it, they want the same thing. The influence can even reach into their family life.
Peer relationships are an important part of everyoneís life. Whether we are old or young almost everyone has a peer group that they associate with or are concerned about in some way. Teen peer relationships are a little more powerful, as teenage years are when a person begins to be aware of their peers. With the new awareness of peers and the insecurity that accompanies teenage years, the peer relationship becomes powerful.
Drop Outs and College
Many teen drop outs will eventually go back to school and get their diploma or a GED. The GED, Graduation Equivalency Diploma is more widely accepted than it used to be. A drop out that has earned his GED can usually gain admittance into a Jr. College. There are even some full term 4 year colleges that will accept the GED. Without a college diploma, a persons life time earnings will usually be substantially less than that of a college graduate. The sacrifice made to go to college and work to sustain ones self will pay large dividends down the road. A two year degree will assist one is gaining a higher paying job, but the 4 year degree should be the ideal goal for someone looking to improve their financial status. Just because someone gets a four year degree does not insure that they will be financially successful. A person will still need to display honest, integrity, and good work ethic to make a decent income.
Adult Peer Relationships
Parents of teens struggle with peer relationships also. Usually adults have learned that it is really not that important what others think of them. There are still many however, that are trying to impress, or fit in with their peers. This behavior in adults will usually be observed and copied by their children. It will be difficult for a parent to tell their teen not to worry about what others think, when the parent is driving a car they can not afford, to impress the neighbors. It will be difficult for the parents to counsel their teen not to worry about the way they look when they have just had a breast augmentation. Parents will have a hard time convincing their teen about anything unless they are living the principle they are trying to teach.
A personís choice of friends can be one of the single most important decisions they will make. If a person chooses a friend that likes to drink and party, they will usually like to party also. If a person chooses a friend that is into sports, they will usually participate in sports also. The list goes on; we donít hang around people that donít like the same things we like. The old saying, ďYou can tell a lot about a person by the friends he hasĒ is really true.
Some parents naively believe their kids when they tell them that just because their friends do drugs, that they donít. If they really arenít using drugs, they soon will be. People donít hang around people that donít do the same things they do.