How Can Peer Group Influence the Behavior of Adolescents

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Peer pressure is the direct influence on an individual to change their attitude and behaviors so as to conform to those of the influencing group. It is one of the strongest indicators of adolescent behavior problems. Peer pressure becomes an influence on behavior during adolescence Delinquency is merely criminal behaviors that usually result from parents tolerating bad behaviors at home, school or in the community (Sweeten et al., 2013). This paper aims at analyzing the effects of peer pressure on crime.

In every society, there are groups that are part of the larger society whose members adhere to norms that violate the values of the larger society. This results in criminal behaviors which at times represent a collective response which is directed by cultural values and norms of such groups (Monahan et al., 2014). The peers in a society usually prefer having friends of the same age group thus they will have an influence on each other. This insinuates that, if the preferred friends have criminal behaviors, then an individual will be easily assimilated to the same behaviors. This is because the individual has to conform to the behaviors of the group or they will be ostracized. The conformation is most pronounced with ideology, appearance, taste, style, and values. As a result, the individual gets caught up in crime based activities as they have to prove to their peers that they are not cowards. The peer groups have their own culture and rituals which members are associated with. Engagement in crime by the youth is not something that they grow up aspiring to do. Certain factors and conditions make them engage in criminal activities.

In the recent days, work has been given priority before family. This has made it difficult for parents to effectively monitor the discipline of their children. At an adolescent age, teens have excess energy that needs to be exerted, and if that energy is not directed to useful activities, then they will engage in bad tendencies. With the absence of parents, teens make bad choices and join peer groups that lead them astray. The parents are not there to administer punishments to them, and they hardly know what their children are up to. Thus when teens join criminal groups, they become rooted in them. They embrace peer pressure negatively something they could not have done if parents were there to advise them.

Harsh punishments, harassments, bickering, and conflicts make teens conform to societal norms than family. When parents administer excessive punishment to their children, they become repellant to punishments and the outcome is something that the parents never desired. The child feels unloved and unwanted and goes out there to look for comfort from fellow peers. Communication between the parent and the child reduces to the minimum, and there is detachment from the parent. There is no more bonding as the teens do not open up to their parents thus the parents never get a chance of knowing their childrenr's friends. Due to the anger that the teens have towards their parents, they focus on making their lives hard, so they engage themselves in crime.

Unstable marriages also lead peers to crime life. When both parents are ever arguing and never in peace, this affects the children greatly. The children become emotionally, mentally and psychologically unstable due to the everyday conflicts by the parents. They will have no respect for their parents, and they will lose confidence in them. The parents project a bad image of violence to their children thus peer groups become a primary confidant to the teens. They detach themselves from their parents and look for other means to have comfort. The teens develop low self-esteem, and the only way they can value themselves is by giving in to negative peer pressure. They, therefore, join peer groups involved in the violation of societal norms.

When children become teens, they value their relationships more than anything else. Their friends come first even before family. They listen to their friends more than anyone else because they want to fit in the peer group. Their desire to conform to these groups tends to cloud their judgment. They no longer value what is right because they need to be considered part of the group. They can go beyond limits to prove themselves to their peers. It is at this age that most teens lose the emotional connection with their parents. If not careful, the peer groups often lead them to situations that are compromising such as crime.

Teens are less mature than adults making them incapable of making the right decisions in the many situations that they come across (Black et al., 2013). When faced with a situation they prefer discussing it with their fellow teens that are of the same maturity level. This leads to bad choices. A fellow teen may suggest that they try something new that they know their parents would never approve but since peer pressure is all about fitting in, they all make a decision to try it out.

Teenagers who feel rejected and isolated from other peers lack direction of their lives. They are uncertain of the place they deserve in a peer group. They end up having low self-esteem. The need to fit in a group pushes them to follow the wrong crowd. They begin to participate in the wrongdoings of the crowd such as drug use, cheating, and drinking. Such teens end up committing crimes because at a point in their lives they faced rejection and therefore did not have the confidence to ask for help or advice.

Family challenges make teens turn to their friends to replace the lost relationship. They believe thatr's the place they can get a sense of belonging when their families fail them. If the group that the teen joins are involved in crimes, the teen is at high risk of engaging in the same activities were carried out in the group. Teens act on instinct whenever they are confronted with stress or emotional challenges thus they fail to understand the consequences of their action (Costello & Hope, 2016).

Teenagers usually have a role model whom they emulate in every aspect. Usually, it is an older person or an adult. However, it becomes worrisome when teens take on their fellow peers as their role models. This is because they begin to act and develop behaviors that resemble those of their role models. They will dress in similar ways, share likes and dislikes and desire the same kind of food. Parents have a hard time at this point to control their children. This is because the opinion of the parent no longer matter as the opinion of the role model supersedes those of the parents. The teens want to look and act like their role models. They, therefore, emulate and experiment every behavior from their role models including criminal activities.

Negative peer pressure has a bad influence on children as they grow up all the way up to teenage. It exists for conformity. The absence of parents, bad role models, family challenges, social maturity and teens relationships are some of the factors that make teenagers turn to their peers for solutions and in that process, they become negatively influenced to crime life. It is therefore important for parents to monitor their children as it is at teenage that teenagers have excess energy that if not controlled or exerted lead them to bad companies thus criminal behaviors.

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How Can Peer Group Influence the Behavior of Adolescents. (2019, May 31). Retrieved July 12, 2024 , from

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