How Teens Are Effected By Other Teens Education Essay

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The book Beyond the Classroom, written by Laurence Steinberg, is about why school reform has failed and what parents need to do. This book explains that schools these days are not as educational as schools back in the day. One of the chapters in this book was titled "The Power of Peers". In this section they talked about how teens are effected by other teens.

One main reason is teens are not studying and learning as well because of their peers. Kids need groups or "cliques" to fell important. These groups of peers influence one another. If one kid in the group tells another kid not to do their homework because it will make them look like a geek or a nerd, they will follow the idea because they want to be cool. Also kids involved in sports or extra activities do not do as well as other students, because of the less time to study. Also kids with after school jobs are more likely to fail courses or even classes. "These kids are not failing school because they don't try hard or because they don't study, it's because they are to involved in other activities", says Laurence Steinberg.

The second source was an article in Family Life. The article "Adolescence & Peer Pressure" was written by Herbert G. Lingren. This article agreed with Beyond the Classroom and also states some of the same reasons. They said that "peers these days encourage poor school performance, and peers look down on kids who succeed in school". The one scary thing is that parents don't realize that their kids are doing poorly in till the last minute. If parents even tried to help their kids it wouldn't be an easy task, because kids listen to their friends more than their parents. The one way parents could help teens not listen to there peers is by getting involved their kids academics. Parents need to place restrictions on extra activities and work. If they place restrictions the kids will have time to study for school.

The third source was posted in the Harvard Educational Letter. The article was "Why Current Assessments Don't Measure Up" and was written by Maria R. Levenson. This article was about how kids get distracted with all the pressure form learning. They said, "Kids are distracted form learning and are more concerned with their peers". Also in today's society people are more concerned with their IQ's and their scores on standardize tests. In today's schools kids are tested with standardized test. These test put so much pressure on kids to do well they crack under the pressure and fail. Also students don't learn as well because of other students' distractions.

All these sources have agreed that peer pressure affects kids learning. So Allan's mom can't just blame Allan for not studying or trying. This is somewhat her fault. She did not put restrictions on Allen's after school activities and is not involved in Allan's academics. If Allan was not involved with intramural basketball and an after school job, he might have had time to study for his math test. So next time Allan should be get an A on his math test.

Adolescent Peer Pressure

Between the ages of twelve and nineteen is a period in a teenager's life that determines what kind of adult he or she will become. This period of adolescence, also known as the "formative years", is the subject of much study and research to determine why adolescents are vulnerable to the phenomenon called peer pressure. The disturbing number of incidents of teenage drug use, teenage pregnancy and teenage suicide is most assuredly the reason that fuels the need for such research. Perhaps it is because as children they are taught the importance of having and maintaining friends. Or perhaps they don't feel that they can talk to their parents or teachers when problems arise. Or maybe they simply want to rebel against the pressures placed on them as youths. Because adolescents spend their time either at home or in school, it is within these confines that the answers to adolescents' behavior lay. In other words, family and school can sometimes cause adolescents to give in to peer pressure because of an overemphasis on the importance of social adjustment, a lack of interest or communication on the part of the parents and teachers, and the unrealistic expectations that these entities create.

Although the purpose of attending school is to receive an education, it also provides children with a medium through which they can develop relationships with other children that eventually turn into friendships. The ability to form friendships can be traced back to even the pre-school years and its importance from this time forward is emphasized by eager parents who want their children to fit in at school. "Interactions with friends or other peers are crucial for the development of a mature morality." (Juvonen, p.11) Most would agree that social interaction is important but sometimes parents are guilty of over-emphasizing this importance. Let's recall the numerous birthday parties where every child in the neighborhood was invited to come regardless of whether or not they were actual friends. This desire to socialize children also occurs in the classroom at school. "The classroom setting represents not only an educational arena but a powerful social context in which the psychological adjustment of children and adolescents can be affected."(Juvonen, p.248) Teachers tend to promote social interaction by assigning exercises that require working in pairs or groups. Furthermore, when a teacher spots a child playing alone, they will encourage him or her to join the other children while overlooking the possibility that the child might have preferred to be alone. Thus, from an early age, children are taught to value the importance of social interaction and this value stays with them as they move into the adolescent years. The result is that adolescents come to value their friendships deeply and in some cases more so than their relationships with family members. This accounts for the adolescent not being able to refuse their friends for fear of losing the bonds that they have formed and is thus a cause of their greater vulnerability to peer pressure.

A second cause that contributes to the vulnerability of adolescents in the face of peer pressure is the lack of interest or communication on the part of the parents and teachers. "Under ordinary circumstances, parents and children rarely do things together, except at meal times. Ever since work and school have pulled adults and children away from the home, conflicting schedules keep family members circling around each other in eccentric orbits."(Csikszentmihalyi, p.145) If the parents are not around or simply do not show interest in their children's affairs, then it should not be surprising that adolescents will be more influenced by their peers with whom they spend the majority of their time. "In terms of sheer amount of time, peers are by far the greatest presence in the adolescent's life."(Czikszentmihalyi, p.71) Since the adolescent also spends a good deal of time at school, it would seem that the teacher would serve as a sort of parent model in the classroom to whom students could come for guidance. However, not so much a lack of interest but rather a lack of communication exists in this setting as well, due to the ratio of students to teacher in the classroom. This inhibits the possibility of the teacher having a true personal relationship with each student. Of course, this is a situation not easily remedied but nonetheless it is still a factor in an adolescent's tendency to turn to their friends as role models. If there are no adults available to provide negative feedback, then once again it is not surprising that they give in to the pressures placed on them by their peers.

"Adolescence is a period of biological growth and maturation, self discovery and social adaptation."(Vega, p.4) By this definition it can be seen that the adolescent world is significantly different from the adult world. This point of view renders the expectations placed on adolescents by family and school unrealistic and therefore causes of rebellion and conformity to peer pressure. In the home environment, relations between parents and adolescents tend to be strained because each has different goals that come into conflict. "There is inevitable conflict between adult realism and youthful idealism within the family."(Csikszentmihalyi, p.131) Parents expect their children to see things the same way they do, overlooking the fact that they have more experience in life that thus accounts for the difference in perspective. School as an institution is also responsible for placing unrealistic goals upon these adolescents, who are only concerned with immediate gratification. Because they can not yet visualize the long-term benefits of a good education, their goals conflict with those of educators. These conflicting interests eventually lead adolescents to rebel against these unrealistic expectations and thus give in to peer pressure as a demonstration of their rebellion.

Of course, there are those who say that it is not the parents and teachers who are responsible, but the teenagers themselves. Furthermore, it has been argued that despite the methods used to understand the behavior of adolescents and to relate to them on their level, adolescents seem to have a mind of their own. They are completely conscious and aware of their actions when giving in to peer pressure. Although this may be the case, it does not indicate that society should not make any more efforts to help teenagers as they go through the difficult transition from adolescent to adulthood.

Teaching students how to deal with peer pressure issues is an outstanding idea for an advisory unit. Group work is ample opportunity to lead adolescents toward individuality. Students can be asked to consider what peer pressure can push them into doing, and to think how they could combat such pressure. The assembly of this lesson would aim to enable students to consider who influences their everyday decisions, to try to feel good about themselves without the need for peer approval, and to understand that they have the right to make their own decisions, independent of other peoples opinions and pressures.

Because it is the parents and teachers that instilled in them the value and meaning of friendships, it should be the parents and teachers who help them to see that friendships also have limits. If adolescents realize that social interaction is important but only to a certain point, then they will have the strength to say no to their friends. Likewise, if parents and teachers somehow found a way to better communicate with their children and students respectively, these adolescents would most likely come to share their feelings with them and not rely so much on their peers for feedback. And lastly, if parents and teachers became aware of the unrealistic expectations they place on teenagers, the result would be a decrease in conflict as well as a decrease in the number of adolescents who feel the need to rebel through conformity to peer pressure. In other words, examining the ways in which family and school cause adolescents to give in to peer pressure leads to a resolution of the causes. What is the overall result? Adolescents have a healthier sense of the meaning of friendships, they have an alternative other than peers to whom they can turn to and they are freed from any unrealistic expectations that they themselves can't understand. But most importantly, they become less susceptible to the traps of peer pressure.

Works Cited

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Reed Larson. Being Adolescent: Conflict and Growth in the Teenage Years. Basic Books, Inc. 1984. New York

Juvonen, Jaana and Kathryn R. Wentzel. Social Motivation: Understanding Children's School Adjustment. Cambridge University Press. 1996. Cambridge

Vega, William A. and Andres G. Gil. Drug Use and Ethnicity in Early Adolescence. Plenum Press. 1998. New York


Peer Pressure in Adolescent's Eyes

What is peer pressure? Peer pressure can be described as a positive or negative reaction that occurs when one is influenced by certain people ( Peer pressure is constantly surrounding individuals all the time. I believe friends, family members, and religious institutions have the strongest influence of peer pressure on society. When adolescents are faced with difficult decisions, they turn to those they can trust to help them make the right choice. With the help and guidance from those we love, adolescents can be influenced to choose a decision that is right. The only problem is the influence of peers has led teens and children astray by pressuring them to make the wrong decisions concerning, more specifically sexual behaviors and drugs. With the help by other support systems present in their lives, teens can learn to push away the bad influence and say "No" to the decisions that they are faced with and know what is right and what is wrong.

In today's society it is very hard to find teens and even children who are virgins. Sex for example is a very big subject for adolescents. Once while it was popular to be a virgin, now it is not. Children and teens that are virgins are sometimes made fun of, excluded, or even lie about their virginity just to fit in. I believe that the media is partly responsible for this. When a child sees people on the television having sex, they want to go out and do the same thing. They do not understand what it is or how it affects him or her both mentally, sexually, physically, and most important spiritually. Sex is something that should be saved for marriage, although most people experience it before then.

Teens and children are having sex at a young age impart because most of their friends may be doing the same thing. The want to fit in and be part of the "in-crowd" so they will not follow what they feel is right and will take part in sexual behavior in order to be "cool." Sex is just one issue that adolescents are faced with. Drugs are another factor that can lead to bad decisions based on the friendships that they make. Even though most adolescents peer pressure their friends into doing something wrong, there are times when they are influenced to do something right. Adolescents need to make the proper decisions and conform to the right crowd in order to develop fully and wholly.

Drugs are becoming more prevalent in today's society and are leading more and more adolescents in making the wrong choices and following the "cool" crowd. In an interview done one can see how individuals in the past were heavily influenced by their peers,

Interviewer: Have you ever done something you didn't want to do, just so people liked you more?

Adolescent 1: I broke a window because I wanted to be more popular, and I just got into trouble.

Adolescent 2: I tried to jump a jump on my bike, to be cool in my bike club.

Adolescent 3: When Steven and the rest of his friends were going round acting tough â€" and they were popular, so I would go around being like them. Soon after I learnt that they were being stupid for a bit of attention and I fell for it.

Interviewer: Is it easy to stay popular in a group?

Adolescent 4: No, because if you do something wrong they tell you you're dumb.

Adolescent 5: No, you have to play along with the group.

(Cotterell, 130). It is seen in this simple observation how easily adolescents are swayed to do something wrong in order to still be included in a group of friends. As children grow, develop, and move into early adolescence, involvement with one's peers increases. They are faced with decisions to try new things, such as drugs. The use of drugs by teenagers is the result of a combination of factors such as peer pressure, curiosity, and availability (Cotterell, 135). Simple drugs such as inhalants are present in households everywhere and teens can have their hands on it very easily. Adolescents may hear that they can get a high off an air freshener bottle and their curiosity leads to poor decisions. If one friend brings the bottle to the hang out and tells another teen to try it because it is "so cool," he or she will experiment with it unbeknownst to the effects it can lead to. Peers are the ones who most frequently initiate one another into drug use. Usually the gene cluster develops a consensus about where, when, the types of drugs to be used, and so on. Members of the clique exert pressure to conform to the norm of the group by offering attractive rewards, such as status with the group hierarchy, and undesirable sanctions, such as exclusion. (Miller, 33).

Friends, as it is seen, are a major source of peer pressure that one encounters when growing up. I believe from past experiences, friends have the strongest influence on us. The effects from our friends can sometimes be really good or truly bad. Choosing the friends one hangs out with can sometimes be difficult. As a young adult, I can compare life to a science project; always experimenting and finding out different results. For example, I would make the decision to hang out with the rebellious older crowd or angelic companion. As a young adult, friends have a strong influence because of the peer pressure that is involved. Even though we know what is right from wrong we still have the tendency to do the wrong thing. Even though there are a lot of negative effects from friend's influences, there are just as many positive effects too. I believe the right friends can push one to doing the right things such as belonging to a soccer team or joining the band club.

Family members are the most important source of peer pressure. I believe family is the most influential foundation for several reasons. For one, peer pressure is encountered first at home. The mother and father play the biggest role in our lives because they teach their children right from wrong. Children and young adults have many temptations that they are faced with and can be led astray if he or she hangs out with the wrong crowd. Without their mother and father's support and proper guidance, children can be influenced to do wrong. For example, as a child my parents would always warn me about a girl whom I hung out with and lived in my neighborhood. They advised me a million times to not associate with her because they thought she was "bad news." One day however, my parent's warnings were made valid. The girl was arrested for theft and made the police blotter of my community newspaper. I do not know what has become of her since that incident, but it allowed me to see firsthand that my parents do play a big part of my life and in many cases are right. The peer pressure we receive from our parents can be very important when growing up and can lead many to make the proper decisions when it comes to drugs, or in my case the friends I hung out with. Friends are a big part of every adolescent's life, but when it comes to parents, they should always and forever come first. They know what is right for their son or daughter and will help contribute to make the right decisions for their son or daughter as they grow older and experience the changes of adolescence.

Religious institutions are another great source of peer pressure. The people that attend church usually have good morals. The young adults that participate in religious institutions, form the most, come from families which are not into drugs, alcohol, violence, or any sort of crime. So the effects these religious institutions have are great on young people in society. Religious adolescents can encourage one another to be successful in school, sports, and other activities. In my own past experiences when growing up, the people I have choose as friends weren't always the coolest, or craziest, but they were always good for their word and trust worthy. These types of friends are valuable for positive peer pressure and are important to keep.

As it is seen, adolescents find it difficult to make the right decisions when trying to make new friends and be popular. One of the reasons that our society finds it difficult affecting teen's drug use is because adolescent culture does not consist of "one uniform, homogeneous group." (Miller, 107) Like adult friendships, adolescents have many divisions within our culture. The prevention of drug use can be done like advertisers; adjusting to the right demographic. Prevention can be made by adjusting the messages to the specific adolescent cultures which drugs are used (Miller, 108).

In conclusion, peer pressure is always surrounding us. From the time were young, till early adulthood and beyond. Our friends, family members, and religious institutions are the main sources in which peer pressure comes from. With the proper guidance and right choice of friends, one will not have any trouble with life's difficult decisions, and will hopefully do the right thing when faced with difficult problems.