“But Everybody’s Doing It”: The Role of Peer Pressure for Teens

Boy experiencing peer pressureA few years ago, a young lady shared her experience of peer pressure through DrugFree.org. She explained that growing up, her parent struggled with alcoholism – and between that and her parent’s divorce, she dealt with a lot of psychological turmoil. This young woman went on to explain that since she didn’t have the coping skills she really needed to get through some of the hardships she faced, she turned to her peers for validation. She stated,

“I wanted to fit in and feel better about myself…As a teenager who was already full of apprehension and anxiety, getting caught up and swept away by peer pressure was just another high.”

It’s not uncommon for teens and adolescents to go become vulnerable to peer pressure, especially as they are still trying to figure out who they are. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Adolescence noted that popularity in school can also influence teens to drink and abuse substances – especially if that means they will become “cool” or otherwise accepted. Since the teen brain is still developing during these stages of life, how can we as parents, educators and community members support our youth?

In 2018, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggested a number of actions we can take:

  • Teaching our teens to be more assertive in resisting dangerous activities
  • Helping our youth develop more self-confidence, so they do not need to seek out this type of validation from their peers
  • Encouraging open and honest communication from our adolescents, so that future problems can be prevented
  • Getting to know our children’s’ parents and friends
  • Coming up with “back-up” plans for our teens if they’d like to get out of risky situations

If you have a teen who is showing signs of substance abuse, ensure they seek the help they need, right now. Recovery is right around the corner, and it could change the outlook on the rest of their lives.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.