Conforming to the negative peer pressure can
cause harm to the present and future life of a teenager. Read on to know more
about peer pressure and conformity.
Adolescence is a period of
development and perceptions. It is the time to experiment and test out various
things that seem interesting. A teen mind is full of queries and they all need
to be satisfied at once.
Building a peer group or getting
associated with one is basically a part of this developmental process. It is a
part of adolescent socialisation. This allows the members of similar age groups
to explore their interests and share their uncertainties that they are otherwise
uncomfortable in sharing with other people like parents or teachers, that is,
if they do not really have an easy relationship with them. This is why they
want to conform to the group. The intent is to retain the sense and feel of
belonging and continuity with the peer group.
Conformity is the Cost of Acceptance
There is a peer pressure
that comes naturally with this social dynamism – which can be termed as the cost
of association or conformity. One needs to conform to the thoughts, actions and
ideologies of the peer group in order to be accepted as a part of it. But there
is a host of potential problems that tag along with this conformity.
If it is a positive peer group the
impact and effect on the individual is positive and the transformations happen
for the better. But if the peer pressure happens to be negative, the well-being
of the teen in endangered. The potential risks involve several harmful and
unlawful activities ranging from shoplifting, theft, smoking, drug, alcohol
or substance abuse of casual teen sex.
Conformity Can Be Harmful
Conformity actually comes as a
voluntary choice for the teen as there is always a fear of rejection in the
mind. For a teenager belonging
to a group and being accepted as a part of it is extremely important; at times
even more than the need of his family. There are occasions where the teenager
willingly goes to any extent just to be accepted as a member of his peer group.
In cases of negative peer pressure, the cost of conformity involves
compromising on family values and rules.
is a phase when the teen is trying to carve out an individual identity for himself.
He is tasting independence for the first time and he wants to make the most of
it as the entire situation is too exciting for him, further due to the various
physiological and emotional changes that are taking place in his body, the teen
is too overwhelmed and confused to channelise his newfound energy and
excitement. It is therefore easy for him to fall under negative peer pressure
and get involved in activities that are potentially harmful for him. Further,
he also lacks the awareness or experience to deal with the possible outcomes.
Conformity Blocks Individual Preference
In an attempt to ‘fit in’, the teen
knows that he has to relinquish family values and break
a few rules set by his parents. This may not be his individual preference.
Although, he behaves contrary to his family values and engages in actions that
do not have the sanction of his parents, but he does them solely because he
wants to be accepted as a rightful member to his peer group. So the individual’s
preference to retain family values goes for a toss. The idea of bullying or
deflecting criticism from the members of the peer group drives him to such
actions and behavior.