The adolescent stage may prove to be the most critical period for both children and the parents. At this time, a parent’s role in a child’s life will be challenged and a lot of factors can help make or break a child. One of the most important aspects that greatly affect an adolescent’s life is peer pressure.
There are a lot of risks presented when peer pressure sets in your kid’s life. Most of these risks are health-related, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Teenagers often learn risky behaviors like drinking, smoking, use of illegal drugs, and getting into unsafe sexual activities. Most of the time, an adolescent becomes vulnerable and his peers would take advantage of his weakness and push him to try the said dangerous activities.
Why do kids succumb to peer pressure? In the adolescent years, this is when a child feels that he needs to have a sense of belonging. How a child sees and reacts to his surroundings will all depend on how his parents brought him up. Dr. Michelle M. Forcier, head of adolescent medicine at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, says that kids who experience strong parental guidance and values are less likely to fall prey of peer pressure.
Here are some problems that parents should be concerned when their kids succumb to peer pressure:
a. Alcohol Use – About 20% of teens confess that they had their first drink before the age of 12.
b. Smoking – Almost 25% of high school students smoke. Some even started smoking by the time they were 13.
c. Sex – There are teens 14 to 17 years old who already engage in sexual activities, and 30% of them do it without proper birth control methods.
d. Drug Use – Young adult marijuana users aged 18 to 21 all say they had their first drug encounter before they turned 13.