Everyone needs to feel connected with others and shares attitudes, interested, and circumstances that resemble their own. People choose friends who accept them and see them in a favorable light. Teenagers want to be with people their own age – their peers. During the teen years, teenagers spend more time with their peers and without parental supervision. They can be both connected and independent, as they break away from their parents’ image of them and develop identities of their own. Teenagers are rather listen to their peers than parents.
However, what do parents really know about peers? It is an important question. According to the students in some studies, parents are pretty well aware of what they do with their friends and who they are with at any given time. Most students felt that their parents really do not know much their peers group in general. Students see parents as only partly informed about their relationships with particular peers, or about how those peers behave. The answers were quite similar among boys and girls and among students from different family arrangements.
The ability to develop healthy friendships with peers depends on a teen’s self-identify, self-esteem and self-reliance. Peers act as positive role models. They often understand and listen to the frustrations, challenges and concerns associated with being a teenager. However, a powerful negative peer influence can motivate a teen to make choices and engage in behavior that his or her values might otherwise reject. Once influenced, teens may continue the slide into problems with the laws, substance abuse, school problems, authority defiance, and gang problems.
What can parents do to help teens have healthy relationships with peers? First of all, parents should listen more and lecture less to their children. Most of what parents know about their teens’ relationships with friend comes from what teens freely tell them. Teens will be more open if they think...