The parents have wondered the reason why their adolescents can take risk to effectuate injudicious, foolhardy, and mortal activities such as illegal racing, smoking, alcohol use, scrimmaging, and even murder, etc. Many blame friends for their child’s negative attitudes and behaviors while outsiders regard the parents’ nurture as main cause. A lot of assumptions and research have been carried out to find the correct answer for this question. This assay is aim to find out similarities and differences of influences of family and friends on teenagers.
It is obvious that both friends and parents can be vital and helpful sources of support for teenagers to cope with stressful situations and unmanageable circumstances. WHO identifies adolescence as one of the critical transitions in the life span, which occurs after childhood and before adulthood, from ages 10 to 19 and is characterized by a tremendous pace in growth and change. A study named Adolescent mental health in the United States: Facts for Policymakers by Susan Wile Schwarz in 2009 intimated that: “During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant developmental changes, establishing neural pathways and behavior patterns that will last into adulthood.” This study, however, although indicated that approximately one fifth adolescents has a diagnosable mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety disorders. Another study by Child trend data bank even figured out that nearly one third show symptoms of depression. Unfortunately, many teenagers do not realize supporting possibilities from others or distrust them. They tend to spend too much time on their own and manage to solve the problem by themselves. However, they usually make it worse and feel more anxiety and lower instead of having a desired outcome such as disrupting school performance, harm relationships and leading to suicide. The question is that how parents and friends can know and help the adolescents? It is surprising that the parents and friends can watch for warning signs which teenagers manifest to get help. Warning signs are not always obvious, but more common symptoms include persistent irritability, anger, or social withdrawal, as well as major changes in appetite or sleep. Careful and meticulous observation and monitoring are indispensable and consuming time. Furthermore, be non-judgemental people and good listeners to offer advice and suggestion is a helpful method for teenagers to deal with difficult situations. Generically, important mental health habits including coping, resilience and good judgment are keys both parents and friends bring to adolescents to achieve overall wellbeing and set the stage for positive mental health in adulthood.
Differences in influences of parents and friends on adolescents can be the answer for the common related question “peer pressure vs. parental influence: who is the winner?” Attitude and recognition of parents and friends about independence and identity can result in different impacts. When children are in adolescence, they become more independent, rebellious to establish their identities. To do this, teenagers start cutting off ties of parents and trying on different looks by changing hair colors, clothes, behaviors or take on more adult roles. Normally, parents become concerned that peer influences lead teens to negative attitudes like that, so set draconian rules, laws and make them to obey the limits, which is major reason of episodes of distress and conflicts. In other words, these tactics tend to spur children on to greater rebellion as they attempt to assert their independence. As mentioned in Schwarz’s study, developing brains accompany with changing hormone make adolescents more sensitive and more likely to engage in risky and thrill-seeking behaviors than the younger or adults. This is explanation for parents to get reasonable methods and to listen more and share more warmly with their children. The fact proves that although parents can’t control teenagers, they can guide them towards the kinds of positive peer relationships that help them make better choices and grow up successfully. A long with parents’ influences, friends have significant impacts on adolescents. When children steps into teenager stage, they tend to spend more time with friends who have a lot of things in common, especially have a same primary goal of the teen years: to achieve independence. These peers can help and guide each other to demonstrate their own identity. More specially, unlike in pre-adolescence, what they are only two or more close friends, now, teenagers belong to multiple groups or cliques. In these groups, teens become very aware of how they differ from their peers and find the way to put in crowd. Sometimes, it is positive influence to grow up, but sometimes, it is negative one to spoil the adolescents. For instance, they are smoking because their friends find cool or they are wearing “skimpy clothes” just because they find stylish. Even they can get involved in illegal activities like drinking, using drugs or weapon etc so as to become a part of popular groups. Generally, both influences of peers and parents are really complex include negative and positive sides.
Up to now, thousands of research about relationship between parents, adolescents and friends have been carried on to discover more secrets. However, according to intergraded analysis above, the answer for question at the beginning is adolescents are almost influenced by friends than parents.
Schwarz, S. W. (2009). Adolescent mental health in the United States: Facts for Policymakers Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_878.pdf
Child Trends. (2014). Child Trends Databank: Adolescents who feel sad or hopeless. Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=adolescents-who-felt-sad-or-hopeless
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