Everyone wants to belong, to be accepted. This is a major reason why teenagers feel pressurized to go along with what others are doing the so called peer pressure.
Teenagers are going through tremendous physical and emotional changes as they change from childhood to young adults. There are new responsibilities to be faced, exams to be taken and of course new relationships to be faced. There is rebellion against the rules and ideas that parents impose and so they flock together, almost in desperation in some cases.
As young people spend more time with their peers outside the family home there are opportunities to do things that they haven’t done before such as trying out substances – drugs, alcohol and so on. Young people at this stage in their lives often feel very insecure – are the changes that are happening to them normal? Why haven’t they got bigger breasts, a longer penis, a boy/girl friend and all the rest? They may even be unsure of their sexual orientation.
By giving in to peer pressure and uniting in a common ‘uniform’ whether of clothing or language they feel stronger and more normal, and meeting with others going through similar problems reinforces their egos, even though this may go against the norms of society in general.
As they mature, obtain jobs, move away from the area in which they grew up perhaps, the effects of peer pressure will diminish. They will hopefully realize that misusing drugs is not a good thing. Gradually, as they become surer of themselves, most people feel able to make their own decisions as to which music they prefer, clothes to be worn , even their opinions on world issues will be less affected by what their friends think or do. They will make their own decisions about taking drugs or getting drunk. They will feel accepted for who they are, what they are capable of, and though peer pressure continues to affect most people to some extent its effects tend to lessen as maturity occurs.