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Teens and Peer Pressure

Peer pressure, also commonly referred to as peer influence is when a teenager makes the choice to do something that they would otherwise not do, in hopes of feeling esteemed by his or her group of friends.

There are both positive types of peer pressure and negative types of peer pressure. It is, however, much more common for teenagers to be negatively influenced by peer pressure. Part of adolescence is learning lessons and being provided with the opportunities to learn how to navigate difficult situations. Fostering a solid sense of self comes out of having different experiences with peer pressures and obtaining a healthy balance between peer influence and what feels personally comfortable to maintain one’s authenticity. Learning how to navigate peer pressure and stand up for one’s own beliefs, experiences and self is essential to a young person’s social and emotional development.

Warning Signs

There are many warning signs that a teen may display as a result of enduring the discomforts of peer pressure. Teens that may be negatively affected by peer pressure can exhibit any combination of the below examples:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Aggression
  • Difficulty with sleep (unable to fall asleep, stay asleep, or waking up early)
  • Tearfulness
  • Over eating
  • School avoidant
  • Withdrawing from extracurricular activities that were once enjoyed by your teen
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low moods

While every teenager may exhibit some form of the above examples at some point in their adolescence, prolonged episodes and/ or the presence of multiple of the above symptoms may point to a deeper issue. If you notice the above signs and are concerned about your teen’s ability to manage peer pressure, do not hesitate to contact your child’s physician. Your child’s doctor will be able to point you in the proper direction for obtaining assistance from an appropriate mental health professional.

Managing Peer Pressure

Parents can help play a large roll in assisting their teenage child with managing the inevitable peer pressures that will arise in adolescence. Here are some tips to help you help your child:


  • Teach them that ‘no’ is a loving and acceptable word. For some young people it can be intimidating to say no to a family member or friend. Help your teen learn different ways to say no that feel comfortable for them. Giving them the opportunity to practice saying no to you can also be helpful.
  • Help your child establish a healthy self-esteem. Teenagers can be incredibly self-conscious. Give you child specific and detailed complements, regularly. Point out all the ways they are uniquely phenomenal. Assure your child that they are wise and that you are confident in their ability to make good decisions.
  • Support your teen in creating a healthy social life. Allow your teen as many opportunities to create new friendships as or she wants that are possible. Expanding a social network will provide your teen with different groups of friends and more sources of peer support.


Most importantly, it is always essential to keep the lines of communication open with you and your teenager. Continue to ask questions about his or her life, and actively listen to their answers. Try to create a safe emotional space for them to be able to come and process social or emotional difficulties they may be experiencing. This can also help you, as a parent, be able to identify more easily if something seems awry.

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact an individual for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at

Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. 

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