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According to APA Dictionary of Psychology, a group of individuals who share one or more characteristics, such as age, social status, economic status etc. are peer groups. Peer Group is both social group and primary group. 

Functions of Peer group:

  • Provide support in shaping an individual’s self-esteem and self-valuation.
  •  Provide emotional security under unprecedented or threatening situations.
  • Provide the foundation for intimate relationships as they are essential non-family contexts for intimacy and affection.
  • Teach gender roles.
  •  Help in Identity formation.
     The peer group is an important socializing agent contributing beyond the influence of the family and school. Peers socialize each other through certain mechanisms. They are.

  •  Reinforcement – Giving Attention.
  •  Modeling-Imitation
  •  Punishment- Rejection, bullying etc.
  • Apprenticeship- Someone with more experience teach someone with less experience.

As your teen grows older, their peers will play a bigger role in their life. Their friends may influence everything from what they wear to how they talk.

  1. Positive influence: Positive peer influence is when someone’s peers influence them to do something positive or growth building. For example, peers who are committed to doing well in school or at sport can influence others to be more goal orientated. Similarly, peers who are kind, loyal or supportive influence others to be the same. They are subconsciously looking to their friends for information about how to act and interact with others. For the same reason, they also learn more quickly in the presence of their peers. For example, friends tell your teen to study harder so they can get better grades. They decide it’s cool to get good grades in a test. Several of your teen friends buy their own car. Your teen becomes motivated to save their money so they can buy their own car too.
  2. Negative influence: If your teen starts hanging around with the wrong crowd, like peers who skip school, do drugs, and break the law, they’re likely to influence your teen behavior in an unhealthy way. Most negative peer pressure involves more serious problems, like pressuring a teen to smoke cigarettes or experiment with drugs. For example, your teen skips school because it’s senior skip day and they don’t want to get made fun for showing up. Your teen purchases e-cigarettes online because their friends tell them they can get away with it.
Peer Group Stages

ž PEER GROUP BY AGE (2 TO 6) –The first bond Or attachment that a child shares with is his Or her family. They feel secure and warmth around the family. They tend to be less aggressive and more actively involved in activities.

ž MIDDLE CHILDHOOD PEER GROUP ( 6 TO 13) –Children no longer need adults or their family to structure them socially. They start looking for children of their own age group. They try to socialize with children of their own age by doing friendship with them and spending time with each other.

ž ADOLESCENT –During adolescence, peer groups tend to face dramatic changes. Adolescents tend to spend more time with their peers and have less adult supervision. Adolescents’ communication shifts during this time as well. They prefer to talk about school and their careers with their parents, and they enjoy talking about sex and other interpersonal relationships with their peers. Children look to join peer groups who accept them, even if the group is involved in negative activities. Children are less likely to accept those who are different from them.

     How to tackle it ?

     1. Developing good self-esteem and taking charge of yourself.  

     2. Satisfaction and taking charge of our aspirations. 

     3. Choosing our friends wisely.

     4. Identify our core values.

     5. Taking the help of our parents/elders/teachers.

     CONCLUSION

     "Without friends no one chooses to live, though he has all other goods." - Aristotle

     It is not possible to live our lives without being influenced by anyone. So the best thing that we can do is guard ourselves and to choose our influence.

 

 

 

 

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