What Is Adolescence Social Development?

A.E. Freeman

Adolescence social development concerns a teenager's development of a self-of-sense or identity. The sense of identity is influenced by a number of factors, such as the individual's peers and family life. There are several concerns linked to adolescence social development, including low self-esteem, peer pressure, and substance abuse.

Peer pressure occurs when adolescents copy the thoughts and beliefs of their peers in order to fit in.
Peer pressure occurs when adolescents copy the thoughts and beliefs of their peers in order to fit in.

As children move into adolescence, their peer group usually begins to have a greater influence on their lives than their parents or other family members. Building and maintaining relationships with peers is an essential part of adolescence social development. Teenagers need to become independent and build a sense of themselves by building relationships with others outside of the family.

Attending social events can help young people develop interpersonal skills.
Attending social events can help young people develop interpersonal skills.

Their interactions with peers is a key part of adolescence social development as it allows young people to develop their value systems and morals. Peer groups provide a contrast to the family group and can help a teenager compare and contrast her newly-forming beliefs and thoughts to those of her family. There is a risk that a peer group can too negatively impact an adolescent, though.

Social behavior can change drastically as a person goes through adolescence.
Social behavior can change drastically as a person goes through adolescence.

Some adolescents do not begin to develop their own thoughts or beliefs but instead copy those of their peers in an attempt to fit in. This is known as peer pressure. To prevent children and adolescents from making poor decisions due to pressure from their peers, parents can teach their children to recognize this influence. Often, when an adolescent knows how to recognize negative pressure, she is better able to respond to it in a positive way.

Adolescents may feel pressured by peers to engage in risky or adult behaviors.
Adolescents may feel pressured by peers to engage in risky or adult behaviors.

Peer acceptance from an early age is essential to healthy adolescence social development. People who have close friends are more likely to have a greater sense of self-esteem throughout life than those who are rejected by their peers. A lack of close friends can lead to other development problems and psychological concerns in adolescence as well as in adulthood.

Social development in adolescence can be heavily influenced on whether they live in a two-parent or single parent home.
Social development in adolescence can be heavily influenced on whether they live in a two-parent or single parent home.

An adolescent's family plays a key role in her social development. It does not matter whether a teenager comes from a two-parent or single parent family. What does matter is whether or not the family is attentive to her needs and is close. Adolescents from close family structures are more likely to have greater social success as well as greater success throughout life.

Body image and self-esteem are often developed during adolescence.
Body image and self-esteem are often developed during adolescence.

Some adolescents struggle with social problems, including eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and other risky behaviors. For some teenagers, these behaviors are a result of peer pressure and not having a fully developed sense of identity or values system. Others engage in risky behavior as a response to a negative home life.

Gaining more freedom from parents is a common part of adolescent development.
Gaining more freedom from parents is a common part of adolescent development.
Parents can teach their children to recognize the negative influences of adolescent peer pressure.
Parents can teach their children to recognize the negative influences of adolescent peer pressure.

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Discussion Comments

Heavanet

@raynbow- Your post brought back memories of a teen camp that I went to during the summer when I turned 15. Though I always felt awkward in high school, the camp gave me a lot of confidence and I made some new friends.

Raynbow

During the teen years, it is very important that young people have guidance as they struggle to define themselves socially. Sometimes school is not enough, because many teenagers do not feel accepted or are intimidated in school settings.

Many organizations offer teen camps where students can discover themselves and make new friends. Often, these camps include activities to help participants express themselves through music, art, and leadership activities. There is usually some time set aside fun activities too such as movies, parties, and dances. These camps provide opportunities for teens to be themselves and build their confidence.

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