Concept of the Month -- September 2004

Peer pressure

"My buddies got me into drugs; all my friends are doing it." We hear about peer pressure from juvenile defendants and their families. If it hadn't been for his friends, a mother will say, Ed would have never have done what he did.

Peer pressure is a fact of life practically from womb to tomb -- from pre-school playgroups on into adult life. That peer pressure exists is indisputable! More important is whom a youngster chooses as his peers. Every high school has its groups -- the preps, nerds, grinds, jocks, freaks, etc.

People choose the company they keep. Peer pressure is simply an after the fact excuse for wrongdoing when the perpetrator of the crime is held accountable. He
has made a series of choices as to whom he wants to be with. As one boy said, "To be like my brother, go to school, come home, do my homework, that's like being a dog on a leash." He had no use for his brother or his law-abiding friends. He chose to hang out with older kids who were doing things on a dare, searching for excitement by doing the forbidden. Peer pressure had nothing to do with this! He went out and deliberately chose to be with youngsters who share his quest for excitement.

Stanton E. Samenow

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