I. We often hear about the dangers of peer pressure to teenagers. A. Teenagers take drugs, skip school, get drunk, or have sex because their friends do these things. Desperate to conform to their friends’ values, teens may give up their interests in school, in hobbies, and even in certain people. B. Teenagers may, first of all, lose or hide their interest in school in order to be like their friends. They adopt a negative attitude in which school is seen as a battlefield, with teachers and other officials regarded as the enemy. II. In addition, teenagers may stop participating in class. A.
It is no longer cool to raise a hand or seem anxious to learn. It is cool to show up without the assigned homework. Conforming also means not joining many after-school activities. B. A teenager might be curious about the band, the Spanish club, the student council, or the computer club but does not dare join if the gang feels such activities are for squares. III. Teenagers also give up private pleasures and hobbies to be one of the crowds. A. Certain pastimes, such as writing poems, practicing piano, reading books, or fooling around with a chemistry set may be off-limits because the crowd laughs at them.
So, teens often drop these interests or exchange them for riding around in cars and hanging out at the mall. B. Even worse, teens have to give up their own values and mock the people who stay interested in such hobbies. Against their better instincts, they label as “creeps” the girl who is always reading books or the boy who spends after-school time in the biology lab. C. Most important, giving up private Pleasure during these years can mean that the teenager loses these interests forever. It may only be as an adult that the person wish he or she had kept up with piano, ballet, or astronomy—and feels it is now too late to start again.
IV. Finally, teenagers sometimes give up the people they love in order to be accepted. A. If necessary, they sacrifice the old friend who no longer dresses well enough, listens to the right kind of music, or refuses to drink or take drugs. Potential boyfriends and girlfriends may be rejected, too, if the crowd doesn’t like their looks or values. B. Sadly, teenagers can even cut their families out of their lives. They may be ashamed of the parents who are too poor, too conventional, and too different from friends’ parents.
Even if the teens are not completely ashamed of their parents, they may still refuse to participate in family get-togethers or spend time with younger brothers or sisters. V. It is true that many teenagers face the pressures of being forced to take drugs, to perform dangerous stunts, to do risky things. A. But a more common and perhaps more painful pressure is to conform to the crowd by giving up part of oneself. Attachments to learning, to special interests, and to special people are often thrown away must to “be one of the guys. “