As a woman who works in schools every day, I’m well versed in the teenage art of argument and negotiation. There are those teens who try to reason with me to get what they want and those who use insults, whining and pressure to do the same. Can you guess which teens fare better with me?
A recent study published in the journal of Child Development has found some interesting results regarding teens and peer pressure when it comes to arguing. Turns out that teens who “talk back” to their mothers with reasoned arguments rather that whining or insults are less likely to be influenced by peer pressure. The researchers call this type of arguing productive arguing.
Other factors that influenced a teen’s ability to resist peer pressure include:
- Their independence or autonomy
- Their parents ability to trust them to make their own decisions
- Their ability to stick to their values in the face of someone challenging them, like a parent
- Their ability to turn to their mothers under stress
- Support from their mothers at home
- Friends who do not engage in drug and alcohol use
The study was two-fold. First participants, 184 seventh and eighth graders from urban and suburban populations in the Southeast, answered questions about drug and alcohol use and their friendships and social acceptance. Then while being observed in a lab, teens and their moms were asked to discuss a topic that would prompt argument like money, grades, or household rules.
Peer pressure is something every teen will experience in their life. Giving them the tools to resist negative peer pressure cannot be ignored. According to this study that might mean giving teens the freedom to argue and make their case at home when it comes to issues where their parents might disagree. Turns out that learning to argue productively at home, may help a teen argue against using drugs or alcohol with friends.
What do you think about the study? Are teens who “talk back” at home more likely to resist negative peer pressure from friends?
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Photo credit: Photo by Iskir used under a Creative Commons license.