Adolescent Development and Behavior
The relationships adolescents have with their peers, family, and members of their social sphere play a vital role in their development. Adolescence is a crucial period in social development, as adolescents can be easily swayed by their close relationships. The extreme influence peers can have over an individual makes these relationships particularly important to personal development. Peers begin to help the adolescent understand the existence, formation, and specification of personalities. Research shows there are four main types of relationships that influence an adolescent: parents, peers, community, and society.
When children go through puberty, there is often a significant increase in parent-child conflict and a less cohesive familial bond . Arguments often concern new issues of control, such as curfew, acceptable clothing, and right to privacy. Parent-adolescent disagreement also increases as friends demonstrate a greater impact on the child. This is especially true when new influences on the adolescent are in opposition to parents' values. Social media now plays a role in parent-adolescent disagreement, as the advent of the internet has now become a complex place for children to navigate.
While adolescents strive for freedoms, the unknowns can be frightening for parents. Although conflicts between children and parents increase during adolescence, they are often related to relatively minor issues. Regarding more important life issues, many adolescents will still share the same attitudes and values as their parents. Adolescents who have a good relationship with their parents are less likely to engage in various risk behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, fighting, and/or unprotected sex.
High quality friendships may enhance a child's development regardless of the characteristics of those friends. As children begin to gain bonds with various people, they start to form friendships, which can be beneficial to development. Strong peer groups are especially important during adolescence when parental supervision decreases and interaction with peers increases. Adolescents associate with friends of the opposite sex much more than in childhood, and tend to identify with larger groups of peers based on shared characteristics.
Peer groups offer members the opportunity to develop social skills such as empathy, sharing, and leadership. Peer groups, or cliques, can have positive influences on an individual, such as academic motivation and performance. They can also have negative influences via peer pressure, such as encouraging drug use, drinking, vandalism, stealing, or other risky behavior. Susceptibility to peer pressure increases during early adolescence.
While peers may facilitate positive social development for one another, they may also hinder it. Emotional reactions to problems and emotional instability have been linked with physical aggression among peers. Both physical and relational aggression are linked to a vast number of enduring psychological difficulties, including depression.
On a larger scale, adolescents often associate with crowds, or groups of individuals who share common interests or activities. Often, crowd identities may be the basis for stereotyping young people, such as "jocks" or "nerds. " In large, multi-ethnic high schools, there are often ethnically-determined crowds as well. While crowds are influential during early and middle adolescence, they lose influence during high school as students begin to identify more individually.
Community and Society
There are certain characteristics of adolescent development that are more rooted in culture than in human biology or cognitive structures . Culture is learned and socially shared, and it affects all aspects of an individual's life. Social responsibilities, sexual expression, and belief system development, for instance, are all likely to vary based on culture. Furthermore, many distinguishing characteristics of an individual (such as dress, employment, recreation, and language) are all products of youth culture. Culture, in this case, is not synonymous with nation or ethnicity.
Differences between families in the distribution of financial responsibilities or provision of allowance may reflect various social background circumstances and intrafamilial processes. These are further influenced by cultural norms and values. The amount of time adolescents spend on work and leisure activities varies greatly by culture as a result of cultural variations.