Sample Economics Essay on “Peer Pressure for Teens Paves the Path to Adulthood”

“Peer Pressure for Teens Paves the Path to Adulthood”

            In the article, “Peer Pressure for Teens Paves the Path to Adulthood” that was published by the Wall Street Journal on 17 June 2013, Shirley Wang argues that peer pressure among teens is associated with the pleasure that teenagers’ brains derive from social acceptance by their peers.  In this case, Wang (n.p.) notes that there is gratification in being liked by others.  In trying to explain the peer pressure phenomenon, some scientists reckon that during adolescence, the activation levels of the brain’s reward centres in teenagers is higher than in adults, with peers acting as the activators. In addition, scientists argue that during adolescence and in the early 20’s, the frontal lobes, the part of the brain involved in decision-making, is still developing. This means that when faced with emotions as often peer pressure does, teenagers are less able to make decisions.

            Although peer pressure is largely viewed from a negative context, such as the influence by peers to smoke or take alcohol, it can, nonetheless, cause teenagers to engage in far more beneficial social behaviours. They include, among others, excelling in sports or studying harder.  The ability to resist peer pressure is thus a vital step towards self-reliance. 

            Resisting peer pressure among teens, which is at its peak at 15 years and seems to decline at 18 years, when teenagers become more assertive in making their own decisions, is a significant step towards their starting to think independently as adults (Wang n.d.).

            Researchers cite several attributes of teenagers who are able to resist peer pressure, including kids from families with high communication skills and low dysfunction, as well as popular kids.  Other kids just wish to be different, and are hence able to resist peer pressure. The so called “authoritative parenting” also prevents kids from falling prey to peer pressure.

Works Cited

Wang, Shirley. Peer Pressure for Teens Paves the Path to Adulthood. Web. 17 June 2013. Web.

            31 October 2014.