Conformity vs. Independence
Your Way or Their Way
Humans are social animals. It is natural for us to want approval from
our peer group (people in our social circle). The way we try to
get peer approval changes as we grow up.
Most younger teens want to be just like the peer group they're part of,
or the group they want to be part of. Being "different" is generally
not seen as being cool. This includes copying everything from dress, music,
food consumption, and what backpack to carry. All of this may seem extremely
important. Hey, anyone who looks or acts different is weird!
Conformity Is Cool or Is It?
Being like everyone else is seen as the "norm," though peer
pressure to do certain things doesn't necessarily go with the territory.
For example, just because everyone dresses alike and loves the Chicago
Bulls doesn't mean that everyone will smoke cigarettes and drink beer in
seventh grade. People still are able to make their own individual choices,
and they will depending on their self-esteem.
How's Your Self-esteem?
If you feel good enough about who you are then you'll chose what's good
for you even if your best friend chooses something different. So if you
hang out with friends who choose to get "high" rather than do
their homework, or to shop lift rather than "window" shop, remember
who you are and which values
What Are You Into?
Teens start focusing on individual areas of interest as they move toward
high school. Your identity as an artist, writer, environmental activist,
actor, student politician, athlete, musician, dancer, computer brain, etc.
may start developing at this point, too. You find yourself connected to
a new peer group. You may also start conforming more to the styles and
norms of that group!
Things change a lot in high school. Sure there are certain cliques
(tight social circles), and definite interest groups, but conformity
to dress codes, etc. are no longer the driving force of life. (Thank
goodness!) Figuring out who you are and what you like is encouraged.
Independence and non-conformity are respected! Now it is "cool"
to be different. In fact, as you mature throughout life, free thinkers
are seen as the most interesting people rather than merely freaks or weirdoes.
Don't Forget Who You Are.
Your taste in clothes, hair, music and stuff will change, but the kind
of person you are determines the choices you make throughout life. Be aware
that every situation has its good parts and bad parts. Then you'll be able
to make thoughtful choices to help you stay more in control of your life!
Remember.... now and always...
Be true to yourself and your values.
D O I N G I T
M Y W A Y