PEERS CONFORMITY AND ADOLESCENT SMOKING BEHAVIOR
After some time ago I discussed about self-concept and adolescent smoking behavior, now I will discuss about peer conformity in relation to adolescent smoking behavior.
We all know, that peer group is the second environment after the family that influences the lives of teenagers. Peer group is also adolescents’ main source of reference in terms of perceptions and attitudes that related to lifestyle.
And what teenagers often do is conformity to their peers. Conformity arise when adolescents imitate the attitudes or behavior of their peers to change beliefs and behavior in accordance with the group norms as a result of real or unreal pressure.
Conformity is often adaptive because a person does need to conform to another person and also because the other person’s actions can provide information about the best way to act in certain circumstances.
The following are the factors that influence individuals to conform:
1. Group size
The larger the number of group members, the bigger the effect on individual.
Cohesion is a feeling that is owned by the group members where they feel an interest in the group, the more a person is cohesive with the group, the greater the effect of the group on the individual.
In a group, when someone has a high status, they tend to have a greater influence, while people who have a low status tend to follow the existing influence.
4. Public Response
When someone is asked to indirectly answer a question in public, the individual tends to be more conforming than the individual is asked to answer by writing.
5. No Prior Commitment
Someone who has decided to have their own stance will tend to change it when the individual is shown to the aspects of social pressure.
Adolescent conformity to peer groups is characterized by the following three things:
Adolescents’ close relationship with the group is caused by the feeling of liking between the group members and the hope of benefiting from their membership. The greater the liking feeling of one member to another, the greater the hope of benefiting from group membership, and the greater their loyalty, the more cohesive the group will be.
Self-adjustment will be done by adolescent to their peer group. Adolescents do it to be considered compact by their friends. Adolescents will also pay more attention to their friends, the higher the level of attention in the group, the more serious the level of fear of rejection, and the less likely to disapprove of the group. The high conformity occurs because members are reluctant to be called deviants because deviations pose a risk of being rejected.
The opinions of peer groups that have been made have strong pressure, so adolescents must be loyal and adjust their opinions to the group’s opinions. Adolescents who deviate from group opinions will cause a decrease in agreement which is an important aspect of conformity. If a teenager has a different opinion from his peer group, they will be ostracized and seen as a deviant, both in their own view and other’s views.
The pressure or demands of peer groups on adolescents make them willing to take action even though they don’t want it. If the obedience is high, the conformity will also be high. Peer groups will apply rewards, threats or punishments to change individual behavior as desired in the group, so it will increase the obedience. And one way to maximize obedience is to put the individual in a controlled situation, where everything is arranged in such way so it will make disobedience is almost impossible to arise.
So if it connected with smoking behavior in adolescents, the higher the conformity to the peer group, the higher the smoking behavior, as well as the lower the conformity to the peer group, the lower the smoking behavior. Various facts also reveal that the more adolescent smoke, the more likely their friends are smokers too.
So what should we do with our teenagers who are smoking?
1. Find out the reason why your child smokes
If your child is already smoking, find out the underlying reasons why they’re doing this. After they told you, make sure to not immediately scold them, because the child will distance their self and become increasingly closed because the fear of judgment from their parents. It would be better if you give them some advice, slowly so that they can really absorb and obey it.
2. Educate your child about the dangers of smoking
Create awareness in children about the dangers of smoking, both for themselves and people around them. Tell your child about the bad things that would affect their body as a result of smoking. Emphasize too that smoking can damage their appearance, causing bad breath, wrinkled face, bad body odor, and yellow teeth.
3. Pay attention to the association/society
As a parent, it’s a good idea to identify with whom and in what environment your child spends a lot of time. Get closer to them by asking about their friends.
4. Make a family common rules together with them
In this case you can approach not as a hierarchical parent position. But, use a communication approach that can help you positioning yourself as their close friend or a reliable friend. Make a firm statement in principle, that the family environment you foster is an anti-smoking environment. A consistent time and advice you given will make your child more open to you, as the process matures on their self
Ok moms, good luck