How Does Society Affect Behavior in Teens?

Medium Group of Teenagers in a Back Alley Watching Stunts on a Skateboard
Society plays a significant role in shaping teen character. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Society plays an important role in shaping an individual’s character. It helps shape teens' ability to live with other people, their ideas of wrong and right and their general outlook on life. As a parent, your influence is the strongest and often shapes your teen’s adult life, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network. Understanding the influence various aspects of society have on your teen helps you nurture your teen’s character and individuality.

Parents

Parents spend a lot of time with teens and influence them through their actions and words. Teenagers learn skills such as nurturing, socializing, and decision-making through observation and communication with parents. The relationship between teens and their parents influences their outcome in life. Involved parenting is more likely to prevent behavior such as drug and substance abuse or teenage pregnancy. Although teenagers may seem rebellious, they are likely to adapt the good behaviors as they mature.

Media

The media can have a positive or a negative influence on your teen. Teenagers spend a lot of their time on the Internet, watching TV, reading magazines and listening to music. Negative influencers in the media include violence, hateful or vulgar language in movies and music, explicit sex scenes, gender, religious or ethnic stereotyping, and unrealistic representations of success and body image. Alternatively, the media is a source of information for teens. It helps create cultural, political and social awareness in teens. Teens also get a better understanding of their environment and society.

Friends

Friends create a community that influences the decisions that your teenager makes. Friends may challenge each other to become better individuals or influence each other to adopt negative behavior. According to Valarie Ulene, writing for the Los Angeles Times, the influence friends have on each other may affect a teen’s performance in academics and sports, socials skills and decision-making skills. However, you can help your teen develop self-confidence and a sense of individuality through involved parenting and continuous communication.

Community

The community sets rules that help form your teenager's ideas of right and wrong. Teenagers have a better understanding of acceptable behavior and consequences of doing wrong, as set by communal laws. This understanding may help your teen choose the right behavior to avoid consequences like imprisonment. The community also helps create cultural and environmental awareness. Additionally, teenagers learn to care for the environment, their neighbors and the less fortunate by interacting with various members of the community.

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