Aggressive Criminal

Teens could be peer pressured into breaking the law

On Behalf of | Juvenile Law |

Peer pressure can be very powerful, especially for young people, and it may even start at a younger age than many parents realize. Some experts note that you can see examples of peer pressure in children who are just two years old.

But as those children grow up, this peer pressure continues to increase in importance. For teenagers, being accepted as part of the social group feels like a critical part of their daily experience, especially at school. If teenagers feel like they can impress the group by breaking the law – or that they will be ostracized from the group if they don’t go along with it – then they may engage in illegal activities that they never would’ve considered on their own.

What are some examples?

One of the most common examples is alcohol use. Teens will often feel pressure to drink, even though it’s illegal. This is especially true if they’re at a social gathering where everyone else is drinking and they don’t want to feel like the only person who isn’t doing so.

A similar example is drug use. For instance, many teenagers go to college and have never used illegal drugs before. But they find that these are easier to obtain on college campuses, especially because they have more unsupervised time, and so they could begin experimenting with these substances to fit in with this new peer group at the university.

Finally, teenagers are sometimes pressured to do things like shoplifting. They’ll do this even when they don’t need to shoplift – they have enough money to buy the item. But if the group is shoplifting for the “thrill” of it, they may go along with it. 

Teenagers who are facing criminal charges, along with their parents, must know about all of their defense options.