Who teens are 'hanging out' with, who their friends are, and the general attitudes of the communities in which they're is involved can have an enormous effect on the attitudes of young people, especially as they become adolescents. Peers can play a serious role for either good or evil in a teen's life, so don't hesitate to take some defensive measures if you don't approve of your child's friends or environment. You have the right to not only veto a child's choice of who he or she associates with, but also insist that your children and their friends spend time together only under your roof or with an adult on the premises. Another way to help regulate those who influence your child is to find programs that reflect your family's faith and values, and encourage your child to participate. Teens need to know that their peers aren't the ones who are necessarily looking out for their best interest, and they should learn how to make decisions for themselves, based on the values and ethics you've taught them. Teenagers can be heavily influenced by the fashion and entertainment industries. Unhealthy peer pressure can lead to becoming involved in such activities as joining gangs, having sex, and using tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. It can lead girls to develop eating disorders. Adolescents are searching for a clear sense of identity. If their only source is their peers, the consequences could be serious.
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