For teens, peers are everything. They can decide what music you listen to, who you hang out with, and even how well you do in school. Parents are often reminded of the negative aspects of peer pressure and bullying, but what is often overlooked are the positive influences peers can have.
At every age, we are influenced by those around us, both positively and negatively. Teenagers are more susceptible to influence, however, as their decision-making skills are only starting to develop. They are drawn to the immediate rewards of behaviors and do not always account for possible risks, especially when given little time to process their choices. Just as peers can negatively influence in the moment decisions, they might also provide sound reasoning in crisis.
The positive aspect of friendships
Adolescents, just like adults, gravitate toward peers that have similar interests, backgrounds, experiences or skills. It might seem like your son or daughter is overly conforming to her friends, when in reality they were very similar to begin with. Peers can encourage each other to get good grades or avoid negative situations. Your child might even join a volunteer group or sports team, so they can spend more time with peers.
Wilderness therapy offers social development
Peers can lead teens to try new activities and provide support while facing obstacles. During a wilderness therapy program, teens are faced with many obstacles, both internal and external. They will try new activities and learn new ways of relating to others. When a teenager realizes that they are not alone and that their peers have faced similar issues, they are more inclined to not give up. Sharing in new experiences also creates a deeper connection to others that can result in learning social skills such as empathy, leadership and encouragement.
Group therapy for teens introduces positive peer relationships
Group therapy for teens leans on the understanding that though peer pressure can play a part in high-risk behavior, a group of peers can also help a teen overcome emotional and psychological challenges. According to research done by the University of Nebraska, group therapy for teens can “provide safe venues where youth can explore their identities, where they can feel accepted and where they can develop a sense of belongingness.”
Although peers can have both negative and positive influences on decision-making, it is ultimately up to the individual on how to act. Group therapy for teens not only promotes positive relationships, but also helps individuals work on personal struggles and increasing their self-esteem.
To learn more about group therapy for teens and the benefits of positive peer relationships, call a staff member today at 844-413-1999.