Teens today face a wide variety of social pressures. These pressures and the way that teens deal with them can have a significant impact on their psychological development as they grow into adults.

Some of the most prevalent social pressures that modern teens face include:

1. The Pressure to Fit In

Teens have a strong need to feel accepted and to feel like they are a part of a group. The pressure to fit in can affect everything from teens’ fashion and accessory choices to the people they hang out with to whether or not they start experimenting with drugs and alcohol.  For example, teens who have a friend who drinks alcohol are 1.89 times more likely to drink alcohol themselves.

2. Social Media Pressure

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat help people to stay connected. However, they also create intense pressure amongst many teens who feel the need to have impressive social media profiles that make them look “cool.” On these platforms, popularity and coolness are quantified in the form of likes, shares, and comments. Chasing popularity on social media can put a lot of pressure on teens. Also, social media platforms expose teens to the possibility of cyberbullying which can also be a big stressor.

3. The Pressure to Look Good

30 percent of teens say that they feel a strong pressure to look good. For many people, the teenage years are the most insecure of their entire lives. So, many teens have considerable amounts of stress regarding their looks. They constantly feel pressure to make the right fashion choices and to look fit. Many teens spend a lot of time altering pictures of themselves with filters to try to look better before uploading them to social media.


4. The Pressure to Be Sexually Active

Roughly 38.4% of high school students in America are sexually active. Many teens face enormous pressures to be sexually active. The pressure comes from a desire to feel more confident, popular, and mature. Many magazines, movies, and music directed at teens also emphasize sexual behavior, which can increase the pressure teens feel to have sex.


5. The Pressure to Figure Out Their Futures

Teens can often face huge pressure from parents, their teachers, their friends, etc. to figure out which direction they are going to take their life in. This can result in tremendous stress regarding academics. Teens have to try to get good grades and figure out if they will go to college, trade school, etc. Teens can feel an incredible amount of stress to try to figure out how they will transition from being dependent on their parents to being fully independent adults.


How to Help Teens Cope With Social Pressures

The better that teens are able to cope with social pressures, the more likely that they will be to thrive during adolescence and beyond, and the less likely that they will be to develop anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other health issues.

  • Be a positive force in your teen’s life; don’t just put pressure on them to succeed, give him or her praise for doing well and provide encouragement.
  • Make sure that they understand that they can always communicate with you and they are not alone to deal with their problems.
  • Try to avoid making negative comments about your teen’s appearance.
  • Model positive stress coping skills that they can emulate.
  • Give them guidance and help them to make key decisions about academics, their career path, and their future.
  • Considering restricting your teen’s social media use times to certain hours of the day so that they are not spending endless amounts of time on social media

Learn More About Teen Social Pressures With Our Course

Are you ready to learn more about all of the challenges that teens face from a social perspective and how you can help them to deal with these challenges? If so, contact us to learn more about our Parent-Wise course.




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  2. “Family Process and Peer Influence on Substance Use by Teens.” The National Institute of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3799532/
  3. “Top pressures facing teens that every counselor should know.” Walden University. https://www.waldenu.edu/online-masters-programs/ms-in-clinical-mental-health-counseling/resource/top-pressures-facing-us-teens-that-every-counselor-should-know
  1. “Top 6 Causes of Stress and Pressure.” LiveYourDream.org. https://yourdream.liveyourdream.org
  2. “Fewer American teenagers having sex than ever before.” Institute for Family Studies. https://ifstudies.org/blog/fewer-american-high-schoolers-having-sex-than-ever-before