The Impact of Society and Family Life on Adolescent Behavior
JINS: Drugs, Society, Crime and Treatment
June 21, 2012
In today’s society, there are many factors that can influence adolescent behavior and their potential to use and abuse drugs. The people that adolescents are surrounded by are largely responsible for the learned behaviors and actions that they partake in. Their parents, siblings, and peers are the most influential source of these learned behaviors. I believe Goode (2008) states it best when saying that, “the defining quality of drugs stems not from what’s inside or intrinsic to substances, but from what is external to them, what’s imposed on them by the society” (p. 30). Adolescents are easily influenced by what they see and hear from those around them, and even though genetics and internal behavior can play a part in drug use, I believe that society holds the highest role.
Everyone is searching for social approval and acceptance in today’s society and even more so by adolescents in a time of confusion and wanting to “fit-in” with their peer social groups. In an article from The Washington Post (1988), it explains how in general people want happiness, and for today’s youth, happiness includes fitting in with their peers and that “if you are not with the social crowd then you’re a “nobody” and “nobodies” are not happy” (p. 1). I believe that the social need to be popular and to have “cool” friends, puts a lot of pressure on our youth to conform to those around them, including the use of drugs and alcohol. I can remember as an eighth grader at my middle school, the cool thing was to be “straight edge,” or in other words, the complete absence of all drugs, alcohol, and even cigarettes. I can also recall how at the other middle school in my town, all the kids were the complete opposite. The Rockwood Valley kids were all “druggies” while all the Wildwood kids were “straight edge.” These behaviors were influenced solely by the people...