Today more than ever, teenagers live in a world of influence.
Our choice of clothes, music, friends and idols are all subject to other people's opinions.
Sometimes the pressure to conform and become more and more alike shapes our mindset and challenges our freedom to think for ourselves.
Teens are vulnerable to the pressures to conform because we long for a sense of community and a feeling of belonging.
When we do such things as work out to achieve a certain body type, dress to fit into a crowd, or partake in things like binge drinking or using drugs, these are all side effects of teen conformity.
Why do teenagers feel the need to fit in with a particular crowd or to impress certain people?
The answer is that "in" crowds offer a sense of community and security that the teen may be lacking. Conformity can be a problem when teens are pressured by their peers into making choices they don't feel comfortable with.
So many aspects of today's teen culture: drinking, drugs, music, parties and appearance should all be personal choices. But in my experience, these choices are often decided based on the pressure of wanting to fit in.
A person shouldn't be forced to be someone they are not, nor should they be forced to do something they do not want to do.
Even though your friends don't realize it, they have probably pressured you before, and you to them.
A lot of the time these things go unnoticed.
It can be something as simple as passing your friend a bottle of alcohol or asking them if they want to smoke.
What teens don't realize is that a simple act that wasn't even meant to pressure the friend becomes a situation where the recipient is in a hot spot.
There really isn't a cure for peer pressure or a magic formula for developing a strong sense of self.
It will forever be difficult to say no to what everyone else is doing and do your own thing or be your own person.
For an eternity the words of your mother will echo, "If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?"
You won't ever be able to please everyone, but hopefully teens can start to realize it's better to have self confidence and personal choice than it is to compromise yourself in an attempt to impress others.