Nov 10, 2017 in Sociology

Conformity

Conformity is an act of measuring the beliefs, values, and attitudes to norms of a certain group (Clasen & Brown, 1985). Group norms usually guide the nature of interactions amongst adolescents, who tend to conform unconsciously to the expectations of their peers. In the adolescent stage of life, peers are of great influence on peers and increase conformity among their groups. In a larger segment of the adolescent’s life, peers take the place of the family in as far as the adolescent’s activities are concerned. The peers take a pinnacle position in relation to the adolescent’s leisure activities, education and social life. Teenagers share their relationships by interacting with peer groups to which they oblige concerning activities or values. Most adolescents conform to pressure from their peers, which enables them to fit in and be liked by the members of these groups. Such adolescents are usually controlled by the fear that their friends might make fun of them in case they fail to conform to the group’s expectations. Other adolescents conform to their peers’ influence because of curiosity. This makes them experiment on what other people do. The notion of ‘everyone else’ conducting themselves in a certain way is enough reason to influence the adolescents to commit certain acts (Raising Children Network, 2013).

In adolescents’ development, interactions with their peers as well as attractiveness to gain appraisal amongst their peers increase. The rapid growth in the adolescent’s social, physical, and emotional changes makes them question the values and standards of their parents. Most of the time, they usually rely on their friends for some advice. They consider their friend’s pieces of advice to be more sympathetic and reassuring than that of their parents because they reason that their friends are more understanding. When adolescents experiment on new standards of behavior of their peers, they are in fear of becoming inferior (Raising Children Network, 2013).

Adolescents usually conform to their group’s values not to face rejection. There are a number of factors which contribute to the conformity among adolescents. They include popularity among their peers, which implies that adolescents develop a feeling of an urge or pressure to act in certain ways considered as popular by their friends (Brown et al., 1986). Peer pressure together with the popularity relate to precipitation of conformity among different groups. Gaining popularity among peers make the adolescents perform acts that they consider will make them likeable. In this case, the adolescents do not face pressure directly from their peers, but it might happen from their personal volition.

Fear of sanctions can make most adolescents adopt certain courses of action not to face sanctions among their friends or peer groups. Therefore, adolescents perform acts which can be deviant, so that their friends will not dislike them. Adolescents are usually under pressure to experience certain situations, for example, getting drunk and smoking among others to impress their friends (Brown et al., 1986)

External factors such as media influence can also contribute to the conformity of adolescents to feel pressure from their peers. Most types of media such as social networks and television influence the way adolescents perceive acts, which may put them in a vulnerable position. The combination of media, parental and friend’s expectations is of great influence when determining conformity of adolescents to their groups.

In conclusion, conformity among adolescents increases in the course of their development because they interact more often with their peers. Fear of sanctions, popularity among peers and other external factors contribute to this conformity. Clearly, conformity normally peaks during the adolescent age mainly because of peers’ influence.

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