Conformity describes shaping actions and beliefs to align with the opinions and behaviors of others. Tweens, typically students in middle school, feel pressure to conform during the middle-adolescent years. Teens unable to develop a sense of autonomy to deal with peer pressures in middle school often continue with the struggle to create self-esteem and confidence in high school. Adults can help teenagers deal with the challenges by talking with teens and discussing the alternatives to conforming.
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Noted psychologist Abraham Maslow suggests a hierarchy of human needs, and one of the needs on the hierarchy is the urge to belong and be accepted by friends, family and peers. Teens want to belong to a family, but most teenagers also want to establish trust relationships with peers. Teens join gangs and cliques and select friends in an effort to feel a sense of belonging. One way teens achieve this sense is to dress and act like friends or members of the clique or gang. Conformity for some teens helps satisfy the belonging need.
Well-adjusted teens learn to be comfortable with personal choices. These teens develop the ability to make choices about what to think, how to act, and also to make individual decisions, without feeling stress when these decisions don't conform to peer or society norms, according to the University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. The pressure to conform doesn't end with the teen years, but people developing a sense of self during these years feel more conformable with themselves and have greater stability as adults.
Teens sometimes deal with the stress of conformity by withdrawing from others, including eating in the library during lunch or refusing to attend school social events. Teens unable to deal with the stress from isolation sometimes develop severe anti-social behaviors, such as attempted suicide, eating disorders and violence. Teens viewed as outside the accepted gender roles, for example, have greater risk for abuse by others, according to a study done by Andrea Roberts of Harvard School of Public Health. This study also finds the abuse contributes to post-traumatic stress disorder in the non-conforming teens.
Parents and family members help teens deal with the pressures of conformity by working with the teenager to develop coping skills. Teaching teenagers to accept diversity and develop empathy for others at home discourages teen involvement in negative activities against other teens failing to follow social and cultural norms. Discussing peer pressure and human differences allows teens to explore the variety of diversity in life. Teens feeling comfortable with personal decisions must develop empathy and compassion for teens still struggling with personal development. Professional groups and agencies, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Bully Project and the American Humane Association offer programs and activities to help teens deal with peers and the pressure to conform during the tween and teen years.
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Conformity:The Greek Society Essay
1111 Words5 Pages
The Greek Society
Conformity, on a daily basis we conform to the social norms set forth before us by our friends, family and past experiences. Group cohesiveness (the desire to which one has to be in and is attracted to the group) greatly increases conformity. Enter Greek life.
We have all seen them, parading down the halls, across campus, and in the Student Union. Strutting around with their number one symbols of pride across their backs or chests, on a sleeve, a pin or hat, GREEKS. Going Greek is a social decision as one enters college. You either are or are not a Greek, which creates a rather noticeable Ingroup\Outgroup situation,…show more content…
The conformity within the organization creates a similarity, a bond between the members.
It is funny, but sometimes as a Greek myself, I can hear myself, stereotyping people on the way they act, dress, look, etc., as to what Organization?s ideals I could see them most easily conforming to. Then as the ?good Greek? that I am I introduce these people to prospective Organizations where I think they would fit in, not really giving them a second thought as to where they think they should go. This is how some are influenced to ?conform? and join an organization.
Independents see Greeks as the ultimate conformers, people who all share one brain, a mob mentality of party-ers, and Frat boys, ?sorostitutes? and procrastinators. ?Just another brick in the wall? as Pink Floyd would say it. Most independents do not have a high opinion of Greeks, based on stories, rumors, movies, and the ?Animal House? images. Their particular view of the so-called ?In-group? it not usually one that they long to be apart of. They do not see Greeks as the ?Ingroup? they view their own particular ?cliques? as the ?Ingroup? they want to be a part of. Independents chose not to conform to the standards set forth by ?founders? they have never met and never