All teenagers seem to rebel to a certain degree. For some, the rebellions are minor: dying their hair, listening to different music than their parents, or asking to get tattoos. For others, it’s more drastic: using drugs, having sex, drinking alcohol and breaking the law.
While the reasons for rebellion tend to be unique to each case, one thing that researchers point out is that many teens face outside pressure to rebel at a very young age. They say that this is happening to teens at a younger age than ever for previous generations.
In the past, many of these activities — illegal drinking or drug use, for instance — started in the late teens, around 17 or 18 years old. While peer pressure still played a large role, those teens were nearing adulthood. They could make their own decisions. Many could resist peer pressure.
Now, though, experts note that teens face a lot of the same pressures when they are really still children — at 13 or 14 years old. One researcher said that they were often “too young to resist” that pressure at that age. They would make poor choices based on influences in the media, pressure from friends or even pressure on social media.
If these researchers are correct, it could play a role in criminal activity by young people. A teen who is being pressured to break the law at 18 may have a better grasp of his or her future and resist, while a teen at 14 may follow the crowd and get arrested. Not only is it important for parents to know how age and influence play a role, but they also need to know what legal defense options exist after an arrest.