Why is peer pressure so intense in middle school?

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Why is peer pressure so intense in middle school?

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Peer pressure intensifies in Middle and High School for a couple of reasons. I think the most important of which is that our kids are at a time where kids are sensitive and they are asking that question: "Who am I?" "How do I fit it?" "What makes me special and important?" Here we change their community. All of those fundamental, basic human needs are intensifying and the way in which we go about getting those needs met, all those social rules, they change very dramatically. So that hunger to fit in and belong is being brought into a community that is simply fallen away from us and being reconstructed in front of us. I think the other piece that's important is that the old behaviors that used to bring us that sense of belonging and importance, have begun to fall away. Getting that good grade no longer holds the same social currency that it might have held in 6th Grade. All of a sudden, the goal becomes being "cool." I have to remind my young people that being cool, ultimately, means being less warm.
TEEN, Social Life, Peer Pressure

Watch Jonathan Nadlman, MFT's video on Why is peer pressure so intense in middle school?...

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Jonathan Nadlman, MFT

Psychotherapist

Jonathan Nadlman, MFT, is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice since 1995, and has been counseling adults, couples, young people and their families for twenty-four years.  For the past seven years, he has been teaching Human Development and puberty as a rite-of-passage at many independent schools. Jonathan was the supervising therapist at Pacific Hills Middle and High School for six years. In addition, he is a facilitator of rites-of-passage workshops for adolescents teens and adults.  When he is not working, he can be found trying to change wood into art, learning his djembe, or in the garden with his wife and seven year old daughter. Or on occasion, if there's a swell, riding the California surf.

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