Social pressures can cause a teen girl to become obsessed with her physical appearance.

The Effects of Social Pressures on Teen Girls

by Kristen Moutria

If you are the parent to a teenage girl, you are likely aware of how important her friendships are to her during this stage of life. Mary Pipher, psychologist and author of "Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls" states on the Family Education website that adolescence is a time when a teenage girl feels social pressure to put who she truly is aside and only display a small portion of her identity. Knowing more about the effects of social pressures on teen girls will enable you to understand what your daughter is experiencing as the opinions of her friends become of the utmost importance.

1. Obsession with Physical Appearance

Social pressure may cause your teenage daughter to be obsessed with the way she looks. According to child development experts at the Teens Health website, the early teen years are a time when adolescents become aware of celebrities and media images, as well as the appearance of other kids around them. Comparison is not uncommon, and your teenage daughter may hold herself up to an impossibly high standard as she compares herself to airbrushed models. The social pressure of needing to look beautiful can be overwhelming.

2. A Less Authentic Self

Social pressure may lead a teenage girl toward a less authentic version of herself, at least to the outside world. The Family Education site reports that an adolescent girl has two choices: she can try to fit in with the crowd or remain true to who she is. Oftentimes these do not go together, as she will have to surrender her values in order to fit in with people she perceives as her friends. She is not emotionally or cognitively equipped to deal with this pressure and may become frustrated as she tries to blend in.

3. Poor Decisions

A teenage girl may make poor decisions as a result of social pressure. Experts at WebMD report that there can be serious risks involved with peer pressure, such as physical harm to herself or someone else, violation of the law or even jail time. Consequences of premarital sex may be unwanted pregnancy, and too much to drink may lead to a serious or fatal car accident. Poor decisions are not always the result of social pressure, but are much more likely to happen under the influence of friends whose opinions matter to your teen.

4. Depression

Your teenager may struggle with depression if she is completely wrapped up in social pressures. The Family Education website states that she may withdraw, become depressed or struggle with feelings of anger. Because social acceptance is of the utmost importance, a teenage girl will have to divide herself into two parts -- who she really is and who she appears to be -- in order to fit in. Having to act one way around her friends and one way by herself is enough to cause stress and sadness.

Resources

  • How to Say No and Keep Your Friends: Peer Pressure Reversal for Teens and Preteens; Sharon Scott

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images