Adolescence, as we have all heard, is the stage where you are trying to find your true identity. However, this process can be interrupted since teenagers also feel the need to blend in with their community. This urge to fit in, causes many teenagers to fall victims to peer pressure, as they feel obliged to follow the actions of another. One of the most common forms of pressure as a teenager, is the pressure to drink.
The level of drinking pressure varies in different countries and cultures. A tenth grader from Europe shared that in her culture, “drinking plays a big role, drinking is thought of as normal even for teenagers.”
In her home country at 16 you are allowed to drink and purchase beer and wine, “in a way causes teenagers to start drinking even earlier.” From her personal experiences, if you are in a place where many of your peers are drinking, you lose the choice of whether or not to drink, and instead are “expected” to drink.
Another student illuminated how drinking pressure as a teenager is a common theme in multiple countries. This 11th grader from North America demonstrated how in her home country, drinking pressure is very prevalent towards teens. “It’s not strange to find yourself feeling like you need to drink in certain situations in order to keep from standing out.” She shared that all of her friends back home drink, and frequently. “I think that the drinking pressure as a teenager is very high because being different isn’t appreciated.”
But one student had a distinct experience to share on the drinking pressures being a teenager in his home country. This particular 12th grader from Asia, demonstrated how in certain cultures the drinking pressure is very low. He shared that drinking in general isn’t an important aspect of his culture, and that he believes this is what prevent there being a strong drinking pressure for teens. “Drinking obviously takes place but you don’t get forced to step out of your comfort zone, you decide what you want to do.”