The Ones Who Really Matter

As you may well already know, many of today’s teenagers believe that the only means as to gain the social acceptance that they so dearly yearn for is to succumb to the overwhelming calamity that is known as peer-pressure. It astonishes me that in today’s society, if a child doesn’t fit into the socially acceptable “one dad, one mom, 2.56 kids, one dog” stereotype of an average American family, he or she is by default a “social outcast”. In order for today’s teens to “fit” into any of the social circles, they have to give in to the many pressures that are placed upon them by the mainstream.

In all honesty, what many consider to be the social outcasts actually make up the majority of the society today. In the U.S. alone, the average divorce rate is almost fifty percent, and same-sex couples with children average almost fifteen percent. Another issue is money. The median U.S. household income in 2010 was $49,995, although almost 90% of Americans make much less. Many teenagers in America today are extremely stressed by these factors, and many more than possible to name. This leads them to become insecure, and may even lead them to do things that under normal circumstances would be unfathomable.

The one thing that almost all teens have given in to is peer pressure. Teens, especially those in high school, are statistically more likely to ingest drugs, consume alcohol, and commit crimes. This is commonly linked to peer-pressure. Many of the social cliques that are present in today’s society are exclusive, requiring those who wish to join to perform a certain task. Many in high schools consist of paying money, cheating on homework, or petty theft. Many teens that are considered outcasts would do almost anything to “fit-it” with the popular kids. Many go to extremes, spending money on expensive clothing and jewelry to make themselves appear rich. This is not where my problem lies.

My problem lies solely in the fact that the masses of teenagers believe that they are unacceptable, and, in order to be part of mainstream society, they have to change their identities. I know for a fact that this is not true. I myself grew up in a broken family, my parents’ divorce happening in front of my own eyes, the eyes of a horror-stricken six year-old boy. Many have no idea how much children blame themselves for their parents’ problems; I blamed myself for my parents’ divorce until I was twelve. There are many more with stories similar to mine, and I, as well as they, have been influenced by peer-pressure and the longing to be in a clique. In my struggle to fit in, I have unintentionally changed who I was as a person.

Honestly, in my distraught pursuit to fit-it with the “cool kids”, I have found that most cliques aren’t even worth struggling to get in to. My advice to teens like myself is to just surround yourself with friends who accept you for who you are, because, In the long run, those are the people who really matter.




“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind
don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss





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