Teens and peer pressure: what you need to know

Pictured: Dr. Damian Scarf, senior lecturer from the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago. Photo: Supplied.

On September 10, the Wanaka Alcohol Group (WAG) will be hosting Dr. Damien Scarf from the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago to discuss peer pressure and the teenage brain.

A recent survey conducted by the Wanaka Alcohol Group and Mount Aspiring College showed that 29 percent of parents experienced pressure from society in general, and 24 percent experienced pressure from their teenagers. On top of this, some parents noted that they felt pressured to give their teenager(s) alcohol for parties or other events.

In order to aid parents and teens in managing these kinds of pressures, Scarf will discuss the challenges of self-esteem, social media, alcohol, drugs, youth brain development and practical parenting tips. Parents will also have the opportunity to share their own experiences in a collaborative forum and connect with others in the community facing similar issues. 

Alex Walton, a local parent said, “I worry about teen access to alcohol, the environments they may drink in and the associated risks with underage drinking.” Given that just under 15 percent of youth nationwide aged 15 to 17 engage in hazardous drinking (Ministry of Health, 2018), the WAG would like to emphasise that these are important conversations to be having both at home and in the wider community. Jo McArthur, a WAG member, agreed strongly with this, and encourages those interested to come along to the event. “It would be great to all be on the same page and research will be a good place to start.”

The event is one night only at the Lake Wanaka Centre from 7pm until 9:15pm. Tickets can be purchased at eventfinda.co.nz.


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