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The peer group has been described by some experts in development psychology as a collection of persons of approximately the same age who tend to feel and act alike. It begins as a group form for the purpose of games later on, this group change into a body to which the individual member assumes the duty of determining to some extent standard of behavior for its members.
The concept of adolescent as a psychological complex stage of development worth of the scientific study did not really emerge until the declining years of the nineteenth century.
Also early in the twentieth century a Stanley hall, founder of American Psychological Association and further of the scientific study of adolescents as a period of great "storm and stress" as well as of great physical, mental and emotional potentials.
However, an adolescent has been described as a transition from childhood to adulthood. Adolescent is the period of human development between the on set of puberty at around 12 years and the attainment of physical adult maturing at around 21 years.
During adolescent period, the person`s inner state is constantly under stress and this in turn, is reflected in his behavior and reactions which positively or negatively can affect his academic performance.
The conflict within himself, especially during the early period revolves around not giving in his wish to enjoy childish satisfaction but to try out new ways of dealing with stress. The main stress revolves around the adolescents` efforts to become emotionally independents of the parents/teachers.
He begins to feel that thoughts, wishes, and actions are no longer determined by the expectations of his teachers and parents.
Contemporary peer group now become important in deciding what is acceptable or unacceptable by its members. It is a period of "action in" or "action out". To sum it all, adolescents are identity fixing wises.
There are many places where these peer groups (mates) hang around as gangs. They practice such games as boxing man-o-war, karate, girls guide and engage in other activities like drinking, smoking, and planning strategies and attack against their opponents.
Recently, parents, teachers, educators have complained about the attitudes of adolescents in our society. Some seem to appreciate their zeal toward emancipation while other rebukes their ways and neglects of norms of the society.
Besides, it has been observed that most crimes among youths are committed by adolescents. They find it difficult to listen to the advice of their parents/teachers. They seem egocentric.
The adult sees the adolescents deviating from the societal norms. The adolescents find it difficult to stay at home and help in the running of the house instead they are found in the running of the house instead they are found in groups among their peers.
The success and the failure of our children (Adolescents) in academic performance in our society today are greatly influenced by the peer group.
Hence the choice of course/career to read, the choice to school/university to attend; the choice of clothes, the hair cut to make are mostly determined by the influence of peer group.
Parents/ guardians sometimes in an attempt to have control over their adolescent (children) or disengage their children from their peer group, relocate their family from one location (area) to another, change their business/occupation in order to cut off their children from their peer group.
This article is therefore a wake-up call for all parents and guardians, teachers, and government as a matter of urgency and importance to have compound interest on our children (adolescent).
The type of friends they keep, the type of peer group, the type of activities, the type of clothes and hair cut their children makes. Hence the saying "the child is the father of the man". The children our walking stick and leaders of tomorrow.
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