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Teens Dealing With Moral Decisions

by Martha Holden

Teens are required to make many difficult decisions in an environment marked by peer pressure, media influence, identity crisis and transition into adulthood. It isn't easy to make moral decisions given the external influences, and adolescents are often torn between conforming to them and making the right decisions. Most parents don't understand their children’s underlying dilemmas when it comes to behavior, problem-solving and decision-making.

Peer Pressure and Identity

Teenagers must decide whether to follow what their peers are doing or stick to their personal values. The dilemma is aggravated by the uncontrollable urge to belong and be accepted by peers. Teenagers risk seclusion when they choose to go against negative outcomes that define a certain peer group, including drug use, bullying or sexual behaviors. Teenagers want to live by positive values while at the same time, gain acceptance and approval of peers. However, the two often don't go together and teenagers have to make the difficult choice.

Relationship with Adults

Relationships with adults such as parents often become strained during adolescence. The absence of positive parental influences harms the connection of a teenager with his parents. As a result, a teen finds it difficult to decide on whether to have a relationship based on respect and cooperation or to follow in the steps of absent or abusive parents. In addition, when parents are either absent or physically or emotionally abusive, a teenager lacks proper guidance on how to make positive decisions.

Sexual Relationships

Whereas most teens feel their bodies are ready for sexual encounters and emotional or physical development allows them to be attracted to the opposite sex, young people are exposed to several perils when it comes to sex. Teens’ choices include weighing between doing the right thing by waiting for the appropriate time or seeking sexual gratification while being exposed to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and feelings of guilt. The ability to make moral decisions is made more difficult by the fact that most people around them, including the media and peers, tend to promote sexual engagements.

Social Responsibility

Society has its own norms, values and expectations that every member is supposed to conform to. As teens become adults, they try to identify their place in the social setting, and they must cope with societal expectations and responsibilities. However, teens also have their personal identity, self-awareness and standards. It becomes a moral decision for teens on how to relate their personality to the societal expectations and responsibilities. Some of the expectations might not make sense to them and therefore, decision-making must take place to establish the degree of conformity while evenly realizing societal changes.

About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.

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