Key to Teen Social Success Found
Bryner, Senior Writer
posted: 15 May 2008
Some teens are known by all
to be popular. Others only feel popular. Both groups fit in equally well socially, a new study suggests.
"Teens' perceptions of their
own social success may be a crucial predictor of long-term social functioning," said lead researcher Kathleen Boykin McElhaney,
a psychologist at the University of Virginia, "such that even teens who are not broadly popular may demonstrate positive adjustment over time if they maintain a positive internal sense of their social acceptance."
To arrive at this conclusion,
McElhaney and her colleagues had more than 160 teenagers report on measures of their perceived popularity, including social acceptance
and ability to make friends. Each teen's popularity and other social factors were gleaned from interviews with friends (hand-picked by the participants). All teens completed the surveys at age 13 and
again at 14.
Teens who reported fitting
in, regardless of peer-rated popularity, were less hostile over time and more frequently sought out by their peers than other teens. The same was true for teens considered popular by
peers, regardless of their own perceptions of popularity.
"When teens feel like they
fit in, their closer friends are rating them increasingly as more fun to hang out with," McElhaney said. "They do well over
time with their close friends."
The social misfits were the
ones who ranked low on both scales - perceived popularity and peer-rated popularity.
"Kids who are not on the radar
screen at all in terms of popularity at school, and who did not see themselves as fitting in, showed increases in how hostile and aggressive they were rated," McElhaney said. "They were rated less desirably as companions over time."
Popularity contests are generally
external battles, as one doesn't get to select him or herself as the cool kid. Research has reflected this idea, particularly in
studies of young kids, relying on peer ratings of popularity as the gold standard.
But perhaps, as the new study
are more complex creatures than their non-hormonal juniors.
"During adolescence, you have
to think about social acceptance and popularity more broadly, because teenagers' worlds
are broader than kids' worlds are," McElhaney said.
Unpopular teens may feel socially accepted in a church youth group or sports team.
The results, detailed in the
May/June issue of the journal Child Development, also may help teens justify the amount of time spent in the bathroom
primping for school or on the phone gabbing about, uh, nothing.
"Sometimes adults - parents,
teachers, guidance counselors - get impatient with how much teens can be invested in their social world," McElhaney told LiveScience.
"Part of what this data says is that they're invested in social worlds for a reason. We can't say if it's causal, but certainly
if a kid is not doing well socially, it's not a good sign."
The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
source site: click here
The following information i found makes me feel very sad. My own daughter who attends an inner city school
has been traumatized by violence in her school. The police are there everyday because of fights. While my daughter isn't
afraid to fight someone - or so she claims - she seems very traumatized watching others get hurt, bloody or even beaten close
to death. There have been several occasions when kids have brought knives and guns and other weapons to school with the intention
of hurting someone. I'd really appreciate it if after you read the following article you'd send me an e-mail with your
personal opinion about violence being acceptable and lying, cheating and the other problems mentioned in the article! I'll
leave a link to send me an e-mail to remind you at the end of the article!
National Poll: More Than 1-In-4 Teens Think Violent Behavior
is Acceptable; Many Say it's Ok to Settle a Score
Findings Underscore Continued
Need for Training in Ethical Decision-Making
(CSRwire) Colorado Springs,Colo. - December 15, 2008 - While today's teens
are learning the Three "Rs" of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic in school, new research shows that many are justifying violence
to practice a fourth - Revenge. In a youth culture where violence is often believed to be acceptable,
these and other findings not only present disturbing implications for school safety, but for the workplace as well, say experts.
A new poll of 750 teens from Junior Achievement and Deloitte and conducted by Opinion Research
shows that more than 1-in-4 teens (27%) think behaving violently is sometimes, often or always acceptable.
More students thought violence was acceptable than was:
And fully 20% of
respondents said they had personally behaved violently towards another person in the past year, and 41% reported a friend
had done so.
When the teens who agreed that violence was acceptable were asked more
specifically about rationale for such behavior, most noted self-defense (87%) and to help a friend (73%).
However, more than 1/3 said violence was acceptable to settle an argument (35%) and for revenge (34%).
Other justifications were:
Of considerable concern is that more than 3/4 or (77%)
of those who think violence is acceptable also consider themselves ethically prepared to
enter the workforce.
"It is highly troubling that so many teenagers have a self-image of ethical readiness and the
confidence in their ability to make good decisions later in life, yet at the same time freely admit to current behavior that
is highly unethical," said David W. Miller, Ph.D., Director of the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative, and professor
of business ethics at Princeton University.
"Employers will have their hands full if a quarter
of teens grow up still willing to resort to violence and other unethical behavior when it comes to making decisions about
how to settle differences, protect their interests or get ahead."
The poll also shows that teens feel:
Teens' feelings about accountability, coupled with self-reported unethical behavior, raises a potential concern among employers because ties within a community,
school, work environment or social network often guide behavior.
If teens lack accountability to others, the data suggests that their choices may be driven purely by self-interest, and not by interest in the greater
"The results of the survey reveal considerable ethical relativism among teens and raises questions about their
ability to make good decisions later in life," said Sean C. Rush, President and Chief Executive Officer of JA Worldwide. We're
understandably concerned about these results but recognize that they do point to a major learning opportunity."
survey results also show that many teenagers are lacking role models. Only about 1/2 or (54%) cite their parents as role models.
Most of those who don’t cite their parents as role models are turning to their friends, or they said they didn't have
a role model - which begs the question why more parents, teachers, clergy, politicians or business leaders are not viewed
as role models - and what society can do to improve this statistic.
"Teens need training in ethical decision-making,
practical tools and behavioral role models that help them understand not only how to make the right choices, but how those
choices will impact their personal success and the success of the organizations they join," said Ainar D. Aijala, global managing
partner, Consulting, Deloitte and chairman of the board, JA Worldwide.
"That is why Deloitte continues to support ethics
education in collaboration with Junior Achievement."
Junior Achievement and Deloitte offer "JA Business Ethics(TM)"
as part of their $2 million initiative to help young people make ethical decisions. "JA Business Ethics" was developed in
response to the needs of high school students; it provides hands-on classroom activities and real-life applications designed
to foster ethical decision-making as students prepare to enter the workforce and addresses issues such as:
Students examine how their beliefs align with major
ethics theories and learn the benefits and advantages of having a code of ethics. Additionally, Junior Achievement recently
updated the original "Excellence through Ethics(TM)" program, which is available online at www.ja.org/ethics free of charge and provides age-appropriate lessons for students
in grades 4-12.
At the high school level, the "Excellence through
Ethics" lessons include appropriate methods of conflict resolution in the workplace. For example, through role-playing exercises,
students learn how to overcome disagreements with co-workers by finding common ground.
This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted by Opinion Research
Corporation, among a national sample of 750 teens comprising 375 males and 375 females 12 to 17 years of age, living in private
households in the continental United States. Interviewing for this TEEN CARAVAN(R) Survey was completed during the period
October 9-12, 2008.The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.6 percent.
About JA Worldwide(R)
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young
people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement provides in-school and after-school
programs for students which focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Today,
138 individual area operations reach more than four million students in the United States, with an additional five million
students served by operations in 120 other countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.ja.org.
pleaassseeee!!!! send me an e-mail with your thought about the
Teen Girls Who Feel Less Accepted at School More Likely to Gain Excess
Craving acceptance and popularity is as much a part of being a teen as wanting to get behind the wheel or hoping to
catch the eye of the crush du jour. But a group of researchers recently found that how teen girls perceive themselves socially
can affect their outside appearances, too - and in surprising ways.
Looking at questionnaires
given to almost 4,500 girls (ages 12 to 18) over a 2-year period, a new
study shows that those who felt like they were unpopular were more likely to gain weight excessively.
The girls were asked to pinpoint
where, on a picture of 10-rung social ladder, they would place themselves when it comes to their own popularity in relation
to their peers.
They were asked:
"At the top of the ladder
are the people in your school with the most respect and the highest standing. At the bottom are the people who no one respects and no one wants to hang
around with. Where would you place yourself on the ladder?"
The researchers then used
the information the girls provided to calculate their body mass index (or BMI, which estimates
a person's body fat using height and weight measurements).
Over the 2-year follow-up
period, those girls who felt less socially accepted at the start of the study were significantly
more likely to gain an excessive amount of weight than girls who considered themselves popular at the start of the study.
This, say the researchers, may mean that girls' self-esteem and how they look at themselves in the social hierarchy of school can have a significant effect on their weight over time.
What This Means to You
The pre-teen and teen years
are often a time for kids to figure out how they want to fit in and how they want to stand out. And it's natural
for kids to identify with - and compare themselves with - their peers as they consider how they'd like to be (or think they should be).
And, although being part of
the "in" group may seem like the best possible place to be on the social ladder to children and teens, you can help keep their
views about popularity in perspective:
- Ask about their school's cliques and social dynamics. Discuss who's "in" and who's "out" (and why they think that is) and what happens when kids are "out" - are they ignored, shunned,
bullied? Find out about the school's cliques and which group(s) your kids think they're a part of. Ask teachers, guidance counselors, or other school officials
about the social climate, too. Challenge kids to think and talk about how their peers interact with each other and whether
they're proud of their own in-school behavior.
- Foster out-of-school friendships. Get them involved in extracurricular activities like art class, martial
arts, dance, community sports, horseback riding, language study, mentoring, volunteer work - any activity (or even part-time job) that gives them an opportunity to create another social group and learn
new skills they can enjoy and feel proud of.
- Find the right fit
- don't just fit in. Ask kids to think about their values and interests, and how those things really fit in with their group of friends. Let them know it's OK to stay true to themselves
- even if it seems "uncool."
- Keep social circles
open and diverse. Encourage kids to be friends with people they like and enjoy from all kinds of different
settings, backgrounds, ages, and interests.
- Encourage sensitivity
to others and not just going along with a group. Acknowledge that it can be difficult to stand out, but that
ultimately they're responsible for what they say and do.
- Emphasize that what's
most important is making true friends. Encourage bonds with people they can confide in, laugh with, and trust, who respect their opinions, interests, and choices, no matter how different they are. And the real secret to being "popular"
is for your kids to be the kind of friend they'd like to have: respectful, fair, supportive, caring, trustworthy, and kind.
When it comes to influencing
kids' social standing at school, parents' hands are often tied. But how kids perceive themselves - and how they fit into the grand scheme of things in school
and out - can affect how others perceive them, too.
To keep kids' self-esteem in tip-top shape, be generous with your affection, attention, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and unconditional love. Really listen to their opinions and show a genuine interest in their lives - not just as your kids, but as ever-maturing
people with their own goals, worries, hopes, and dreams. And acknowledge and redirect their false negative beliefs about themselves.
Let your kids know that you care and you're always there - and that, in your eyes, they're the most important, most popular people in your life.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2008
Source: "Subjective Social Status in the School and Change in Adiposity in Female Adolescents," Archives of Pediatrics
& Adolescent Medicine, January 2008.
source site: click here
Of course, the above article was written for parents to read about their teen daughters. But if you see that you've gained some weight or perhaps you've always had a weight problem - think about the main theme
of the article. Are you feeling as though you don't fit in with those girls who look like "toothpicks?"
I always had a problem with gaining weight. Even though I was a teenager in
the days of hippies and flower girlz and Mama Cass in the Mamas and the Papas... weight was still an issue. First of all...
my mother bought my clothes for me and my body wasn't like hers at all. She was tall and thin and barely ever had to watch
what she ate because she didn't gain weight easily. I was short and every extra pound showed up
in my booty unfortunately!
She bought my clothes at Casual Corner - if those stores are still around anywhere
- and she wanted me to have the "preppy look." I liked peasant shirts, long gauze wrap around skirts and jeans. So she would
comment about my butt being too big and then make comments about having to hem my pants because I was so short. I had a problem
with my body image from my own mother never mind at school.
So as a teen I never settled this issue with myself. I'm still bothered by it.
Please click on the teen daughter link above and go over to angels and princesses to read the "who are you?" page. Get your body image issues settled once and for all. Everyone is different - unique
- and valuable. We all need to learn how to love ourselves as we are.