Peers play an important role in teens social development. As adolescents become less dependent on parents and other adults, most become more involved with peers.
There may never be a time in life when the need for acceptance is greater than during adolescence. Not making the volleyball team or not being invited to a classmate's party can be devastating. As they form their identity, teens may place great importance on the acceptance and admiration of their peer group. During this time, there is a tendency for teens to conform to the ideas and behavior of the group. They may listen to the same music and watch the same television shows. This is especially true in the early teens years.An adolescence's conformist behavior can upset parents, who worry that teens will forget their many years of careful guidance. Such worries are often unfounded. Often, a teen seeks out a peer group that shares some of the same values.
During adolescence, most teens gain experience being part of a couple through dating relationships. Young teens may spend more time thinking about their appearance and how to be noticed than actually dating. The rise and fall of romantic relationships can bring emotions that are difficult to control. However, such experience give teens a better idea of what to look for in someone to marry. Some teens do marry, especially older teens, but marrying young does increase the risk of divorce.
The most important peers in a teen's life are a select few. These close friends are the individuals with whom teens share their secret dream and fears. A teen will tell things to a best friend that he or she would never confide to a parent or other adult. Having at least one close friend helps a teen navigate the trials of adolescence. Because friends are free to speak their minds with one another, adolescence can learn from a close friend how to alter their behavior or ideas. More importantly, they can do so without fear of rejection present in a larger group of peers. Having a best friend also gives adolescence someone to " sound off " to about things that are worrying or angering them.