Tweens look to peers over adults for advice
Tweens have a reputation for shrugging off the advice offered by adults and listening to their friends instead, and now there is evidence to support this belief.
Researchers asked individuals between the ages of 8 and 59 to rate the riskiness of a situation and then were shown how others evaluated the same situation before rating the situation again. They found that the advice given by an adult was more persuasive to kids, teens and adults, except for those between the 12 and 14 years old.
These tweens were more likely to trust the advice of their peers.
“Many tweens do not want to trust adults,” says Dr. Aaron Traeger, pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Ill. “It seems that nearly everyone goes through that, and this is not something that just happens overnight.”
Among tweens, there was a 25-percent change in their rating of the situation based on adult influence, but the influence of teens was nearly 30 percent. Overall, the ratings of children (8 to 11 years old) changed the most after learning the opinions of others, while the opinions of adults (26 to 59 years old) changed the least.
Parents should be very intentional from a very young age about establishing a healthy and trusting relationship, Dr. Traeger says. They should ask questions and spell it out that they are there to help with anything they need.
“That way, when they are actually in need of advice they will know where they need to turn,” says Dr. Traeger.
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