Effects of Cliques on Teen Identity
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Do you know the percentage of teenagers in America that are a part of a clique? Cliques have a tremendous effect on the lives of teens because they are a part of every teen’s life. A clique is simply a group of people that hang out with each other and usually have similar interests. Cliques have the greatest impact on teen identity because they give teens a sense of belonging and social cooperation, discourage new friendships, and suppress individuality.
Cliques give teenagers a sense of belonging and allow them to better their skills at social cooperation. When someone joins a clique, they are made to feel welcome and this boosts their social morale. “This is especially the case in teenagers that struggle with family issues at home”, says Lee Peck, from the Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. “School is the only shelter from the heavy barrage of fire coming from home, so when a group of friends offers an invitation into their clique, the teen jumps on the opportunity”, he says. Teens with issues at home typically have low self-esteem and are not skilled in social activity. Cliques allow individuals to learn these skills and become happier with themselves. A teen in a clique will start to adopt the habits and personalities of those in the group. While this can be bad when the habits get the teens in trouble later on, their personal awareness of who they truly are starts to shine, thus forming an identity.
Cliques can be detrimental to acquiring new friendships and forming identity in teenagers. “Cliques allow teens to be part of something, and while they may make some new friends at first, the group typically doesn’t let anyone they deem “uncool” to enter”, says Michelle New from KidsHealth. This is a huge problem in terms of identity because if teens follow the “restrictions” of the clique, they will be unable to make friendships that differ from the clique’s personality. For each new friendship, they will take in the similar qualities of the friend and add those qualities to their own identity. Friendships are an essential component to social growth in teenagers because they add a piece of identity to the individuality in every teen.
Teenagers involved in a clique may face suppression of their individuality. According to Kate Dailey from the Daily Beast, most teenagers are trying to find out who they are, and the “cliquish” labels help make distinctions about who they could be and who they are not. While these labels can be beneficial in forming identity, more often than not, they form an identity for the group. The teens in the group just take in those labels and feel as if they are not individual people. That is a minute form of a collectivist association, and those types of formations do not add to individualism. In the book Anthem by Ayn Rand, the main character lives in a society based on collectivism.
He is part of a giant “clique” where everyone must think and operate on a combined level. This is similar to a teenage clique because in both cases, the collective is labeled with traits that may not apply to the individuals involved with the group. Cliques may be made up of a simple group of friends, but they have extraordinary ramifications to teenage identity. Most teens don’t know that cliques can change the way that they think and act in positive and negative ways. Cliques have a very strong effect on teenage identity because they make teens feel felicitous for social collaborations, repress new companionship, and overpower the individuality of teenagers.
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Mandel, Joshua. “Social Life in Middle and High School: Dealing With Cliques and Bullies.” education.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. <http://www.education.com/reference/article/