Influential Factors

Other than that of peer pressure, the influence of the media, television, radio, and music play an important part in the accountability of the youth of today. Many pop stars portray a carefree lifestyle, paying little or no attention to what the results of their actions will be. Teenagers spend up to seven hours a day watching television, and older teenagers spend more than seven hours a day listening to music or watching music videos. There is a great amount of sexual innuendo and sexual activity portrayed in the media, and most of that sexual activity is between unmarried people.

Youth who watch television shows with high sexual content -- like music videos and soap operas -- tend to have more liberal sexual standards. They also believe their peers are more sexually active than do those who do not watch such shows. Studies have shown that adolescents who are not exposed to media promoting cigarette smoking are less likely to begin smoking. The same study also indicated that a child is less likely to begin smoking if his peer group does not smoke. A home contract would be well advised to include friends that are acceptable and exclude activities with friends that are not.


Divorce

One key factor that plays into families struggling with a defiant youth comes from the disruption that takes place when the parents are divorced. The ramifications of this tragedy are manifested in many ways. A child that is thrown into the middle of a divorce will many times become discouraged, despondent, and will in many instances rebel and turn from any type of family connection. It is safe to say, however, that in some cases a divorce may actually help a child if there is a lot of contention and strife in the home prior to the separation.

In most cases, however children from a divorced family should be watched very carefully by both parents to see that they do not fall in with the wrong crowd and become an at-risk youth. Parents of children involved in a divorce should never use the children to get back at their ex.