Let’s be honest: Peer pressure probably still impacts your life as an adult. However, it is nothing like the pressure you faced when you were a teen.

At times, that type of pressure can be so intense that teens do things they don’t want to do, that they have been taught not to do their whole lives and that they know they shouldn’t do. This can include criminal activity, such as shoplifting, drinking, using drugs or even physically assaulting other children.

To understand how this happens, parents need to know why peer pressure has such a big impact on kids in the first place.

The root of the whole issue is simply that children have this inherent desire to fit in. They want acceptance. They want their peers to like them. Human beings are very social creatures. They always have been. This desire is very deep-seated and children give in to it without consciously thinking about what they are doing. It impairs their decision-making abilities dramatically.

That is why a child who knows he shouldn’t drink alcohol at a party will do it anyway. That is why a teen who knows she shouldn’t shoplift at the mall will do it when everyone else does. Teens hope they won’t get caught, and they take chances in order to fit in with those around them — no matter what those people are doing.

The unfortunate reality is that, no matter how well you raise your children, they could get arrested and accused of criminal activity. This is when you need to understand all of the legal defense options you have, especially since charges at this age can change the course of a person’s life.