Mount Morgan high school student Carmel Fox at a youth forum hosted by council yesterday.
Mount Morgan high school student Carmel Fox at a youth forum hosted by council yesterday. Allan Reinikka

Pressure of peers, a place to fit in

EVERY weekend these Rockhampton teenagers see dozens of their school mates binge drink, pass out, get into fights and miss days of school.

And it's not only alcohol, but peer pressure and drugs that have teens strung out.

As Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday announced he would launch a nationwide discussion about ways to improve the lives of young Australians, these teenagers were already gathered at Rockhampton Showgrounds discussing ways to improve.

Teenagers from schools across the region joined in a youth forum hosted by Rockhampton Regional Council, focusing on leadership and group work.

They told The Morning Bulletin life wasn't easy as a teenager and that there were a lot of things putting pressure on senior students.

Year 11 student Carmel Fox, from Mount Morgan State High School, said the biggest pressure on teenagers was finding a place to fit in.

The 16-year-old said peer pressure and the transition into high school was a whole new ballgame for young people and the only solution was time to gain confidence in yourself and find the friends you wanted to be around.

Yeppoon State High School 17-year-old Clare MacCormack said the biggest issues for teenagers were binge drinking and teen pregnancies.

Clare, a year-12 student, said there were large groups of students her age who drank too much on weekends and either got into fights or passed out at a party.

She said teenagers were falling to peer pressure and doing things they regretted the next day.

Clare said girls she went to school with had dropped out after they fell pregnant and had to start jobs at 14 or 15 years old.

All the students yesterday agreed the best way to make it through school was to keep a close network of friends and people you could trust.

Carmel said having at least one person to confide in would make the world of difference.

KIDS IN CRISIS

On Tuesday we reported a third of Rockhampton kids were at risk of self-harm, suicide or involvement in crime or anti-social behaviour. Child therapy specialist Stephanie Holmes revealed a new program to rescue dysfunctional young people.

On Wednesday CQUniversity's Professor Kevin Ronan said young people appeared super-confident and were often brash, cocky or aggressive. But he said beneath the mask they were insecure, confused and troubled.



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