— Two new studies find that teens' perceptions of peer freedom predicted their own desired levels of autonomy, and that teens consistently overestimated the actual levels of their peers' autonomy, assuming that others had more freedoms than they did. The first study looked at 500 youths in 6th through 9th grades and in 12th grade; the second followed up on the 6th and 7th graders a year later, when they were in 7th and 8th grades.
What does this mean? Basically while young people are growing up and trying to define themselves and the level of freedom they feel they should have, and arguing about this with their parents, thay base there ideal situation on their perceptions of their friends and schoolmates. Unfortunately for themselves and their parents they consistently overestimate the amount of stuff their friends are allowed to do.
So that age old argument of "but John's parents let him stay out to that time!" may not reflect the truth but really does reflect what the guy saying it believes.
You can read up on the study here:
- Christopher Daddis. Desire for Increased Autonomy and Adolescents’ Perceptions of Peer Autonomy: “Everyone Else Can; Why Can’t I?”. Child Development, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01587.