Depending on their background and life experiences, many young people struggle to fully appreciate what kinds of behaviour are the norm for their peer group. A lack of stability and absence of role models can create confusion and uncertainty. Even knowing what the social norm is—what other young people of similar age and background are doing—can be a challenge.
Of course, knowing social norms may not have a positive influence. The effect on young people of discovering that many in the same age group have debts, for instance, could be to encourage them to think of indebtedness as natural and of little concern. The technique can be powerful. But it needs to be used positively.