It’s never fair to stereotype any group of people, including teenagers. Regardless of their social standing at this impressionable age, they all make their own choices and have a variety of options for the rest of their lives.

That said, studies have found that being popular and well-liked may actually pose a risk. It can lead to behavioral problems and even legal problems later on.

“Early adolescent pseudomature behavior predicted long-term difficulties in close relationships, as well as significant problems with alcohol and substance use, and elevated levels of criminal behavior,” noted the researchers who carried out the study.

That’s why some parents have said that they don’t know if they want their kids to be “cool” or not. On one hand, it’s nice to know that the child has a lot of friends and gets along with people at school. On the other hand, however, is that popularity worth trading in a potentially productive future?

There is also the potential for legal problems during their teen years. Will children work so hard to impress their peers and become — or stay — popular that they break the law?

Certainly, you can find examples of teens who have participated in shoplifting, bullying and underage drinking because they wanted to fit in. Teens are social creatures and they’re often willing to go to extremes to be accepted by their peers. That’s not always a good thing, as the studies have shown.

If your child does get arrested and winds up facing charges, be sure you know exactly what legal defense options you have.