Teenagers confront real problems on a daily basis during the most awkward growth stages of their lives usually between 13 and 19-years-old. During this time, teens are imperiled to some overwhelming external and internal struggles. Teens go through a lot and are expected to cope with hormonal changes, puberty, social and parental forces, work and school pressures, as well as encountering many other conditions and problems. Teens feel overwhelmed when faced with unprecedented stresses regarding school and career confusion situations. Those who have absentee parents are exhibited to more unfavorable situations of life.
As a matter of fact, all of these problems are connected to one another, like a chain reaction. When teens face self-esteem and body image problems, they may become frustrated, following eating disorders. The teens start feeling stressed when they are exhibited to peer-pressure and competition at school or maybe child abuse at home. Many teens start drinking and smoking in order to alleviate stress. There might be chances that some of them may get addicted to playing computer games or chatting online with strangers.
Moreover, many teens feel stressed when they get bullied online. Those who cannot get love at home or support at schools start to build relationships with friends in school or even online, resulting in unsafe or underage sexual relationships, and possible teen pregnancy. Many become addicted to drugs and thus harm themselves as well as others.
The problems that teenagers face today vary but these issues can be dealt with efficiently if parents and other guardians can understand the symptoms of their problems. Parents need to approach their children, who have been undergoing one or more teenage difficulties, carefully and in a friendly manner to discuss these issues. There are many teens who feel misunderstood. It is quite essential that their feelings and thoughts are validated and that the validation comes from their parents.
There are some most common problems that are faced by teenagers. Few are listed down below:
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Teenagers undergo and have to cope up with numerous body changes. Some teenagers might feel too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, etc. This feeling leads them to spend time wishing that they were not too skinny, too short, their hair was not too curly or vice versa. The problem with this outlook is that it affects their self-image. As a teenage boy or girl’s body changes, so does their own self. When they do not like something in themselves, they have roused themselves to self-esteem and body image problems. They also perceive and want others, especially schoolmates, to view them as they view themselves. They can hurt themselves more from these problems when they have trouble adjusting.
Hormonal changes have huge impacts on the general growth and mood of the teens. It leads them to have an influential attraction for the opposite gender. One may live in denial but this is a fact. Puberty changes tempt teenagers to compare themselves with people around them and when they feel that they do not match their standards, they tend to feel low. Due to the rushing of these hormones, they also compare themselves with those seen on TV, in movies, or even in magazines. Most youths’ capacity to develop positive self-confidence is influenced by family life and parental criticism. Teenagers who experience negative comments about their appearances, the way they talk, etc, sometimes leads to self-destruction.
Teens will often act similarly to their friends to fit in with the social circle. Peer pressure can influence teens in a variety of ways, both positive and negative. For example, peer pressure can influence everything from the way a teen dresses to the activities they prefer to do. Teens may also undergo peer pressure because they think “everyone is doing it.” For example, if they see a crowd of popular peers dressing a certain way or experimenting with alcohol, they may think that it’s okay to do this as all of their peers are doing this.
Bullying is one of the worst teenage problems and concerns millions of youths. Bullying generates fear in the minds of kids and makes them nervous going to school each day. The adults do not always witness bullying in their lives. The teenage children may be subject to heavy bullying as they may not realize how extreme it can get. Any form of bullying is ruthless, causing the affected teenagers to live in a state of persistent fear. Two of the main reasons teens are bullied are their appearance and social status. Bullying has caused several serious and life-threatening problems for bullied teens. As they get bullied often in school, their academics and mental health suffer a lot.
Bullying can be cruel when it turns out physical attacks on the victims. Some bullies attack their targets physically while others repeatedly spew verbal insults, affecting them psychologically.
The latest version of bullying is cyberbullying. It can get as severe as it gets in the real-life experience of teens. Cyberbullies use cruel instant or text messages, emails, and voice messages in many cases. Bullying is very offensive conduct and crime. They eventually get discarded by their peers, lose friendships, and become depressed as they age. Parents, teachers, and people, in general, should teach their teenagers about bullying and tell them to report any deed of bullying to them.
Depression is one of the most serious problems that some teenagers suffer from and it can lead to more major problems in the future. Depression may start from poor self-esteem and body image problems. If that is the root cause of depression in a teen, then parents should talk to their teen, listen to them, comfort them, and accept their child for who they are. It is crucial that teens feel validated in their beliefs and thoughts because what they are going through is a genuine part of their lives. Parents and guardians should not decide or criticize their feelings or thoughts. They should discuss with the teen how powerful it is to have high self-esteem and be comfortable in their body.
Depression symptoms in teenagers may be shown in various ways. Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, losing interest in regular and healthy activities, dropping grades in school or college, and preferred isolation all are signs of depression. When teenagers show one or all of these symptoms parents should take action immediately. If teenagers start talking about their depression, then they should be empowered to express their feelings, and parents should respect their feelings by listening to them without interrupting the conversation.
The Internet provides undeniable benefits in developing a teen’s capability to grow with modern technology, technical approaches, knowledge, and other major skills. However, using the internet, particularly social networking websites, unsafely puts teenagers at extremely huge risk for many problems. When children spend more than enough time online they tend to become cyber addicts. As they kill more time on social networking, gaming, and other websites, they suffer from cyber addiction.
Cyber addiction can be precisely as harmful as addiction to drugs or drinking alcohol. Teenagers who spend an unhealthy amount of time on the Internet or online suffer from a significant addiction disorder. Those who have such conditions may undergo distress, withdrawal symptoms including obsessive thoughts, shiverings, and other mental and physical difficulties. Cyber addiction depreciates the quality of their lives. Parents should talk to their children and agree on a certain list of rules that clearly say when to use the internet, which sites they should visit, and what safety measures they should follow. Teachers can also assure safe browsing of the web at schools for teenage students.
How can parents prepare their children in order to face these issues?
- Have a dialogue and avoid monologues. If ever you have to give advice without a response from the other side, keep it very short.
- Understand their challenges.
- Teenagers are looking for friends. If you can’t be one, they will find someone outside.
- It’s better if you could just talk less and listen more. Just like any of us, teens also want to be listened to with respect. Try to be a “safe” and available person for your child to talk to. That doesn’t mean that you have to give your opinion, letting your teen talk openly (without interrupting), gives them a chance to hear their own ideas played out loud. It also presents a window into their problem-solving strengths and limitations. You can use it to assist them.
- They are facing some physiological changes. It is not easy to manage them especially when they can’t understand what these are all about. Give them some time to discover and get comfortable with these changes.
- They might seem to be interested in the opposite gender. Talk to them about it but also let them handle it by themselves. Asking your children to suppress the same, may not help. Only acceptance and understanding of the same will help them to take control of it.
- Every teenager wants to grow and be a better person. But if they don’t get proper guidance from someone who can understand their specific problems and can empathize with them, they lose track.
- Compassion and acceptance from parents will go a long way in helping them overcome typical challenges. Be with them. And if possible, be their best friend.
Dilemmas that teenagers are faced with today are multifarious but interrelated in many instances. One problem invites another, then to more. Parents, teachers, and other guardians should be well knowledgeable of the problems that today’s teenagers are facing and be prepared to eliminate the problems. The sad fact is, even in a solid and stable family, teenagers may face ambiguity, confusion, and wrong directions involving their lives. Those who have witnessed and undergone broken homes, unsafe sexual intercourse, alcohol, drug abuse, and bullying issues, try to show themselves differently in the community they live in. Proper parenting is vital, especially in the very formative years of the children, so that they can grow up with the demeanors and teachings taught by their parents.