Teenage life: Teenage is the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood that occurs between 13 and 19. Teen years are a period of intense growth, not only physically but also emotionally.
It is a time when teenagers have to cope with hormonal changes, puberty, academic and social challenges, parental pressure, emotional volatility and so on.
What are common teenage problems?
Here’s a list of some common teenage problems that they face:
1) Teenage bullying: Bullying is a “deliberate” behaviour that is done on purpose to make a person feel intimidated, threatened or powerless and is often ongoing.
Teenage bullying is very common in high schools. It is not always physical. Bullying can be of different types, including emotional and verbal.
Teenagers can face torments from their peers on a daily basis. Bullying occurs when words or actions are repeatedly used to harm someone’s well being or belittle someone. The teen years can be difficult for those who experience bullying. They can feel isolated and afraid of the repercussions if they speak out or seek help.
The rise of social media use by teenagers has made bullying much more public and pervasive. In modern world, “cyber bullying” is a common type of harassment that teenagers experience.
2) Teenage Depression: Teen depression is a mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. Hormonal changes, academic expectations, peer pressure can bring lots of ups and downs among teenagers.
But for some teens the lows are more than temporary feelings — they are symptoms of depression. It affects how a teen thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems.
This is reflected in mood swings, aggression, depression, anxiety, and sometimes even a complete breakdown.
3) Self-esteem and body image: A teenager’s self-esteem is determined by how the teen feels about himself or herself. Teenagers also perceive their self-esteem by how others value them. Body image contributes to how teenagers feel about themselves.
During the transition from childhood to adulthood, they can become self-conscious about their bodies. As teenagers continue to grow and their bodies are morphing into new shapes and sizes, they struggle to come to terms with their bodies and get comfortable inside their own skins.
Many teens also become overly aware of imperfections such as blemishes, pimples or extra weight.
Girls may start to feel conscious about their figure. In boys, change of voice and appearance of facial hair is perhaps the most prominent change that takes place during teenage years.
While body growth, height, weight and several such factors are often beyond the control of the teenager, they are nonetheless a part of their self-esteem development.
4) Stress: Stress is a normal part of life and as a teenage problems and can be caused by several things. There’s academic pressure, not to mention sports and other extracurricular activities.
On the social front, a new horizon opens up before teenagers — dating, partying and hanging out with friends. A teenager learning to juggle all this is under a lot of stress. The teen is suddenly expected to act like an adult.
They are expected to manage their work independently, make right decisions and manage their finances. The pressure makes them more prone to anxiety and stress.
5) Cyber addiction: Today’s teenagers have never lived in a world without Internet. Teenagers spend hours on phone, texting, talking or simply playing Use of Internet have become an obsession and often this obsession turns into an addiction.
Problem arises when real life takes a back seat and online life becomes a reality for some teenagers.
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be great ways for teens to connect with one another. While benefits of social media can never be denied, there are lot of risks too. Social media can expose teens to cyber bullying, slut-shaming, unhealthy images and unsavoury people.
While there are measures being put into place to reduce the risks children face online, it’s important for parents to get involved. The advent of social media has affected teenage lifestyles the most.
Teenagers addicted to the Internet tend to have fewer friends and a less active social life. Addiction to cyberspace also cuts short their physical activities, resulting in an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle. Internet addiction also adversely impacts academic performance.
6) Alcohol and drugs: Teenagers are most vulnerable and can be easily swayed to the wrong side. Substance abuse is one of the biggest problems that parents of teenagers have to deal with. Peer pressure is one of the factors that drive teenagers to take up smoking and drinking or to do drugs.
What may start as a “thrill” for teenagers can become a habit if it remains unchecked. If there is somebody who smokes or drinks at home, they can become your teen’s role models. Both alcohol and drugs can damage a teenager’s developing brain.
Many teens do not recognise the dangers of drugs. Teenagers often underestimate how easy it is to develop an addiction. And they don’t understand the risks associated with overdosing.
7) Peer-pressure and competition/ teenage problems in school: Peer groups play an important role in the life of teenagers. Teens want to be accepted among peers and become popular. “Peer pressure” refers to the influence that these groups can have on how an individual thinks and acts. Teenagers worry about fitting in.
When teens get the message that they don’t fit in and don’t belong here, it can lead to feelings of isolation, disconnect and depression.
8) Social and parental pressure: Teens try to control their lives and strive to find independence in whatever way they can. Since teens are trying to learn how to be an adult and navigate the world without parental supervision, a common problem arises between parents and children.
Keeping the balance between letting your child make choices and keeping them safe is like walking a tight rope.
9) Teenage defiant behaviours: Certain level of teen defiance is developmentally normal and should be expected. A teenager’s defiant behaviour is reflected sometimes in sarcastic backtalk or a covert broken rule.
Sometimes it escalates to slammed doors and desperate tears. But if a teen’s negative behaviour starts to control parents’ lives, it’s time to be cautious and change the parenting approach and tackle defiance in productive ways.
10) Underage physical relationships: Parents should talk to a teen about it, even if they don’t think that their child is engaging in such activity.
Teenage problems and solutions:
Let’s take a look at a list of teenage problems solution by which parents can help their teenage children to come out of their problems:
1) Early identification: Be careful if you notice that your teen seems withdrawn, experiences a change in his sleep patterns, or develop eating disorder or starts to perform badly in school.
Parents should not delay getting help for teens if they notice these symptoms. Being vigilant towards these signs at an early stage may help to stop further damage and guide them towards healthy ways of dealing with their concerns.
2) Communication and safe space: Talk freely to your teen. Give them their space so that they don’t hesitate and feel comfortable to talk to you.
Parents should not shy away from having conversations with your teens on difficult subjects such as dating, drugs, alcohol or sex. A parent is the most influential person in the life of your teenager. It is important to lay a strong foundation.
It’s so important to talk to them to find out what is happening in their school and peer group, discover what they’re exposed to, and educate your kid about the dangers.
Make your teen aware about the dangers of drugs through conversation. Talk to your teen about bullying and discuss about options if they become a target themselves.
Guide them as a parent, but never decide for them. If your teen is facing cyber addiction enrol them in activities that encourage them to interact with others. Make them conscious of cyber safety and how to protect them from Internet.
3) Trust and acceptance: Make sure your kids are not afraid to come to you when they make a mistake. Demonstrate that you can listen without judging or overreacting and instead find healthy ways for them to make amends and move on.
It is important to build trust in your teens. Spying, cross-checking, doubting will hamper the bond with your children and lead to defiant behaviour like lying, hiding and being disrespectful.
4) Seeking help: It’s important to talk to your child about when and how to get help from an adult. Remind them that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but instead a show of courage.
Seeking professional help has become a common practice these days. Parents should be open about seeking professional help whenever the need arises.
5) Understanding transition: Parents should be sensitive towards their teens and understand that they go through a lot of emotions at this transition age. Teenagers look for validation of their feelings.
Parents should not judge or criticise them rather try to understand that they are going through puberty and certain changes in behaviour are normal for them. Parents should deal with teens through love and empathy so that they don’t get defiant.
Teenage problems with parents:
Teenage is the period when kids try to become more independent and while ding so they often start to separate from their mother and father. At this age they try desperately to fit in and they are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them.
Their peers often become much more important than parents as far as making decisions. This often results in conflict with parents.
One of the common features of the teenage period is the rebellious teen at odds with mom and dad. As teenagers mature, they start to think more abstractly and rationally.
They form their own moral code. Kids who previously had been willing to conform to parents to please them can suddenly begin asserting themselves strongly and rebelling against parental control.
Challenges faced by adolescents of 21st century:
In 21st century, teenagers are spending too much time on electronic devices. Due to advances in technology today’s teenagers are facing issues that were not faced by any other generations.
They experience new conditions like “fear of missing out” or “FOMO”, which leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation that can aggravate into depression.
Internet and online media have changed or amplified the struggles young people face these days. Social media has changed the way the teenagers communicate, date, learn, sleep, exercise, and more. Teens spend eight to nine hours a day on electronic devices.
Too much use of screen is preventing young people from in-person activities as a result of which in many cases it’s seen that teenagers lack social communication skills.
What can inspire teenagers?
Awards and rewards are two important things that inspire a teenager. But the thing, which is worth to remember, is all tasks don’t have an obvious intrinsic consequence that can be used as motivation.
Some school assignments are just there to be done. Learning what your teenager loves and what can motivate them make all the difference. Try to find out to what type of incentive your teen responds such as encouraging words, quality time, physical affection gifts or some other form of affirmation.
Motivation should come from within but as parent you can expose your kids to things that inspire them.
In the end it’s worth mentioning that though teenage problems are several and go through a lot of conflict, they are often energetic, thoughtful and idealistic with a deep interest on what is fair. Teen years are a period to help kids grow into distinct individuals they will become in future.