Raising a child during their teenage years is a challenge. Teenagehood is a pivotal time where our children will need more guidance and encouragement than any other age. As parents, we shouldn’t be afraid of a teenager’s emotions, impulsivity, or rebellious tendencies, but instead, learn to understand them and why they happen. Remember when you were in their place?
These are five problems and issues teens face, and ways that we can help them:
Depression and anxiety
A teen’s life is constantly packed with things to do: homework, studying for tests, having a part-time job, extra-curricular activities, socializing with friends, and trying to find the time to relax in solitude! Simultaneously, they deal with unique circumstances of their personal life. As a result, a teen’s life can be very overwhelming at times, and they may have no idea on how to start coping with the activities mentioned above. Possessing no idea how to balance all of the above can drive them to depression and anxiety.
We should encourage them to speak about their issues and concerns to either us, a professional, and friends, and at the same time, introduce them to healthy coping mechanisms for stress, such as exercise and meditation. Teenagers experience emotions and stress in a more amplified manner in comparison to adults. It’s just in their inherent nature! Furthermore, we can help them create a realistic schedule that manages time more efficiently but still leaves room to have fun.
Substance experimentation and abuse
Teens use substances for the following reasons: curiosity, peer pressure, and boredom. But a common problem for teens is their lack of knowledge on the impact of substances. They assume that substances are harmless and aren’t aware of the potential long-term consequences. How could they? Majority of their peers may partake in drugs and alcohol and illustrate no signs of suffering anything negative from doing so.
We need to educate them on the subject of substance experimentation and abuse. Teen addiction and substance abuse are more common than they realize. With the education and knowledge of how drugs and alcohol affect the body, mind, and one’s future, teens can make better and informed decisions when in the situation of being offered substances, and learn to prioritize their personal well-being over the desire to follow the crowd.
Technology and cyber addiction
Today, the world is filled with numerous technological advances and branches of social media. Teens will naturally be a part of that culture since their generation grew up with the technology. However, while technology and social media have their positive attributes, such as enabling one to communicate with a loved around the globe or access sources of information at the tip of their fingers, they have a fair share of negative qualities as well. Social media is saturated with endless amounts of photo-shopped images and perfect photo feeds, and using their technology without moderation can transform the habit into an addiction. Furthermore, they also have the ability to open the door for cyberbullying, a form of bullying makes it easier to harass someone without any physical consequences of confrontation.
Give your teen restrictions on their technology and social media use, and warn them of cyberbullying and to never bully someone themselves. What they see on their feeds is nothing but the highlights of another person’s life. No one possesses a perfect life, and the idea of having one is unrealistic. Teens need to know that social media has the power to make them create unrealistic expectations of themselves and their lives, and ultimately, life is better experienced when there’s not a phone in front of their faces all the time.
Teenagers act on their emotions, which heightens their negative thoughts. There are numerous reasons as to why a teen would have low-self esteem, but the most common would is as having the habit of berating themselves after making mistakes or being imperfect. It’s painfully normal for them to feel they aren’t good enough or adequate.
To start, teach your teen to begin speaking to themselves with kindness rather than criticism. Getting lost in a negative thought cycle is unfortunately easy, but the negative thoughts they have aren’t genuinely true. They are good enough. Remind them that mistakes and failures do not make them any less of a person; those things make them human. They will learn from their past experiences and become better people because of them.
Finding their authentic identity
A teenager is in the limbo between being an adult and a child, and attempting to find their identity in conjunction with juggling school, work, and social life will be confusing. They want to be accepted and fit in with their friends, but at the same time do the things that actually make them happy, even if that may not agree with the current crowd.
Encourage them to pursue any interest they may have and focus on their strengths. You never want to hold back a teen from participating in what makes them feel fulfilled and happy. Additionally, tell them to choose friends that care about their well-being over their “coolness” and supports them through difficult times. It’s important to remind teenagers that they should never discredit what they value or find important. Most of all, the opinion they have of themselves matters most at the end of the day, and it should be something they are proud to be.