Many articles on the Internet address teen concerns and challenges. Most of those articles are written not to emphasize that adolescence means trouble, but rather to provide support for parents of teens as well as to teens themselves.
And the same is true with this article. The following list isn’t provided here to say that these are the troubles of all teens. But, if a teen were struggling with one of the following concerns, perhaps he or she won’t feel alone in that challenge.
For instance, it’s common for teens to experiment with smoking cigarettes. Because parents, teachers, and even peers might object to smoking, a teen might alone in his or her desire to smoke. And yet, smoking might bring a relief of anxiety or depression which might keep a teen smoking despite the disapproval from friends and family.
Therefore, the following list is a means to provide support, to show teens that they are not alone in the challenges they face.
Smoking – A study found that nicotine receptors in the brain actually improved mood in certain types of depression. At the same time, this study also found that teens who smoke are more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who do not. Depression is associated with an increased risk for smoking, and research has found that smoking is often a behavior that depressed teens and adults engage in as a way to self-medicate. Learning this can perhaps encourage teens to find another, healthier way to feel better.
Underage Drinking – There are many health risks that are associated with early drinking. When teens begin to drink they are vulnerable to addiction and relapse, as well as to psychological illness, including depression. Studies indicate that when teens or young adults leave addiction treatment, negative feelings and thoughts lead to relapse. This led researchers to believe that negative emotional experiences (depression) are associated with drinking relapses. And because teens are often faced with a range of intense emotions, drinking can be one way to manage those intense feelings. Parents can encourage their children to find other coping mechanisms to manage feelings rather than fulfilling the need to drink.
Bullying – When teens are faced with knowing that being different from their peers could bring consequences, such as bullying, it could squelch their need to find their identity, to play with their own creativity, and to deepen their strong need as a teen to discover the uniqueness of who they are. Sadly, the amount of bullying that goes on among teens runs the gamut from minor teasing to losing lives.
A teen’s sense of self is fragile; it is timidly developing at this stage of life. Despite the outside pressures and influences, having the opportunity to reflect on who they are, what they would like to be, and what is important to them can facilitate growing self-worth and strong self-confidence. Teens can avoid bully by believing in who they are.
Peer Pressure – Resilience is a psychological quality that can assist teens in curbing peer pressure, knowing when to make the right choices, and avoiding risky behavior. For instance, resilient teens are those who have learned to manage stress effectively. They tend to be those who have healthy relationships with adults, easy going dispositions, and inner resources that position them to move easily into adulthood. Building resilience is easy enough with specific activities that each teen can implement into his or her lifestyle. These activities include building strong friendships, getting good sleep, exercising regularly, maintaining limited use of technology and the Internet, and developing emotional awareness.
Body Issues – It’s common for teens to discuss what they would like to change about themselves, whether it’s losing weight, changing their hair color or even having plastic surgery to correct what they believe to be a flaw. Many teens have a belief that they are ugly or deformed in some way, when in fact they look normal. Or they might believe that they are fat when this is far from the truth. Body issues are common among adolescents. If this is true, seeking the support of an adult, mental health professional, or counselor at school is recommended in order to avoid facing this challenge alone.
These are common challenges that teens face, but they don’t have to be obstacles. Most teens have a wide number of adults available to them whom they can talk to and discover ways around these challenges so that they can become who they are meant to be.