Problems that Teenagers Face Today
Teenagers and Body image
At the very outset they are struggling to come to terms with their body image. The cherubic appearance of childhood gone, they are looking at strangers in the mirror, gawky, disproportionate limbs, facial features, facial hair and acne to mention a few. They don’t know what to do with their hands and legs and are often termed ‘fidgety’
Search for Identity - the troubled teenager
I see teenagers as those struggling to find a place in society, be recognized by their peers and be accepted for what they are. This is the most important task of their lives at this juncture and they are faced with a lot of anxiety and insecurity as they work around this. I take my son as an example. My son is brought up to be respectful, helpful, kind, gentle, tolerant, follow moral and biblical principles of honesty, integrity etc. He has chosen to live by what he is taught. The struggle that I see each day is food for thought. Looking at the world around, these values are passé- this teen sticks around like a sore thumb because he is not like the rest of his peers - aggressive, pushy, vulgar, defiant and lack moral values, to name a few. His friends don’t accept him though they know that when they are in trouble they can find help here. He dares to be a loner because of his choice.
All around him, the media is not so subtly preaching that it is okay to do anything that makes you feel good. You are cool only if you have ‘things’ is what is shouted from housetops. The shows on television for this age group say all is fair in teenage - be it bullying, premarital sex, aggressive / violent behavior, breaking rules. What is the teenager learning? What is a teen to choose? Who is to blame? Is it their fault if they become are confused teenagers , defiant teenagers or out of control teenagers?
Problems Faced by Teenagers
Scheduling work and play
Teenage stress increases with school work and as they move higher, a number of projects to be done, tests to cope up with, professional choices to be focused on, drama, literary forums, sport and other extra curricular activities from the school front add to the pressure. On the social front, a new and tantalizing horizon opens up- dating, partying, hanging out with friends, vying for attention with the distraction of the media, sports, music, internet relationships etc. The teenager is under much duress to schedule time, prioritize work and achieve goals. Effective learning skills could be of great help to these teenagers.
High parental expectation Parenting teenagers is like walking on thin ice. Parents need to strike the right balance. Often times parents live their dream through their children this is when the pressure builds. Expecting the teenager to excel in academics, get good grades, be the child of their expectations – well behaved, responsible for themselves and sometimes for their younger siblings and bring in accolades from extra curricular activities - is in itself enough pressure.
Added to this is peer pressure. Teens, to be accepted among peers, feel the need to become more popular through other channels like music, sport and if need be by bulling and getting into school gangs… and are often under great stress to become acceptable and popular. Amid such hectic activity, the seeds of restlessness, anxiety, fear of failure, unbearable stress is all planted. The most immature and easy way out could lead them to other problem areas like formation of unacceptable habits, teenage depression, substance abuse, getting into trouble with the law etc.
Social and parental pressure
Every significant other adult around the teen is attempting to mold him / her into some acceptable shape. Parents, teachers, elders in the family, social groups are all party to this. The teen is hardly ever able to do what he / she wants to do with his / her life. Even though people do not push their views down their throats, they are still under a lot of strain because of the variety of suggestions given and the fear of failure. Frequently, teens arrive at decisions which conflict with their own skills or fields of interest.
The teen is suddenly expected to act like an adult, with good social and self- help skills in areas like managing work independently, decision making, managing their finances well, being responsible, etc. Though every parent complains about filthy bedrooms, untidy shelves and cabinets, smelly socks, missing stuff, I wonder where is the time! Their inability to handle pressure make them defiant in the face of expectations, more prone to anxiety, depression etc.
Problems of teenagers - Health and wellness
Teen health The eating habits of teens are poor and unmonitored. The girls are forced towards an anorexic look (to be popular) and the boys stuff themselves with unhealthy, fatty, high calorie junk food. Teen health is at high risk and its no wonder that this generation now is the victim of every health problem in the book. Wonder of wonders, they survive it all!!
Relaxation and rest. The most important and yet the most ignored item on the teen’s agenda. In an effort to do it all and be it all, the teen sacrifices highly on rest. It is a known fact that teens require about nine hours of sleep but at an average, teens get roughly about seven plus hours of sleep. This is one of the main reasons for performance being negatively affected.
Emotional health. Hormonal changes in the body add to the chaos of strain of scheduling, prioritizing, achieving, fulfilling parental expectations and conforming to peers’ expectation. The teen is unable to effectively handle all this is under considerable emotional pressure. This is reflected in mood swings, aggression, depression and sometimes even a complete break down of the individual. Here is where the skills of parent in parenting teenagers comes into play.
Searching for role models - who are their heroes?
In our schools we find the biggest bully, the richest spoilt brat lording it over all, the ones who break all rules (considered daring) are the most popular.
The media glorifies the people, especially in filmdom, sports, music etc and focuses on the negative aspects of their lives. Our children are fed on a diet that television programs and internet churn out, and are imbibing the values of their heroes as they see them portrayed in the media.
What you can do to feel better: Tips for depressed teens
Depression is not your fault, and you didn't do anything to cause it. However, you do have some control over feeling better. Staying connected to friends and family, making healthy lifestyle decisions, and keeping stress under control can all have a hugely positive impact on your mood.
In the meantime, you might need therapy or medication to help you while you sort out your feelings. Look into your treatment options with your parents. If medication is being considered, do your research before making a decision, as some antidepressants used for adults can actually make teens feel worse.
Try not to isolate yourself
When you’re depressed, you may not feel like seeing anybody or doing anything. Just getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult, but isolating yourself only makes depression worse. Make it a point to stay social, even if that’s the last thing you want to do. As you get out into the world, you may find yourself feeling better.
Spend time with friends, especially those who are active, upbeat, and make you feel good about yourself. Avoid hanging out with those who abuse drugs or alcohol, get you into trouble, or who make you feel insecure. It’s also a good idea to limit the time you spend playing video games or surfing online.
Keep your body healthy
Making healthy lifestyle choices can do wonders for your mood. Things like diet and exercise have been shown to help depression. Ever heard of a "runners high"? You actually get a rush of endorphins from exercising, which makes you feel instantly happier. Physical activity can be as effective as medications or therapy for depression, so get involved in sports, ride your bike, or take a dance class. Any activity helps! Even a short walk can be beneficial.
As for food, it’s true that you are what you eat. An improper diet can make you feel sluggish and tired, which worsens depression symptoms. Your body needs vitamins and minerals such as iron and the B-vitamins. Make sure you’re feeding your mind with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Talk to your parents, doctor or school nurse about how to ensure your diet is adequately nutritious.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
You may be tempted to drink or use drugs in an effort to escape from your feelings and get a "mood boost", even if just for a short time. However, substance use can not only make depression worse, but can cause you to become depressed in the first place. Alcohol and drug use can also increase suicidal feelings. In short, drinking and taking drugs will make you feel worse—not better—in the long run.
If you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, seek help. You will need special treatment for your substance problem on top of whatever treatment you’re receiving for your depression.
Ask for help if you’re stressed
Stress and worry can take a big toll, even leading to depression. Talk to a teacher or school counselor if exams or classes seem overwhelming. Likewise, if you have a health concern you feel you can’t talk to your parents about—such as a pregnancy scare or drug problem—seek medical attention at a clinic or see a doctor. A health professional can help you approach your parents (if that is required) and guide you toward appropriate treatment.
If you’re dealing with relationship, friendship, or family problems, talk to an adult you trust. Your school may have a counselor you can go to for help, or you may want to ask your parents to make an appointment for you to see a therapist. ~Nikitha