Teenagers face real concerns, between 13 and 19 years of age, on a daily basis as this is the most awkward growth stage of their lives. During this time, teens are exposed to some overwhelming external and internal struggles. They go through, and are expected to cope with hormonal changes, puberty, social and parental forces, work and school pressures, and so on. Many teens feel misunderstood. It is vital that their feelings and thoughts are validated and that the validation comes from their parents.
The prevalence of digital communication has changed the way teens interact with their peers and romantic interests.1 Because of this, many teens lack essential interpersonal communication skills like knowing how to pick up on social cues. Much of this dysfunction can be linked to the overuse of technology.2
Teens’ social media and texting habits as well as how they consume media is changing the way they communicate, date, learn, sleep, exercise, and more. In fact, the average teen spends over nine hours each day using their electronic devices.
Top 10 Teenage Problems
Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, declined interest in normal and healthy activities, dropping grades in school and college, and preferred isolation are all early signs of depression. Increased demands to perform, competing with friends etc may also lead to unwanted stress. Being vigilant towards these signs at an early stage may help to block/stop further damage and guide them towards healthy ways of dealing with their concerns.
Parents may not be aware that their children are sexually active, however. Talk to your teen about sex, even if you don’t think your child is engaging in sexual activity. Of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases each year, more than half were among young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
It is crucial that teens feel validated in their feelings and thoughts because what they are going through is a real part of their lives. Parents and guardians should not judge or criticize their feelings or thoughts. Being sensitive towards teens and the fact that they are exposed to a range of emotions (puberty being one of the most important experiences) is an important step in understanding their transition. Anger, confusion, jealousy, non-compliant attitudes, dislike towards their parents or elders, secrecy/high need for privacy etc. are few examples of emotions or feelings they have. Defiant behaviors results from their inability to appropriately deal with the intensity of these emotions and aggravate common teenage problems.
Talk to teens about the risks of underage drinking. Educate them about the dangers, including the fact that alcohol can take a serious toll on a teenager’s developing brain. Also, do not shy away from expressing your disapproval of underage drinking. Saying you don’t approve can make a big difference in whether your teen decides to drink.
One of the concerns that stems from curiosity and the need for independence or a sense of control can be experimenting with underage consumption of alcohol or drugs, physical intimacy or teenage pregnancy. It is often believed that educating the child about sex will lead to them wanting to experiment. However, that is a myth. Talking to your children will enable them to be informed and will remove the “taboo” from the topic. It’s no secret that the level of exposure teens have today, as a result of the Internet is unmatched. Cyber addiction is the fastest growing problem amongst other common teenage problems. Parents should talk to their teens and make them conscious of cyber safety – and, how to protect themselves from Internet.
Parents may create a list of rules that clearly say when to use the internet, which sites they should visit and what safety measures they should follow and off course clearly discussing “WHY “for the same. However, timely, healthy, factual and regular conversation about these topics will help them make informed choices.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be great ways for teens to connect with one another; but social media can be problematic for several reasons. For instance, social media can expose your teen to cyberbullying, slut-shaming, and so much more. And, while there are some benefits to social media, there are a lot of risks as well.
The teen’s opinion or decisions will enhance their self-confidence and self esteem. Most youths’ ability to develop positive self-esteem is affected by family life and parental criticism. Making respect a mutual virtue will help in developing a stronger bond between parents and the child.
Every parent has a different outlook towards parenting. A healthy relationship between the child and parents is the most essential during the teenage years. Communication is the key to developing a rapport, which results in the child feeling comfortable talking to their parents. Finding the correct balance between being a friend and a parent is important as this will help develop the required rapport. For e.g. teens facing body image concerns like being too fat, too skinny, too tall or too short will benefit from balanced approach towards parenting, which may stem from good rapport.
Trust and Acceptance
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Spying, cross questioning/checking with friends or doubting will hamper the bond, leading to defiant behaviors such as lying, stealing, hiding and being disrespectful. It is important to accept your teens as they are and to build trust in them. This will help them trust and accept themselves as well as those in their immediate environment.
During this age, your daughter will get her first periods and also built a lot of misconceptions about the same
You must clear every doubt that your daughter has regarding this matter and teach her how this process is just natural and not to give in to any kind of superstitions associated with the same. Teach your daughter how to deal with any emergency situations and always carry an extra pair of utilities that are required, which might come handy.
How to Talk to Your Teen
Bringing up any difficult subjects with your teen can feel uncomfortable. And your teen isn’t likely to respond well to a lengthy lecture or too many direct questions. But having a conversation with your teen about difficult issues is not something you should shy away from. Even when it seems like they are not listening, you are the most influential person in your teen’s life. It is important to lay a strong foundation before the window of opportunity closes.