Some may mistakenly believe that being a teenager is the most carefree period of one’s life. But sadly, it’s far from reality, as far as the 2013 survey from APA is concerned. The teenage years involve a lot of stressful matters, ranging from simple peer pressure to academics, to post-school issues, such as college.
Modern youth do so much in their life, most of it being schoolwork. However, that hectic lifestyle contributes to 8% of the adolescent population being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Stress can wreak havoc on a teen’s mental and physical health, much like with everyone else. It only gets worse when the year-end comes around and with an avalanche of projects, activities, and exams, which earned the moniker “hell week.” Alarmingly, teens report higher levels of stress than adults, which shouldn’t be the case.
We all can agree that in this generation, kids nowadays are adventurous, self-driven, adaptive, and very motivated. It is as if they already know what to do with their lives because they usually base everything on their experience. Most of the times, they are critical thinkers and are detail-oriented. However, there is no perfection, as always. There are certain things these young adults can’t seem to handle. There are times that their decisions fail them to the extent that it leads them to self-destruct. That is the reason why an expert or therapist wants to point out the youth’s growing issues.
Abuse – One of the primary problems that youths are facing is abuse. There is physical, emotional, mental, and sexual to be exact on the list. Most of these categories seem often hidden. At unfortunate events, some of it gets viewed by society as a norm. And what genuinely hurts is that youths are to blame for the cause of these abuses. People justify their actions in destroying young adults by pointing out that these kids deserve a beating, they know nothing about emotional control, they don’t get fully affected mentally, and that they need to have a sexual experience. “Many people who suffer from sexual abuse or sexual assault can also suffer long-term effects from the abuse,” shares John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Bullying – If there is one thing that kids would wish never to experience, that is bullying. All the torments in constant bullying are unavoidable. It is as if there is no escape from the emotional and mental torture that other individuals do. The unfortunate part is nobody can seem to identify the issue. A lot of people ignore physical beating, verbal harm, and even online threat. These people appear stuck in the belief that kids are not capable of harming other kids. But the truth is, if there is the will of delivering damage to others, all individuals are capable of such devious acts. “Bullying is not only isolated as a childhood problem, but also affects adolescents and adults as well,” Kristen Fuller, M.D. wrote.
Drug And Alcohol Addiction – Youths are open-minded and adventurous. But when they feel out of control, they believe they can do anything. That is the reason why they often use drugs and alcohol as a validation of their confidence. That because they picture themselves as individuals who are free and independent, they are now allowed to try even the considered worst influential practices. And because these kids feel entitled with their rights, they would not care about what others would tell them.
Teen Pregnancy – Perhaps one of the most controversial things that kids are experiencing is teenage pregnancy. There are lots of problems that associate with its outcome. Yes, we can all agree that kids deserve a chance of finding and standing up for themselves. But the idea of allowing them to accept the responsibility will only make them realize everything that revolves around it is a burden. That is the reason why the majority of youth often end up in irresponsible parenting.
Peer Pressures – Since society is now allowing the youths to have their own lives and are now considering their actions as part of community development, these kids are more unrestricted. But the thing that separates them from the other youths is the peer pressures. It is where some young individuals are getting forced to blend in with society by other people around them. It often looks like freedom, but it is entirely a provocation of what other bad influence people would want these kids to follow.
Depression – It is the youth’s most hidden issue that scares nobody. There is the belief that emotional and mental problems don’t entirely matter because young individuals are more capable of resolving it within a period. That as long as these kids are willing and motivated, they can handle the emotional and mental illness. But what people don’t know is that these kids do not get exempted to any kinds of damages. The truth is, they are the receivers of the whole of it.
Self-Harm – Self-harm is the case where the youth find themselves craving for attention. “Research reports one in twelve teens, mostly girls, self-harm and ten percent of them continue to deliberately harm themselves well into young adulthood,” stresses Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D., LPCS. It is the youth’s way of saying they are not okay and that people should help them. But the problem with society is their blindness towards what is happening inside and often only looking from the outside. There is no consideration of trying to get to the root of their emotional issue and often judge these kids from physically harming themselves.
Suicide – The most underrated issue that people don’t want to talk about, not unless it already happened. It sucks that society’s way of approaching the youth is beyond everybody’s frustration. That even if these kids already scream their lungs out trying to ask for help, nobody would recognize. But when life is gone, the irony begins. People will suddenly become emotional about the loss.
Let’s take our time not only to observe but also listen. Our youths are not invulnerable. As adults, we must help, encourage, and motivate them to overcome their issues in life.
Children and adolescents can become anxious, and experience worries or fear when a severe situation calls for it. These are common feelings when faced with uncertainty or discomfort. But some children or even adolescents have an overwhelming fear or anxiety that makes it difficult for them to deal with from day to day. With modern knowledge, anxiety disorders can now be treated. “If your anxiety feels overwhelming or difficult to manage, consider seeking mental health services, as professional treatment for anxiety can be very effective for many people,” suggests Jennifer Sweeton Psy.D.
Online therapy is a new form of counseling that not only adults but also teenagers are looking into – and for a valid reason. “Since you will be attending therapy sessions online in the comfort of your own home, you can often schedule your therapy sessions for times that are the most convenient for you,” said Kendra Cherry, MS. After all, the age range of youngsters who develop depression or anxiety continues to expand, but how people think about others who obtain psychological help has not changed much in some places. The troubled kids tend to feel more isolated, especially when the bullies figure out their issues and use it to make fun of them. Thus, the situation may not become tensed at all if the only folks who know about the mental health problem are the adolescent, their family, and the online therapist.
“You are so lucky to be born when life is easy, and your family can give you everything you want.”
Isn’t that a comment that a lot of Millennials often have to put up with while growing up?
I was once a teenager myself – a part of the so-called Generation X. I was 5 when I first played a game on a PlayStation Portable (PSP), 8 when I received my first tablet, and 11 when I got my first smartphone.
Am I thankful for the luxuries I’ve experienced, thanks to my parents? Most definitely. Do they help make my life stress-free, though? Not as much as the people around me may think, considering the level of difficulty that educational materials pose has mirrored the innovations made by science and technology.
Nevertheless, I still consider myself lucky for only needing to worry about school stuff. My family members do not burden me to be on top of the class, yet they always encourage me to do well and excel in the activities I take part in. For the other millennials, however, it is hard to say the same.
Various authorities worldwide report that the number of teenage suicides increased immensely over the past few years. In the United States, it declined in 2007 but heightened again up until 2015. Still, the statistics show that males are four times more likely to take their lives than females. In the European region, the countries with the highest suicidal counts for teenagers are Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and Ireland. According to the National Poison Management and Control Center (NPMCC) of the Philippine General Hospital, 46% of the suicide incidents recorded in the country involved the youth since 2010 as well.
Despite hearing about these data, though, many people remain clueless regarding the reason why kids between the ages of ten to 17 choose to end everything at once. As mentioned above, adults tend to entertain the idea that children in the 21st century have fewer worries compared to youngsters in the past. What they do not realize is that the stress that springs out of that assumption causes more and more kids to develop depression.
Peer pressure, academic pressure, societal pressure, and bullying are some of the instances that bring depressive thoughts to the surface. The teens going through any of these things find it hard to speak about the problem in front of their friends or relatives. More often than not, they fear being judged since depression is considered a mental disorder.
In some countries, after all, there are still folks who see it as a taboo topic. It is as if the news will taint the family’s reputation. Thus, to prevent a household meltdown, some children learn to cover up their pain by smiling and laughing with everyone.
The Sad Reality
Depression is increasingly becoming a common illness among kids. Their parents or siblings rarely realize that something’s wrong because they may either be too busy to look beyond the child’s smiles or never believe that acquiring the disorder is possible. “If your loved one is struggling with depression, you may feel confused, frustrated and distraught yourself,” said Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. Unfortunately, some folks only figure it out once they see the lifeless body of the kid.
How To Overcome Depression?
In case you have depression, you should know that you cannot rely on the people around you make it go away. What you have is a mental disorder, a condition that continues to affect your brain function. Going to a psychiatrist or psychologist for assistance may be another option, yet there are no recognized treatments to date that can cure depression.
Instead of looking anywhere else, therefore, you ought to help yourself by changing your mindset for the better. Here are the ideas that might enlighten you further.
Focus On Activities That Make You Happy
It is part of the societal norms to want to please the beloved individuals around us. As noble as that characteristic may seem, it usually leads people to feel depressed and oppressed since they have no freedom to do the things they truly enjoy. Thus, never do anything that won’t make you happy. Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, suggested, “The moment you feel yourself sliding back to an awful memory that takes you under, take a breath and instantly conjure up graduation day. Counter the gloom with an immediate dose of positivity!”
Fear Criticism No More
Millennials often have difficulty in voicing out their ideas or following their dreams because they are afraid of being laughed at or criticized. However, you shouldn’t worry about how others will respond to your decisions. As long as you know that you’re not doing something that’s either against the law or puts lives in danger, feel free to go for it.
Take Control Of The Things That Will Affect You
Bullies have a way of getting into their victim’s head and practically making them sorry for being alive. If you strengthen your mind, though, their efforts to attack you won’t work.
Admit It When You Do Not Feel Okay
The depressed people have this ideology that they cannot show their worries to others. Well, in truth, you should do the opposite. That’s one way to let go of those problems quickly and free your thoughts.
Never Allow Failure To Define You
Failing is not a strange circumstance even for the most successful folks in various industries. How you will see it as, though, is what matters. If you let the issue derail you from your life goals, for instance, it means a total defeat on your part. In case you don’t allow it to disturb you, then it’s a recipe for an entirely different and motivational story.
Look Forward To Tomorrow
Whatever kind of problem you’re facing today – whether it involves a first heartbreak or a failed exam – it will pass soon. You may not be able to turn back the time and correct your mistakes, but you sure can learn from them and do better when a similar opportunity arises. “Remember, hope is one of the things that leaves when a person is depressed. But hope can be reignited through small successes along the way, reinvigorating the memory of better times — times that can be just around the corner as you begin to win the battle over depression,” explains Jane Framingham, Ph.D.
It is extremely rare to meet a teenager who never went through the awkward stage. That usually happens during puberty when your body goes through a series of physical changes due to hormones. The boys’ voice cracks before it deepens, thus causing them not to want to talk much until the transformation is complete. The girls begin to experience a bit widening of the hips and breast growth too, which they may wish to hide as much as possible.
The thing is, everyone can get over this awkward phase after a few months. It should not take long for teens to embrace the new version of themselves because that’s what practically sets them apart from kids. Isn’t that the dream of most youngsters: to not become labeled as children?
Now, if you are nearing young adulthood but still unable to go out and meet people without feeling nervous, the problem may no longer be puberty. According to a National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement report in 2010, 9.1 percent of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 suffer from social anxiety disorder. A higher portion of them belongs to the female population, and many folks deal with an overlapping illness too.
One thing that is tough to guarantee at this point is the curability of the disorder. However, you can learn to cope with the anxiety to lessen its effects on you.
1. Do Not Entertain Negative Thoughts
Your issues tend to come from the fact that you allow negativity to enter your life. Often, you question your value in the eyes of other people. When you look at your reflection anywhere, you only pay attention to your flaws. The result is that you become more anxious to face the crowd.
If you want to beat social anxiety, you have to stop entertaining derogatory ideas about yourself. According to Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D., “Attention to negative things equals negative emotions; Attention to positive things equals positive emotions.”
2. Ignore Things That Are Not Worth Getting Anxious About
The mental disorder is helpful in the sense that it makes you extra vigilant of your surroundings. It is automatic for you to scan the entire room and check out every person you see to assess who might be criticizing you or not.
Nevertheless, after a single once-over, you should ask a colleague or relative to validate your observations. Doing so will give you the opportunity to ignore stuff that you should not concern yourself with and enjoy your surroundings better. “To break free of the prison of shyness, you must stop dwelling on your own insecurities and become more aware of the people around you,” said Bernardo J Carducci Ph.D.
3. Bring A Source Of Distraction
Whenever you go out, it is vital to take a source of distraction as well. That can come in the form of a friend who can chatter away and keep your mind off your environment. If you cannot drag anyone with you, you may also have your music player ready or play games on your smartphone. You ought to anticipate the resurfacing of your symptoms beforehand to stop it from sneaking up on you later.
Practice Is The Key
“A practice of affirmations is a perfect way to train your subconscious mind, the part of the mind that runs all the systems of the body,” shares Athena Staik, Ph.D. The truth is that it is impossible to master coping mechanisms for a mental disorder within 24 hours. You may think of it as a skill that you get better with over time. Because of that, you need to practice tips one to three to keep social anxiety from ruining the rest of your adolescent years.
Going through adolescence is not a simple walk in the park for girls. Your parents expect you to know the wrong choices from the right ones. They want you to excel at school, do your chores at home, and possibly get a job in the summer. Then, there are the aspects of finding real friends, weeding out the bad influences, and making sure that your heart doesn’t get toyed with by silly boys. “At these moments, our teens all too often make some pretty bad decisions,” explains Dr. Jess Shatkin.
Another thing that haunts girls is the issue of teenage pregnancy. We have seen the rise of this dilemma in the late 20th century. Instead of attending concerts of NSYNC, West Life, and Boyz II Men – boy bands that became famous during the 1990s – young mothers had to grow up quicker than everyone to look after their kids. While same-aged folks worried about exams, they were busy looking for an employer who wouldn’t mind hiring someone who didn’t even have a high school diploma yet.
Although government units across the globe have made significant movements to lower the statistics of teenage pregnancy at present, we can’t help but wonder why the problem became prevalent in the past.
Here are the possible causes we’ve gathered.
One of the common reasons why teenage pregnancy takes place in any country is poverty. The teens have no financial means to pursue a worthwhile hobby or stick to studying. Their parents cannot bring them to an OB-GYN either to put them on birth control. Due to that, many sexually active girls do the horizontal tango without protection.
For teens whose parents are working hard to provide their needs, it’s easy to assume that their family does not care about them or no one loves them. That’s why they opt to look for affection from other people.
Whereas this decision is better than developing depression or suicidal tendencies, everyone can’t always be lucky at finding genuine individuals. If a teenager dates someone who is after that one thing only, she may end up pregnant before she’s even ready for that kind of responsibility.
There’s also the case of rape or sexual abuse. “A person who’s suffered from sexual abuse may feel very depressed, sad, lonely, and hopeless,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D. It was not easy to prevent this form of violence in the past due to lack of access to hi-tech communication devices. CCTVs on the dark alleys or parties were perhaps uncommon back then too. Thus, the wrongdoers succeed in their evil deeds, leaving a young girl traumatized and pregnant.
Last but not the least, remember that sex used to be a taboo subject. Parents rarely speak of it in front of the kids. The schoolteachers may be mum about the topic as well. Their goal is not to open the teenagers’ eyes to sexual possibilities.
Despite that, we are all born curious. Even if the adults don’t talk about something, teens usually try to satisfy their curiosity on their own. So, you can quickly tell what can happen if a teenage girl who’s only heard of the birds and the bees do the deed all of a sudden.
In a sense, teenage pregnancy has a bright side as well. Among the pluses are having a little angel to take care of, strengthening the relationship with family members, and finding your purpose in life. However, becoming pregnant when you are technically a child yourself will only make things tough for you and your baby in the future. As what Joni E Johnston Psy.D. said, “It’s not surprising to me that one of the best ways to prevent teen pregnancy is for teens to have long-term goals, good self-esteem, and a caring and consistent home environment.”
Our advice to fellow youth, therefore, is to be smart all the time. Never give in to peer pressure – that will push you to commit acts that come with grave consequences. Ask questions during your sex education class as well so that you don’t end up needing to grow up too fast.
A child who used to love being the center of their parents’ attention changes during adolescence. When the mom asks where you are going in the middle of the night, you might say you will attend a group study even though you are actually going to a friend’s party. When the dad wants you to be home before seven o’clock every day, you might question their order and still stay out later than that, irrespective of the consequences. “Many parents feel constrained and controlled by their teen’s irritability, anger, and fragility — circumventing necessary communications, problem solving, and limit setting,” according to Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.
It is highly apparent that this transformation took place because you want to prove that you are pretty much an adult by now. Curfews get deflected by you; parents have no other task than to give you a monetary allowance and a roof atop your head. The reality you clearly cannot see, though, is that parents have obligations that you need to accept and respect.
- Asking For Facts
The first responsibility of a teenager’s mother or father is to find out every truth that their kid holds. They do not always have to be the most jaw-dropping ones. It can include things like their new crush at school, the hobbies they want to take, and the grades they get. According to Amy Morin, LCSW, “A few simple changes to your parenting strategies could give your child the tools he needs to manage his behavior more effectively.”
For some teens, it tends to feel as if their parents are snooping. In their head, the facts they will provide might only get used against them in the future. And that is entirely wrong.
Your folks want to inquire about these things because they don’t wish to realize one day that they no longer know their offspring. That typically happens to parents who give kids so much freedom, to the point that the latter care more about others’ opinions than their parents’.
- Talking To Your Peers
Your mother and father can also speak to your friends, teachers, and anyone else you are in contact with at the moment. It is their parental right to do so, especially because these people might become a positive or negative influence on you.
In case your parents do it whenever someone comes over to the house or they watch over your activities, you should feel glad instead of mad. Yes, their questions may sound crazy at times, but they are still better than those moms or dads who have no clue about the stuff their kids do outside of the house.
- Keeping Your Communication Lines Open
It is often the parents’ obligation to maintain an essential line of communication between family members. It helps them understand everything about their children without having to make guesses. Not to mention, it gives them extra opportunity to get to know you and your siblings better as you all grow up into fine young ladies and gentlemen.
Because of that, you should try not to get annoyed when your mommy and daddy take turns asking you about school and love life. They are not doing that to find a way to ground you. It is merely their method to help you see that you can talk to them about anything anytime.
- Giving You A Chance For A Better Future
Finally, it is your parents’ responsibility to make sure that your adult life will be ten times greater than theirs. The task seems easy at first since they can simply hire the best tutors or send you to an Ivy League school. However, if you are quite an adventurous kid who tends to dive into trouble sometimes, they might become strict and prevent you from growing your social circle as much as you want.
Although it sucks to be in that situation, you have to give props to your mom and dad for taking an interest in your future. They do not wish for you to go astray, so they are trying to discipline you in the way they know. That does not often equate to fun, but you will thank them later when you find a six-figure job and are living the life everyone wants to have.
Your parents wish for you to have the greatest things in life, young one. They have a role to fulfill as your guardians, and they will do everything to keep you on the right track. That is something that all teens need to accept now to avoid clashes with your folks. As what Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. shared, “We can’t prevent the unexpected. But we can build our capacity, and that of our family, to cope.”