The teenage years, or the years between the ages of 13 and 19, are a time of growth and struggles. Coping with the stress of internal and external struggles, like puberty, hormonal changes, peer and parental pressure, academic performance, social acceptance, health issues, etc., are some of the common aspects of being an adolescence. In addition to this, teens also feel the need for constant acknowledgement & validation of their feelings, ideas, and thoughts.
Many contemporary factors govern teenage problems, such as a fast-paced lifestyle, inadequate education, the lack of proper mentorship or parental guidance, social unawareness, etc. Early identification of developmental problems (like anxiety and depression in students, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc.) can help make the teen years easier. However, some teenage social problems require research, deeper discussion, effective mentorship, and a socially supportive environment. We’ve highlighted some in the next few paragraphs.
1) Lifestyle Problems:
- Substance Abuse
Unsupervised exposure to the high-end celebrity lifestyle, poor guidance & parental supervision, and the easy availability of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco lead to substance abuse, one of the most common teenage problems. Despite strict regulations on underage drinking and prescription drug use, teens find a way to consume addictive substances, often because they’re unaware of their risks and seek temporary escape from the harsh reality around them.
- Hormonal Issues
Poor diet planning and inactive lifestyle can lead to several hormonal issues that may result in mild or moderate health problems. E.g., acne, diabetes, PCOS, nutritional deficiency, obesity, etc.
There could be multiple reasons behind depression in students. E.g., persistent health issues, obesity, inability to perform well, sexual abuse, etc. Depressive disorders have been around for a while, but they’ve recently gained attention after the pandemic. Insomnia, eating disorders, social isolation, poor performance, disinterest, and other symptoms of depression are common. They can be treated with timely diagnosis, counselling, and medical treatment.
2) School/Study Problems:
- Learning Disabilities
ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and autism spectrum diseases, etc., are disorders that affect students’ ability to understand concepts.
- Academic Stress
Fear of examinations, a poor study schedule, difficulty managing time and routines, an inability to stick to deadlines, unhealthy competition among students, etc. cause academic stress. Stressed students may often find it hard to perform well in their classes due to performance anxiety, even though they’ve got the skill and aptitude to excel.
- Poor Concentration & Lack Of Mindfulness
Stress, environmental distractions, fleeting thoughts, a poor learning environment, and ineffective pedagogies followed at school cause students to lose focus, thus causing disinterest in studies.
3) Social Problems:
- Peer Pressure
Peer pressure, which has adversely affected teenagers for several generations, has become a serious issue due to the advent of social media. For instance, children are often compelled to copy a certain lifestyle (like partying, bunking classes, etc.) just because their close friends are doing it. Poor decision-making due to peer pressure may have life-threatening consequences. E.g., school bullying, unprotected sex, substance abuse, suicide, etc.
- Parental Pressure
When parents set unclear or unrealistic expectations for academic success, performance standards, social behaviours, and family rules, they unintentionally cause emotional stress. Although this pressure comes out of concern for the child’s future, it hampers their present well-being and choices.
- School Bullying & Violence
Instances of school bullying have become more prevalent due to social media usage. Although instances of violence may have declined due to the strict regulations followed at school, it can’t help prevent shaming, labelling, or cyberbullying. If left unchecked, it could cause lifelong trauma to the victims.
4) Problems Resulting From Poor Choices
- Cyber Addiction
Cyber addiction (social media addiction and excessive screen abuse) may result from disinterest in offline activities, a preference for convenience, and poor adult supervision.
What Are The Solutions?
As adults, the best way to solve teenage problems is to monitor, mentor, and educate kids; set realistic expectations; and enforce strict discipline, wherever necessary. Here are some prospective solutions.
1) Early identification of developmental problems (like hormonal issues, depression, anxiety, etc.) can help control them. Watching out for the signs like insomnia, eating disorders, disinterest, social isolation, poor health & lifestyle, dropping grades, bad company, etc., and being vigilant to prevent further damage can help teenagers.
2) Understanding & Acknowledging Teenage Transitions
It’s crucial for adults to acknowledge teens’ feelings and address their concerns or doubts without being insensitive, judgmental, or overly critical towards them. Teens may often find it hard to express themselves because they don’t trust adults to understand them. Defiant behaviour is a direct consequence of strict parenting or a lack of proper parental guidance and understanding, which produces insecurity, negative feelings (confusion, jealousy, anger, etc.), and dislike towards adults. Thus, it is important for carers to listen to children, provide honest & constructive feedback, and value their child’s need for privacy, when required.
3) Generating Awareness
Many times, children are unaware of the ill-effects or life-threatening consequences of particular activities like substance abuse, unprotected sex, school bullying, etc. Educating them about the bad consequences, providing them with better and healthier ways to solve a crisis at hand, and mentoring them are the best possible ways of educating teens.
4) Having Direct & Transparent Communication
Clear, transparent, constructive and open-ended conversations strengthen the adult-teen bonds by making children feel safe to express their feelings or talk about complicated experiences like abuse, bullying, sexuality, etc. Unless we build trust, respect, and acceptance with proper words, we can’t make teenagers understand our viewpoint. Enforcing punishments and rules without explaining the causes, consequences, or alternatives will only make it worse.
5) Offering Medical & Social Help
We must understand that not all problems can be solved by parents and teachers. There are experts like counsellors, doctors, etc., who offer better solutions for the physical and mental well-being of students. We shouldn’t hesitate to seek outside help if it helps our child.
Did you know? Approximately 10 to 20% of a child’s waking hours are spent at school. Schools play a crucial role in shaping the formative and teen years of an individual. Thus, choosing a good school has become more critical today. If you’re looking for the best CBSE Schools in Bangalore or the best ICSE Schools in Bangalore that create a safe, welcoming, nurturing, and socially productive environment for your child, you have landed in just the right place. Ekya Schools, one of the best schools in Bangalore, offers adequate guidance, coucelling sessions, educator support, and education to help young minds navigate through the complexities of the teenage years. Click here to know why it is the best choice for your teenager!