It’s hard to deny that the world has changed a lot since we were teenagers, and when today’s teenagers have their own kids, it will have changed even more. Even the most well-adjusted teenagers can encounter emotional and social issues, and because teenager naturally start to pull away from their parents, it can be difficult to understand what they are going through.
As a parent, you naturally want to understand your teenager’s life and help them handle any problems they might encounter. Here are five of the most common issues teens face today, and how to help your teenager face them.
1. Pressure – Pressure comes in a number of different varieties and from a number of different sources. Teachers put a lot of pressure on students not just to do their school work, but to get good grades, in addition to doing plenty of extra-curricular activities. Friends may put pressure on your teenager, to drink, do drugs, or have sex—though peer pressure isn’t always negative. Pressure of any kind can cause your teenager to have anxiety and even act out against you, teachers, or his friends. Being supportive, rather than putting even more pressure on a teenager, is a good way to remain his ally.
2. Self-esteem – In a society that puts so much value on how a person should look and very little on how they should act or think, most teenagers develop some sort of self-esteem issue. While it may not seem to change much in the moment, assuring your teen that you love her and that she is beautiful can help bolster waning self-esteem.
3. Eating disorders – These are surprisingly common among teenage girls and are becoming more common among teenage boys. If you suspect or know that your teenager has an eating disorder, seeking professional help is the best way to go.
4. Smoking and Drinking – While these behaviors likely do not seem very dangerous to your teenager in the moment, they can have serious physical and mental repercussions. Talking to your teen about these dangers and getting professional help, if necessary, can help prevent the negative impact that smoking and drinking can have.
5. Mood Swings and Depression – Because of rapidly changing hormones and the sometimes caustic environment of high school, it is common for teenagers to have mood swings and even experience depression. While mood swings are normal and should be expected, depression is not normal—again, seeking out a professional can be the most helpful route.