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Teenagers: Issues and Problems

Updated on July 31, 2012
Teenagers
Teenagers

Our teenagers deal with many issues and problems including pregnancy, bullying, peer pressure, cutting, drugs and alcohol, and so much more. I grew up in a big city where there is so much going on. It is a fast paced environment providing our children more exposure and access to some really bad things! the information in this Hub is comprised of personal experiences, and things I have faced while helping to raise my children and others' children as well. I feel that it is important for parents to communicate with their children, and be involved in their children's life outside of the home. Parents should also talk to other parents and share information on what they know is going on. Lets work together to give our children their childhoods back.

Bullying

Bullies have been around forever. Not a big deal, its a part of growing up right? Wrong! The effects of bullying can be detrimental to our children's' health, development, and education. A lesser education then equates to lower grades, further effecting the child's ability to get into a good college, and ultimately effecting their earning potential. As you can see the ramifications of bullying can effect a child's entire life... if they make it that far. Bullying can lead to suicide.

Bullying can be verbal, physical or emotional. There can be one bully or a group of bullies. Imagine how distressing it must be for your child to get up each morning and go to school, knowing what is in store for them once they get there. And if their parent isn't doing anything about it; imagine how confusing and hurtful it can be for them. Their parent, their protector is continuously putting them in this situation... forcing them to go to school where they are bullied.

In this modern era bullying has escalated to a new plane. With technology such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and texting; our teenagers also have to deal with Cyber-bullying. Children can text or post a horrible picture or incrimination video of your child. Bullies write posts calling our children whores and sluts for other classmates to see. It has really gotten out of control!


Body Image and Eating Disorders

It's not only the models in magazines and the gorgeous people on television who effect our children's body image. What message are we sending our children when we too are always on one diet or another, or are making comments about our own weight. Children will notice these things. There is also peer pressure at school to look a certain way. Teenagers are maturing and becoming interested in attention from the opposite sex. This pressure to look a certain way can lead to eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.

Another thing to keep in mind about eating disorders is that there are other things that can lead to the development of eating disorders. Some teenagers feel like they are adults and should be the ones making decisions about their social life, rules, or things happening in their life like moving. When the teen feels like they have no control over anything they begin to manipulate and control what they can, such as eating. Things that can lead to the development of an eating disorder include stressful events, low self esteem, bullying, and who knows what else.

Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco

Unfortunately, experimentation with drugs, alcohol and tobacco is a common practice for teens. As technology has advanced, so has the manufacturing of drugs. This has led to the creation of more dangerous and addictive drugs like meth. I am aware of teens in my high school having access to pot, ecstasy, acid, and mushrooms. Schools today have these drugs as well as cocaine, meth, ketamine and a whole lot more.

I have heard stories of some parents buying alcohol for their children and their friends during a sleep over in an attempt to be the "cool" parent. Their assumption is that the kids are going to drink anyway. It is better if they drink under adult supervision. Parenting does not come with a manual. If that is how you choose to handle things with your own child that is fine, but while you are supervising another mother's child, that is not ok.

We all know the statistic that children of smokers are more likely to smoke themselves. I am sure none of us want that for our children. Teenagers often feel like they are being treated unfairly, and that their parents are hypocrites. From their perspective, how can we tell them not to do something that we do ourselves. So if you are a smoker seriously consider quitting. I'm sure you do not want your children to follow your footsteps in this matter. I have encountered children who's parents actually bought their kids cigarettes for them.

Sex

An obvious issue, with growing publicity in media today, is teen sex and pregnancy. Sexual experimentation seems to be starting at a younger age. Parents have shared their horror stories with me, and it is quite appalling. Some children don't consider oral or anal intercourse as sex and feel comfortable with practicing this. One mother told me that her son, in middle school, was approached by a female classmate and asked if her wanted a "BJ". He wasn't sure what this was so curiously said sure. He was told to meet her in the bathroom, so he did. The girl proceeded to pull his pants down and perform the act. They talked about it with their friends, the principal found out about it, and the parents were called.

Another parent told me that her daughter had a crush on a boy in 5 th grade and they would sit together at football games etc... They considered eachother boyfriend and girlfriend. At the end of the school year the boy says to the girl "We have been hanging out for a while now, so what do you think... can we go into the bathroom real quick and have sex?" Luckily the girl was way smarter than that!

One last thing I don't know if you have heard about... Children in middle and high school have been wearing colored rubber bracelets. Each color represents a different sexual act from kissing to intercourse. In some schools a girl gets a colored bracelet for each thing she has done. At other schools if a boy gets a certain bracelet from the girl, she has to perform the act with him. Our children view sex in such a casual manner.

Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy is completely preventable with abstinence. And that, of course is what we all hope our child is choosing. But, with the increasing number of teen pregnancies, it is obvious that this is not the case. Sex is an issue some parents aren't comfortable discussing with our children, but putting your blinders on is not the smartest thing. We aren't able to watch our children 100% of the time and if they want to experiment with sex, they will find a way. If abstinence is not going to be your child's method of choice, birth control may be something you may need to discuss. However hard it may be to accept, dealing with a teen pregnancy is a whole lot worse!

Cutting

Cutting, one of the most common forms of self-harm, is when a person takes a sharp object and cuts the skin to a point where it bleeds. This is not the same as slitting ones wrist in an attempt to commit suicide. Cutting is a method used by teenagers to cope with strong emotion. When you are a teenager all of the stressors at home and school can easily overwhelm you. Problems seem like they are the end of the world, and teens sometimes feel like they are powerless to change things. Cutting releases all of these strong emotions and mentally numbs the emotional pain. Some teens reports that cutting gives them control back when they feel like their lives are spinning out of control. Teens who cut will sometimes cut their arms, legs, stomach or abdomen. If sexual assault or molestation is contributing to their cutting they may cut near their genitals or breasts.

Suggestions...

The best thing we can to is talk to our children. Remain involved in their lives and foster a close relationship with open communication. We can't always dictate and lay down the rules. Create a safe time when you can seriously discuss private and personal topics with your child where they can tell you everything and you will not judge or punish their honesty. Sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, pregnancy and birth control need to be discussed before it is too late. If you discover that your child has been molested or sexually assaulted you need to talk about it and address it. Unaddressed emotions grow in your child and can lead to drug use, eating disorders, cutting and even suicide. If you feel lost and don't know how to deal with this seek help. There are psychologists and psychiatrists out there who specialize in these issues. Pay attention to your child's eating and dressing habits. Parents speak out and keep eachother informed about what is going on. The more eyes we have on our children the better.

© 2011 Amanda S

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