From an adult perspective, the emotional struggles that teens face may seem insignificant, since we know there is life after High School and that our experiences in school are not reflective of the life we will live. Kids don’t know this, however. And the truth of the matter is, most adults do not really comprehend the stressful situations our kids encounter. Most kids DO NOT tell you the facts of their lives, even when you think you are very close.
With the stressors adolescents face—such as increased academic demands; social expectations; excessive and peer enforced drug use including marijuana, alcohol, ecstasy, methadone and opiate abuse; early sexual encounters; sexual trauma and rape; hormonal imbalances leading to sexual obsession, insecurities, mood swings, aggression spikes, depression, and/or emotional vulnerability—in addition to whatever problems or stress they experience at home—teens are susceptible to serious depression, social anxiety, drug addiction, causal or abusive sexual activity, acting out behavior, scholastic failure, and other realities that put them in danger every day.
Even with all of this going on outside of our homes, the teens I work with consistently point to dysfunctions within their homes as the greatest cause of their sadness, fear, insecurity or low self-esteem.
WE OWE IT TO OUR KIDS TO:
- LEARN HOW TO BE GOOD PARENTS
- PAY ATTENTION
- ENGAGE IN THE DETAILS
- PARTICIPATE IN THEIR LIVES AND FRIENDSHIPS
- SET AN EXAMPLE THROUGH OUR OWN BEHAVIOR
Preventing Teen Suicide
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people in the United States, making it important for all members of our community to become familiar with prevention tactics, risk factors and warning signs. If your child says that they are depressed, lonely, isolated, bullied, or they show disinterest in things that use to engage them, call me today.
Transitioning to Adulthood
New America Media, a nationwide network of over 700 ethnic-media organizations conducted a survey of young people in California to better understand what young adults ages 16-22 feel are the primary issues impacting their lives.
The study—one of the first ever to be entirely conducted by young adults’ favorite communication tool, the cell phone—had professional interviewers speak with 601 young Californians. Of those people, 31 percent attended public high school, 21 percent were enrolled a four-year college or university, 19 percent went to a two-year college, 19 percent weren’t going to any school in California, 4 percent were students at private high schools, and 1 percent of students were in a General Equivalency Diploma program.
The results of the study paint an interesting picture of the upcoming generation. Among the major findings:
- One in eight of the nation’s young people live in California. Three-fifths of those in the age group are people of color, and almost half are immigrants or the children of immigrants. As the report cites, “This poll paints a portrait of a generation coming of age in a society of unprecedented racial and ethnic diversity — the first global society this country has seen.”
- Twenty-four percent of the respondents consider the breakdown of the family to be the most pressing issue facing their generation today, followed by violence in neighborhoods and communities, and then poverty and global warming. However, several significant differences among racial and ethnic groups existed.
- White young adults named family breakdown as number one, followed by poverty and global warming. African American and Latino youth, however, believed violence in their communities was the most pressing issue facing their generation, followed by family breakdown and poverty. Asian American young adults, meanwhile, named family breakdown as the number-one issue, but they felt neighborhood violence was almost equally important, while poverty and global warming tied for third.
(Source: What Are the Biggest Challenges Young Adults Face Today?: Students Speak Up, by Diane Demee-Benoit)
Other realities affecting our “launching” youth are international economic crisis, high unemployment, internet addiction, disengaging social patterns, overwhelmingly competitive job market, extremely high cost of advanced education, global despair and crisis, global warming, high rents, high divorce rates, and numerous other gloomy forecasts through which they see their futures.
Those are the issues—what are the solutions?. As a society, we will have to figure that out, but until we do, our kids need help. Counseling can bring perspective to these issues and harmony to your family relations.