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Common Teenage Problems (and How To Help Your Child Deal With Them)

Photo by Jonathan Portillo

As parents, it can be easy for us to underthink our teenager’s problems. We think that because we’ve been through our teenage years and came out the other side, they will do the same regardless of the issues they experience. But being a teenager now is far different in comparison to 20 or 30 years ago. And this is why we need to start understanding the reasons why they get anxious based on what is a modern set of problems. We can complain about raising teenagers because they show attitude, however, we need to walk a mile in their shoes and have a considerable understanding of what their main problems are so we can offer solutions. Here are some of the most common.

Body Image Problems

It was something that we all experienced, but it’s as teenagers that the issues become cemented. As children transition to adulthood, teenagers struggle to come to terms with what they see in the mirror and become less comfortable in their own skin. This can cause issues as diverse as eating disorders, body dysmorphia, muscle dysmorphia, and long-lasting effects that can be with them throughout their entire lives. Acne is one of those common side effects of hormonal changes, but this is where having a wider variety of treatments can help. The article 7 Types Of Acne: Causes, Treatment, And Prevention can help a lot here.

Problems with Time Management

It’s easy for us to think that our children are teenagers so they’ve got a lot of freedom, however, there is that constant “turning of the screw” as children get older because their workload starts to increase, but there are also extracurricular activities, not to mention the social dramas that can occur. Putting all this together creates an almighty component of stress that can be overwhelming and something that we may greatly overlook. 

As parents, we may complain about their rooms being untidy, but there’s a lot more lurking underneath. They have to juggle all these expectations, but we’re also placing demands on them to act like grown-ups, and this means that they are not able to do everything, which can result in a lot more anxiety and depression. As parents, we’ve got to give them the relevant tools to cope with the demands of their time. Having an understanding of the 10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills will help here.

Not Feeling Like They Fit In

We can make the grand assumption that our teenage child is out on a limb and they would do better if they figured out ways to conform. But the fact is that they are probably already doing everything they can to fit in and are being judged accordingly. As cliched as it is, children can be cruel. If your child is trying to find a place not just in school, but in society, the fact is the sheer volume of anxiety and insecurity they face means they will look elsewhere to feel that sense of connection. 

They see a teenager that appears to be higher in the pecking order as someone that normalizes behaviors that are completely unacceptable, such as aggression, bullying, rule-breaking, and so forth. Therefore, is it hardly a surprise when your child tries to break the rules? Teaching your child to be respectful and gentle is anathema to what is considered “cool” in school. It’s important for us to give our children the knowledge of the bigger picture. Our children are trying their best to be the best person they can be in school, and everything else is secondary. They may get to the point where fitting in is more important than their school work and it is so important for us to teach them the fact that these values that are being promoted as cool is fleeting. 

The fact is they may not listen to you because you are their parent, and this is where you may need to be sneaky and think about the role models in their lives that are able to communicate these all-important morals. Your teenager will turn to things that help them understand the world better, which could mean they retreat inwards. At this point, you should not try to force them out of their shell, because this will only result in them going in further, but that sense of big picture thinking is so important. Understanding that other children are quick to resort to childish tactics is just one aspect that your child needs to deal with.

Issues with Physical Health

Teenagers are at the point where they can eat whatever they want without it negatively affecting their physical health. However, as much of a generalization as this is, the fact is that the eating habits of teenagers tend to be incredibly poor. Children are urged to either eat unhealthily or go to the other end and starve themselves. Having a healthy attitude towards food is a vital part of being a healthy person. Habits need to be ingrained, not just in the home, but in school. As a society, we are lucky that we’re at the point where we can understand that important habits in terms of health need to be ingrained at a young age, and if the school is not providing healthy options, this is something we need to bring up. 

However, it’s also important to show your child the positive effects of a healthy diet. The common mistake parents make is saying that you need to eat something because “it’s good for you,” but you’ve got to go further and show how it makes you feel, how it gives you more energy, and so forth. Additionally, physical health issues can also encompass lack of exercise and lack of sleep. Teenagers actually need at least 9 hours of sleep, potentially more depending on the individual, meaning that they are running at a deficit. Ensuring that they get enough sleep is not easy, especially if they are feeling the pressures of every part of their lives. Exercise is something that will help to stimulate positive sleep patterns, but while your teenager may not want to go running or do push-ups, think about a hobby that will get them moving rather than getting them fit. This is the first step toward major life changes.

Bullying

1 in 3 students in the United States says they have been bullied at school, and this doesn’t include bullying online. Teenagers who experience bullying could easily find themselves not wanting to go to school. Many parents are now taking the option of homeschooling. This can be very beneficial to a child because it provides wider access to education, but it’s important that, as parents, we do not overprotect them and shield them from the real world. The hardest thing to instill in a child that is being bullied is to stand up for themselves in the right ways. 

Arguably, the solution is not necessarily about teaching them to defend themselves, but about instilling the notion of insecurity in the bully’s mind. A bully will always target someone that they perceived to be weak-minded and will never target someone where they aren’t sure of the outcome, whether it’s in terms of verbal bullying or a fight. As long as the bully gets the message that the target shouldn’t be messed with, this should be enough to stop things dead in their tracks. This means ensuring your teenager has the ability to navigate this type of situation based on the bully. Class clowns are people who learned how to deflect verbal bullying and other children had to go to the edges of this sanity and stand up to the bully in an incredibly violent way. 

The fact is that finding the right solution depends on your child. It’s important not to condone violence, but rather, you need to find the best solution to ensure that your child uses their ingenuity and skills to send a clear message that they are not worth the bully’s effort.

What Can Parents Do To Help Their Teenagers?

As parents, we need to remember that the solution involves giving them that sense of security at home. It’s not just about physical security, but about ensuring that they feel they are part of a supportive environment that gives them the courage to venture out into the world and deal with these problems with a mature head on their shoulders. 

We cannot ignore our parental duties just because they are teenagers. They will have gadgets and devices, and they will also tell us that they don’t want to talk to us. Remember, they still need us, just in a different way. You need to ensure you have the foundations, which means healthy habits in terms of diet and the ability to exercise. But you also need to establish rules based on the big issues, like sex, dating, alcohol, and so forth, but you also need to keep talking about these issues. Finally, it’s important to point out that you may not have all the answers and you need to let them know this and instigate a discussion and offer help where it’s needed. Let them know you care because anxieties are rife amongst teenagers.

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