4 NOT SO COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS IN TEENAGERS
All of us have faced growing pains and teenage issues with our parents. While some problems faced by teenagers remain the same over generations, others change over time. Each generation faces and must deal with unique challenges. Parents of teenagers these days must find ways to have tough conversations with their children. They must teach them how to make good choices concerning their safety and health. Once a child transitions into his/her teenage years, especially in the current era, it is essential that they make good choices based on information and chats with their parents. Teenagers these days face a host of new challenges like online bullying, online gaming and internet addiction, school shootings, overdosing on opioids, and suicide. They must also learn to deal with high levels of stress effectively.
As a parent, you have the responsibility to stay informed about all possible issues they may face and offer them the help and resources to navigate this phase. Helping your teen with information will help them to be better equipped to make good choices and provide both of you peace of mind. Here is a look at some of the more uncommon and lesser-known health issues teenagers must deal with and how parents can guide their children.
Four lesser-known issues faced by teenagers
Surely, no parent wants to contemplate the fact that their child will take his/her own life. A startling statistic from a study estimates that 1 in 10 teenagers will try to commit suicide. Some of the factors that play a vital role in the decision are depression, bullying, family problems, not fitting in, and so on. This becomes especially tough if the child cannot communicate with at least one person who gives them the time and space to vent. Some of the warning signs include feeling isolated, being anxious, substance abuse, extreme swings in mood, sleeping a lot or not at all, feeling hopeless, and like a burden. Parents may miss the signs that their child is feeling suicidal. Try to draw them out and listen attentively and assure them they are not alone. Getting them professional help may also be a good idea.
2. Sex and related problems:
Many adolescents go through their teenage years without any idea of what sex is. Parents must talk to their teenagers and explain sex and its attendant risks in detail. Encourage them to practice safe sex and why consent is essential. Teenagers are more at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and some of the consequences can result in death or being unable to have children in the future. Teen sex is more prevalent in some parts of the world than others, but that does not mean that your child is beyond experimenting.
Bullying has been around for decades and seems to be getting more aggressive. Many youngsters must deal with verbal and social bullying. Thanks to the Internet, online bullying is even worse. Bullying makes a child feel isolated and rejected at a time when he/she is trying to establish connections and identity. Bullying can push some to commit suicide and others to resort to gun violence. Talk to your child and find out how they feel. Keep lines of communication open and build their confidence.
4. Internet addiction:
The current generation of teenagers have far more access to technology and gadgets than their parents did. Socializing and hooking up on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr is quite common. Sexting is a way that kids can get into trouble – they share provocative selfies and can end up inviting trouble. It is up to a parent to monitor their child's internet use and keep them safe from physical harm. Spending endless hours on the Internet can have a detrimental effect on a youngster's development, intellectual, emotional, and material. Parents must keep an eye on their children unobtrusively so that they can step in and stop them from getting into trouble. If necessary, negotiate and set limits in such a way that the rules are followed. Nagging or taking away privileges and devices will only alienate the child further.
Teenage years are a challenge for every parent. As a teenager tries to grow, become independent, and form new alliances and relationships, it isn't easy to monitor their every move. As a parent, you must keep in mind that they need your guidance and unquestioned presence and availability to navigate a tricky world of peer pressure. Parents who have good relationships with their children say that their conversations are more productive when communication is natural. Let the child know that you are available and open to discussing any topic. Reading up on current issues and being armed with facts can help in facilitating an excellent discussion. The whole point is that your teenager, who is still a child, is aware that you care for them and love them enough to help with any problem they face.