A lot has been said about the Teenage – right from the teen tantrums, to their mood swings, their secretive behavior to their excessive digital times. How our teens are getting short-tempered with each passing day & simultaneously falling prey to the fangs of instant gratifications.
What has conveniently been left behind is the conversation about how our teenagers are keeping more and more stressed with newer challenges entering each day in their fast-paced lives.
So in this post, i would be talking of 10 worst things our teens are struggling within present times and what can we as parents can do to ease out the Teen Stress.
10 Challenges Our Teens are Facing Today
With Technology updating in the blink of an eye, the world is changing at a face pace and so is our lives. Teens today go through a variety of challenges that were unheard of till even 10 years ago.
With these changing times, it becomes imperative for us parents to change our parenting ways and raise our teens more intentionally and mindfully so our teens are getting prepared for a fulfilling life ahead.
Now, let us understand these 10 challenges in detail and make an intentional effort to raise happy and capable teens.
|1. Peer Pressure|
|2. Social Media|
|4. Body Image|
|5. Dating & Sex|
|6. Traditional Careers|
|7. Lack of internal Motivation|
|9. Teen Stress|
One of the biggest challenges our teens are facing in present times is the pressure from their own peer group. The pressure to be a part of their friends’ group. And a lot of things big and small do impact their relationship with their peers.
From the brands of clothes, they wear to the gadgets they carry, from the cars they move into their risk-taking appetite, from having the perfect body to going with the latest trends, from being on social media to be fun to be with. There are so many things that a teen needs to be good at in order to win and survive in their peer group in current times.
And trust me these issues might look like a no big deal to you but they are BIG ones for your not so mature teenagers. So instead of negating their need to be a part of their peer group, as parents, a better strategy is if we can support them to stand tall and develop the right skills so they can manage the peer pressure well.
This is another big challenge and a new one at that. We Millenials definitely had it easy for us as compared to our teens because their every move is shadowed online. From managing their social relationships to expressing themselves freely, from maintaining their identity to entertainment all of this happens on Social Media for our teens.
Along comes challenges like stress to look good everytime, the pressure to be available for their friends online, and other bigger challenges like cyberbullying and phishing. Yes, our teens are all in it.
So what should we parents be doing apart from nagging at our teens to be glued to their screens most parts of their day?
There is no one straight answer to this but what I can definitely tell you as a parenting coach is that we need to talk more about the digital times in our family and try and create rules & boundaries around it. And when I say talk about digital times, I don’t mean to complain about screen times, we need to be more solution-oriented and authentic in our communication with our teens and work collectively to tackle this mess.
Bullying means a deliberate attempt to use words actions and behaviors that can harm someone’s wellbeing. Bullying can really be a big demon in teens’ life and is something that needs immediate attention from parents, teachers, and caregivers before it does more harm to our kids. It can be prevalent anywhere from school to acting classes and often needs parent’s intervention.
With media and magazines flashing the size zero figures all around, it is difficult to teach our teens to love their own bodies and not run after the all made-up idea of beauty. Time and again researches are proving that more and more teenaged kids are suffering from body image issues and that is hitting hard on their self confidence and zeal to live their lives.
What do we parents need to do? Well, I am a mom to a teenaged girl and the first thing i am mindful of is how I look it myself. Children of all ages tend to emulate their parents and teens too would want to follow you if they see you happy confident in your own skin.
So yes parenting is as much working on your own self as much it is to work on your kids.
Dating & Sex
The Teen years are all about a lot of changes happening in our teens’ bodies. So yes dating, being attracted to someone, Sex is all things that must be talked of openly with our teens.
So yes, confusions related to Love, Dating & Sex are one of the top challenges our teens face in present times. And we as parents need to handhold our teens on these.
Fading of Traditional Careers
With technological advancements and new inventions happening every minute in all parts of the world, the traditional careers are fading away and this is making way for newer careers coming up. This Fear of the Unknown is also something that is keeping our teens stressed and anxious.
While we parents can do anything about the changes happening in the industry, business, and commerce, what we can do is update ourselves and coach our teens on how to pick the right careers based on our teens’ strengths and passions.
Lack of Internal Motivation
Lack of Internal Motivation to do and excel is something that is increasingly becoming a concern with each passing day for parents of teens. And what they don’t realize is that somewhere, we as parents are responsible too to a large extent to create this in our teens’ lives.
Increasingly with both parents working full time in the careers, a lot of our kids’ needs are answered by extending un-needed gifts thereby increasing their dependence on external rewards and gratifications rather than nourishing their inbuilt internal motivation to excel.
However having said that, all is not lost. What we need is the realisation that our teens are struggling there and then intentional efforts to fill in their love buckets move away from attaching external rewards to basic chores and good behaviors.
While our lists of friends on social media are increasing, our list of people who are around us is shrinking with each passing day. And this is true for us too not just our teens. So it is time to turn back the wheel and rework on creating meaningful bonds of friendships around away from social media. ]
Coming back to the loneliness, another perspective here is that there is an increasing gap between the parents and teens these days. While the parents complain that their teens don’t listen to them, the teenagers these days completely shut their parents off with a rock-solid belief that their parents won’t understand them. This is increasing the feelings of loneliness in our teens.
We as parents need to really work hard to dissolve the generation gap and be friends with their teens & love them unconditionally.
Teen Stress is real and it does exist. The pressure to perform well in school, in sports and activities, the pressure to look good, the pressure to look cool, and the stress of being accepted and wanted, and the list is endless. A teen’s life is not easy in present times.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, around one-third of teens say they feel overwhelmed due to stress and nearly 36 percent of teens felt tired and fatigued due to stress.
So now we know that Teen stress is valid and exists, so we as parents need to build in the self care routines to our teenagers’ schedules for them to manage their stress and work towards their good mental health.
The last on my list is the challenge to Feel Accepted. And this is a big one again. While outside teens are struggling to cope up with their peers, they are sadly not feeling too valued and accepted at their homes to The fear of being judged for their thoughts and beliefs and the fear of just being misunderstood is something that is creating a big rift in the parent-teen relationship in present times.
So as parents we need to work intentionally to mend the gap and love our teen unconditionally so they feel accepted and valued.
This was my list of Top 10 challenges that our teens are facing in present times. I really hope you found this information valuable and this made you introspect and think a little. If you want to share a thought with me on this, pls share it in the comments, and let’s have a discussion around it.