The recent advances in technologies mean that teens today face a lot of issues that the previous generations haven’t faced. The use, or shall we say the overuse of electronic media, has changed as well as amplified the struggles faced by young people. Teenagers are also struggling with many problems that never existed before or were considered as too negligible. These problems are the answer to the question of why is it necessary to connect with your teen in today’s world. Here are some social issues teens struggle with today.
As per The National Institute of Mental Health, about 3.2 million adolescents in the US had at least one depressive incident in 2017. This data means that around 13 percent of teenagers might experience depression before they reach adulthood. When parents stay connected with their teens, they might help recognize and treat depression at the right time.
About 20 percent of teens in the US experienced bullying in 2017, as per National Center for Education Statistics. Cyberbullying incidents have increased, and they have replaced bullying as a method of harassment experienced by teens. When parents are connected to the teens, they can help a teen deal with a bully. Teenagers can be taught that seeking help to protect themselves from bullying isn’t a sign of weakness but a show of courage.
- Sexual Activity
Data shared by 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance has revealed that 39.5 percent of high school students were sexually active. This means that the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies is there. If parents are connected with the teens, they can guide teens about sex, protections, and other precautions to avoid serious issues later on.
- Drug Use
The use of marijuana and other drugs in high school is increasing. Many teens consider that marijuana might be safer than other drugs or even cigarettes because of the changing laws surrounding marijuana. Parents need to have regular conversations with their children regarding drug use and ensure that the teens know about being smart about drugs and not popping a few pills that aren’t prescribed to them.
- Alcohol Use
Alcohol use is also common among teens. They do it under peer pressure but don’t recognize the health impacts of this addiction, especially the negative impact on brain development. Parents can help the teen by highlighting how alcohol will affect their developing bodies and mind. Parents should also make it clear that they disapprove of underage drinking.
As per data shared by the CDC, around 20% of kids between the age of 12 to 19 are obese. This is bad news as obesity can lead to lifelong health issues like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart issues, and many others. It can also lead to eating disorders and body image issues that can impact them later in life. If parents are connected with the teens, they can talk to the teen about maintaining the ideal weight, having a proper diet, and exercising regularly. The advice of a pediatrician can also be sought.
- Academic Performance Issues
Academic performance issues are also a cause of concern for teenagers. Data says that about 5 percent of high school students drop out each year in the US. Such teenagers lose out on opportunities to earn better throughout their life. Burnouts due to excessive pressure are also a rising problem. Parents who stay connected with their teens can help deal with the academic pressure by providing support and guidance the best they can.
- Peer Pressure
The core reason why teens go on the wrong path is peer pressure. This pressure makes them do things that they might not want to, like drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex, sharing inappropriate photos, and many other things that they might not want to do. As a parent, you need to connect with your teen to ensure that their circle of friends is decent and they don’t make friends with someone who isn’t a good influence.
- Social Media Pressure
Teens use social media platforms to connect with each other, make new friends and expand their circle. Overuse of social media can be a cause of concern, and social media platforms might have other issues like slut-shaming, cyberbullying, on-screen violence, and many others. Parents who are connected with their teens can help them stay away from or report such dangers. Parents should teach their kids how to navigate social media in a healthy way.
How to Connect with Your Teen?
Here are some simple ways to connect with your teen that will help you to ensure your teen stays away from trouble and sticks to the right path.
- Initiate the Conversation
The first thing you need to realize is that teenagers are not very keen on conversations. So, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to initiate the conversation and make sure you have a one-on-one chat with your teen often.
- Listen without Judgement
If your teen wants to speak to you about something, you need to listen without judgment. Do not judge, criticize, or offend your teen quickly, as it might stop them from talking to you ever again.
- Respect their Choices
Parents need to behave like friends with their teens. They should respect the teens’ choices and ensure that they feel comfortable sharing about everything, be it their sex life or academic performance.
- Don’t Blame Them
In case your teen lands into some trouble like trouble with a teacher or a bully, make sure you don’t blame them for that. Instead, show them the support you need.
- Highlight the Positive Qualities
Teens like appreciation like the rest of us. If you want to connect with your teen better, you should highlight the teens’ positive qualities. It will motivate them to strive better academically, stay away from wrong habits and be a better person.
- Set Strong Boundaries
It is also smart to set strong boundaries for teens so that they know their limits. Set punishments for breaking the boundaries or rules so that they have a little fear of those.
- Be Polite
It is a good idea to stay polite to your teens if you want them to do something or connect with them better. For instance, if you want your teen to clean up the room, don’t say this- clean up the room, or I’ll be mad. Instead say- it would be a big help for me if you could clean up your room.
- Include them With Choice
If you want your teen to participate in family dinners or show up at family events, don’t force them into it. Tell them what they will get by attending and ask if they would like to be included.
- Don’t Take Actions Without their Consent
As a parent, it’s often a person’s instinct to solve their kids’ problems for them. As a teen parent, you should know that teenagers might consider this as interfering in their lives. So, make a habit of not taking any actions without their consent.
It is hoped that now you have some answers to the question of why is it necessary to connect with your teen and how should you go about it. Remember, patience, politeness, transparency, and honesty are the keys that can help you stay close to your teen
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