The problems of adolescent and youth are issues that bring the head to the parents of adolescents and also to educators and other people who are in their immediate context.
Adolescence is the stage that takes place between 10 and 19 years, although some studies suggest that it ends at 25, coinciding with the beginning of maturity. Throughout these years, young people experience a series of changes at a physical and biological, psychological, social and sexual level.
This stage, so decisive in the development of personality and morals of future adults, has been studied and described by various authors over the centuries.
An example of them was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe when in 1774 he published The Young Werther . In this book, the author treats adolescence as a time in which passions, feelings and sufferings are exalted. In addition, the young protagonist is immersed in a sea of doubts and contradictions.
It is very likely that teens is the most turbulent stage of life that a human being can experience because of a number of things they want to experience and, sometimes, without taking the risks that they can entail. In addition, the first conflicts begin to arise when the adolescent must make decisions for himself.
This is why people who are close to adolescents show uneasiness as different problems can arise during this stage.
Next, we will see 11 problems that may occur throughout this period and that have repercussions in the family, social and academic environment. In addition, we will see some guidelines to be able to solve them.
11 common problems of adolescents and how to treat them
1- Emotional problems
The depressive symptoms are common in adolescence. Also, adolescents tend to seclude themselves and avoid contact with adults, feeling more comfortable among their peer group, that is, those who have a similar age, as well as those with whom they share tastes and interests.
It is common the scene of the adolescent confined in his room avoiding, in this way, the contact with his closest relatives.
Also, inadequate management of emotions can give the face through sleep and eating problems.
How can we deal with emotional problems with teenagers? In the first place, it is important that they do not feel judged, nor questioned. For this reason, we can create moments in which the adolescent can express himself freely without being subjected to an interrogation by the adult. This fact is called revelation.
Similarly, we must respect their space and their rhythms, without feeling invaded and questioned. Only then, will the adolescent feel comfortable and be able to express himself. All this will have positive repercussions on the family climate.
2- Eating disorders
Problems with eating that can end up becoming a pathology such as Eating Disorders. Cases of anorexia and bulimia are becoming more common in young people, both boys and girls. These problems are closely related to low self-esteem and how teens perceive their body image.
To avoid this, it is important to create a routine around the time to eat and what foods are rich and varied. Also, do not send negative messages to teens about their body image and teach them to love themselves for what they are.
In cases in which the family detects inappropriate behavior or has suspicions about whether they could suffer an Eating Disorder, it is important to discuss this issue and go to the primary care physician who will refer us to the appropriate specialist.
3- Absence of protection in sexual relations
As we saw at the beginning, adolescents have a certain inability to appreciate that their behavior carries certain risks. One of these aspects is that of sexual relations.
Each time, adolescents experience sex beforehand and often do not use any type of protection, which translates into a high probability of causing an unwanted pregnancy and the possibility of developing a sexually transmitted disease.
In this aspect, the prevention and approach of sexuality with normality is very important. It is important that from a young age, adapting it to their level of development, the subject of sexuality should be addressed naturally.
Also, as adolescence approaches, know the contraceptive methods, the characteristics of each of them and know where they can get them.
4- Alcohol and drugs
In line with the previous section and related to the assumption of risks, the consumption of alcohol and other illegal drugs is also an increasingly widespread practice among adolescents and with an age of early onset, according to some studies, which is around 13 years.
In fact, there is a hypothesis that establishes that the development of consumption occurs in a staggered manner.
First, they start using drugs that are accessible and legal (for adults) such as alcohol and tobacco and, as time passes, they take other drugs such as marijuana and hashish, ending with other drugs such as amphetamines, speed, etc.
Sometimes, consumption is the result of inadequate management of relationships and leisure time. Therefore, and to avoid early consumption, we must offer our young people other leisure alternatives in which they share their free time with their group of friends and carry out activities that are satisfactory for them.
Also, we have to show them that the consumption of alcohol and other substances in adulthood should always be done responsibly.
There are prevention programs for this type of substance that demonstrate to young people the consequences of the use and abuse of drugs. It is important that these awareness measures are carried out at school.
5- Addictions without substance
We live in a society in which we increasingly depend on mobile phones and other technological devices in our day to day life. This was not going to be less in adolescents and more and more of them suffer problems of addiction to social networks, video games and surfing the internet.
The Internet is a very powerful tool and offers us endless possibilities. Therefore, it is important to make our young people aware of responsible use.
From small, and before the beginning of adolescence, we must alert our children of all the dangers that exist within the network and promote appropriate use.
To avoid addiction and to enter websites that encourage some kind of illegal or harmful behavior for themselves (sects, gangs, eating disorders, pornography, etc.) we have to mark a series of habits and responsible consumption.
For example, mark the time of use so that it does not interfere with your responsibilities and the time at which you must disconnect. Also, that parents can control the history of websites or that they can be seated near them while they are surfing.
6- Reckless attitude
Adolescents suffer the inability to anticipate the direct consequences of a behavior. Among these behaviors, we find those we have talked about before: addictions, unprotected sex, etc.
There are many other practices that young people can be direct victims such as gangs, sects and reckless driving, among others.
In order to avoid the consequences derived from these behaviors and practices, it is important that at home a family climate is encouraged in which they talk about any topic and there are no taboos, as we said in the section on sexual relations.
Also, that family relationships promote respect and affection for all members of the family. In short, those relationships are healthy and young people live in a positive context for them.
It is important that they feel understood to favor the moments of revelation and trust their parents to tell them what their friends are, what plans they have, what they do in their leisure time …
7- Relationship problems
Teens tend to be shy and, sometimes, introverted. All this hinders relationships. Although, usually, tend to feel understood and integrated by their peer group, but they feel questioned and with little desire to open up to adults and their closest friends.
For these reasons and those explained above, it is important to create a climate of trust and closeness at home.
It is important to set some limits because the parents are not colleagues, but they must establish the appropriate links so that there is a healthy and trusting relationship.
8- Low self-esteem and obsession with the body
The adolescent undergoes changes throughout his body, is in full transition between childhood and adulthood. Try to imitate the canons of beauty that appear in the media and those that are accepted by the circles in which it operates.
Self-esteem depends on our own concept, what we think about ourselves and, in addition, is influenced by how others treat us and the comments we receive.
Therefore, to encourage high self-esteem in our adolescents, we must send them positive messages and encourage them to love themselves for what they are and not for how they would like to be.
It is important to accept oneself with the defects and virtues and change what really depends on us and that leads to greater personal satisfaction.
9- Idleness is not the same as leisure
The first of these terms refer to the waste of leisure time. Many adolescents do not know how to properly manage their free time.
Therefore, it is important to explain the difference between having free time and take advantage of doing satisfactory activities and contribute to a good psychological state and not waste them without doing anything.
Taking into account the tastes of the adolescent, in particular, we can propose cultural activities that contribute to the enrichment and be profitable.
These activities should not be imposed because they will perceive it as an obligation and they will not enjoy them, besides they will seem boring and next time they will not accept any more suggestions.
10- Gangs and sects
This type of associations and relationships that arise among adolescents have multiple negative consequences and that is why it is important to keep our young people well away from these contexts.
This type of institutions are not the same or have the same purpose as the group of friends who meet to enjoy time together. In these cases, there are criminal and illegal behaviors, such as drug use and crime.
The most introverted and vulnerable boys are cannon fodder for these groups since their leaders know how to squeeze them to the fullest and take advantage of them.
To prevent our young people from being associated with this type of organizations, once again, the work begins at home, in a context in which relationships are healthy and adolescents have references and support figures.
Also, parents and close relatives should be aware of how their relationships are and if they notice changes in the behavior of children that may indicate that something is not right.
At the minimum signal, it is important to talk with them about what is happening and make the most convenient decision to get them away from that context and the harmful relationships that arise.
11- Low academic performance
There can be multiple causes that lead to low academic performance and, also, vary in each adolescent. Among them, we find lack of motivation, attention problems, lack of habit or ignorance of study techniques, emotional problems, etc.
This is a problem that affects the whole educational community and, therefore, parents and teachers must work together for the good of the students.
In the educational center, they must motivate the students to learn, to internalize new knowledge and that is not imposed. So they will perceive it as something negative.
At home, it is important to promote study habits and routines, that is, have a space to study that is well lit, establish a few hours of work in which the adolescent will not be interrupted, etc.
In addition, communication between teachers and parents is important in case intervention or some specific action is necessary jointly.