What a young person takes into his or her mind, his childhood experiences, as well as his lifestyle, social relationships and family life can have an affect on his or her mental health.
need love and attention, and youths also need to feel needed, have a need for approval, and a need for someone mature to talk to, to receive guidance, discipline and to have clear boundaries.
Teenagers need limits and a certain amount of parental control, which will slowly decrease as he or she matures. If a child has no clear boundaries, this can lead to instability. For success in raising teenagers, young people also need stability in their home, a secure, orderly and clean place to live, so that they can thrive emotionally and psychologically.
Adolescence Psychology: How the Media Can and Does Affect the Psychology and Mental Health of Teenagers
Internet along with social networking, have an influence on the mental health of today's youths. Sexuality also has a bearing on the mental health of a youth, as can drug and alcohol use, promiscuity and abortion. Youths who have strong emotional ties in the family will generally be more resilient than those who do not.
About 10-15% of youths will experience some form of diagnosable mental disorder during their teenage years. ADHD
, bipolar disorder
, mental health disorders common to adults, are being diagnosed with youths and
at a steadily rising rate, which some professionals such as Sharna Olfman
, Ph.D., professor of Psychology at Point Park University, PA, feel is alarming or have described as "epidemic" (See Keisha Hill, MA school psychology
, the amount and types of
, television and
an adolescent watches or listens too; the quality of his family life, viewing
, spending excessive amount of time on the Internet
in isolation, as well as the sexual life of a youth, can have a bearing on his or her mental health. A sexually active youth can be more prone to mood changes than one who is not. Having an
with or without the parent's knowledge, can also have a bearing on the mental health of a young person.
Alcohol and drug use, smoking, prescription drug use, as well as a youth's diet, can effect a his or her mental health as well. Chronic drug and alcohol abuse can be treated in a specialized drug rehab center for teens.
Youth Issues Today: Nutrition and Breakfast
Children and adolescents have a need to eat three nutritious meals a day. Breakfast
is an important part of the physical requirements of a young person's physical development, as well as his or her mental state.
Some children and young people might skip breakfast regularly
, and sometimes lunch as well, unbeknownst to the parents or the the child study team, who might assume that he, (usually she), is eating at school, when in fact they are not. This can affect the mood of the young person, and her mental state. There are many girls who skip breakfast when it is served at school and there are some whose first meal is at 7:00 PM when their parents return home from work.
This can have a strong influence on the mental health of an adolescent or child and has been observed in the public school setting with children from fourth grade to middle school years and is probably true of some high school students as well.
Raising Teenagers: Parental Role in Adolescence / Teen Psychology
-------Keep Communication Lines Open
Parents have a large role in contributing to the emotional,
spiritual and physical health of a child and adolescent, as well as a responsibility to provide direction, guidance and firmness, proper boundaries, in family life with appropriate and reasonable limits for youths.
Additionally, successful parents keep the communication lines with their adolescents open. They are reasonable and loving in dealing with the mistakes and failures of their children and teenagers. If they learn not to overreact when their teenagers "mess up," even if it is as serious as a pregnancy or getting suspended for cutting, drug use, or some other serious reason, then the teenager will be less likely to lie, less likely to have an abortion without the parents knowledge, and more likely to talk to the parent about their problems. By the time an adolescent reaches 15 to 18 years, they are already establishing patterns of self-determination, that is, they are learning to make their own decisions.
The role of the parent during these years is delicate. Firmness is necessary to protect the teen from unwholesome influences, at the same time, that firmness can't be taken to the point of being oppressive or overbearing.
Additionally, parents should be aware that drugs are a real part of teen sub-culture, that close to 50% of teenagers have tried marijuana by the time they are 18, and approximately 20% may be regular users (at least once a month). Parents should realize that drugs such as Ecstasy are taken by teenagers at teen dance clubs, (the Club Abyss in Sayerville, NJ is one example of a teen dance club where teens reported that many took drugs such as Ecstasy before entering the Club, as one example.
Some adolescents who have anger management issues, or who are violent or unstable may be using marijuana fairly regularly unbeknownst to their parents or to the child study team who may be involved. All of this ties into the subject of adolescent psychology, and even child study teams need to be more aware of the destabilizing influence that covert use of drugs, such as marijuana and Ecstasy can have on adolescents, even if it is not daily or weekly.
Pot smoking may leave mark on teen brains
. CNN. August 27, 2012. (off-site link)
Raising Teenagers: Providing Wholesome Recreation and Hobbies for Teenagers is Essential
If a parent establishes certain "house rules" which might place some serious restriction on the teen, such as, no video games during the school year, or not allowing the teen to purchase an iPod or bring it to school, then the parent needs to think about what they can do to replace the thing that the teen has been asked to give up, something positive that the teen will appreciate as well as benefit from. If the iPod is the issue, as an example, can the parents provide music lessons for the child or teen who is musically inclined, so that he or she can develop their talent in a positive and directed way?
If the issue is the Internet in the bedroom, or curfew, not "hanging out" with certain people, are the parents providing other forms of wholesome recreation or hobbies, lessons, for the child or teen, that will take the place of the thing that is being restricted. This is essential for the teenager not to feel oppressed or restricted. There are plenty of wholesome activities and supervised recreation programs that parents can taken advantage of to help the teen or child to develop their interests, talents and to keep them busy in worthwhile pursuits.
In Newark, NJ as an example, the Newark Museum has a wonderful arts and crafts program. For only $50. for an eight week program, children or teens can learn to paint, to design, to do portraits, or other arts and crafts, with some of the best teachers in the area. Teens both enjoy it and have opportunity to interact with other teens and teachers in an informal but supervised setting, conducive to emotional and psychological growth. This is just one example, but it does require some effort on the part of parents.
Parents who spend their evenings watching television while their children hang out on the streets are setting themselves up for failure. This is true not only in the inner cities, but in the suburbs as well. Parents, then need to be diligent and realize that they need to be very active in ensuring the success of their adolescent.
Youth of the 21st Century can be successful but also face challenges which are unique to this generation. Photo: David Shankbone
Parents should be aware of what and how much music their children and teenagers are listening too, and to guide the child or teen in this area. Most parents have little idea of what their teens are indulging in in the way of music, and might be surprised if they took time to really listen.
Additionally, music videos on the Internet, on cable and satellite music television, such as MTV, BET and a host of others, can have a profound affect on a teenagers personality, mental and emotional development and values. One special education teacher said, "five minutes watching MTV can undo everything [in the way of values and character education] that we have taught these young people in class." Some teachers, programs and schools place emphasis on character education, and many of the music videos, as well as music itself, are teaching exactly the opposite message.
Parents and Raising Teens, Homework and Structure
Homework is an essential part of a teenager's and child's academic and mental development. Teens need structure, a set time daily, to be able to concentrate on their homework.
Teenagers and children who complete their homework every day, will be much more likely to develop the cognitive skills necessary to succeed academically, and to be successful in the adult world, when they are on their own, or when they have their own family. They learn good study habits, industriousness and to use their time productively. By completing quality homework assignments daily, this helps the teen to develop his or her cognitive abilities.
Parents should be involved in establishing a homework routine with their teen. If a parent helps the teenager along with their assignments, even if it is as little as making sure they sit still for the 30 minutes to two-hours of homework a day, or explaining difficult words to the teen, helping them choose a research report, or create a design for a research project, it can help to bond the teenager and the parent, helping them to develop common interests. (The parent would never want to do the homework for the teen or child, but be there to help them, if needed).
If the child or teen has several days a week when they say that they have no homework, then it is time for the parent to get suspicious. Give the teacher or teachers a call and see why and if there is no homework. Chances are there is.
This section on homework is a part of adolescent psychology, because doing homework and a parent's involvement, can establish structure in the adolescent's routine. Establishing structure and a regular schedule is stabilizing for all adolescents, but especially for those with ADHD
, depression, or any other mental health or learning disability. Structure alone can help a child, and has been one factor in helping some teens, with ADHD
to be able to come off of medication.
Romantic Relationships and Adolescence Psychology
One other area of adolescence psychology that should be discussed as that of teenagers and romantic relationships. Romantic relationships between teenagers, as we all know, is the order of the day in the high school hallway and lunchrooms, parents may or may not be aware of their teenagers romantic relationships and liaisons. This is why good communication is important.
A fifteen or sixteen year old boy usually isn't interested in a serious and long-term commitment. He is just learning to deal with his own sexual feelings, learning about sex himself through the media, from peers, and from education, and learning to deal with new emotions. Additionally, most teenagers are making some sort of plans for their future about what they will do when they graduate high school and going to college. What a teenager will do after he or she graduates is one of the most serious and difficult decisions a teenager is asked to make.
After graduating high school, most high school romantic relationships are swapped for longer-term goals. Some girls easily get emotionally involved with their high school boyfriends, and the feelings they have in this relationship are sometimes more serious than that adolescent boys are prepared to make. If the bottom falls out on the relationship, it can result in some emotional turmoil for some adolescent girls, especially, and some young adults (in their older teens or 20s, as well). One of the most common reasons for suicide attempts from adolescent girls is romantic breakups or turmoil.
The fantasies of television and movie romance, have taught girls from their earliest years in films such as Disney Princess movies, to soap operas and novellas, romance movies and novels, evaporates into the realities of boyfriends whose romantic interests quickly shift gears from female to female. This is only one common scenario of the teenage romantic high school scene, but not an uncommon one.
Girls with tearful eyes are not uncommon in high school, and the reason often is boyfriend issues. The emotional turmoil can be compounded when the teen has become sexually active, especially if parents are not aware. Additionally, sexually activity, even if it is not actual intercourse, before an adolescent is prepared emotionally or otherwise, to handle it, almost always sets up the teenager for new inner conflicts.
Sex and romance, then, is an integral part of the study of adolescence psychology. Again, parental guidance, instruction, support and strong communication lines are essential.
Free Teens USA reaches more than 10,000 teens annually in urban and suburban areas of NY and NJ with messages of healthy relationships, self-leadership, and character development. Free Teens aims to help youth achieve their life dreams and goals including that of preparing for a committed love relationship that can last a lifetime!
Adolescence Psychology: Teen Suicide Among Girls and the Media's Impact
According to an article by Eilene Zimmerman in January/February Psychology Today, the suicide rate for girls ages 10 to 14 increased 76% in 2004, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In those 15 to 18 years old, the increase was more than 30%.
Steve Hinshaw is a cultural psychologist at Berkeley, (California), who believes that there are a combination of cultural and parental pressures to blame. The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls From Today's Pressures.
Unrealistic expectations are fueled by the media, and female role models (Hannah Montana, Babriella Montez of High School Musical "who is not only sexy, but a Broadway-caliber dancer and singer, soon to be Freshman at Stanford") are both daily companions to many teens, and the achievements of these celebrities often are impossible for the average teen to live up to.
"I want to be somebody," said one 12 year old. "Everyone is special but me," she cried out. Not many girls can realistically achieve the talent and success level of these ideal role models, and this can lead to a let down in their own self-value and perception.
Girls can be socially isolated by TV
, and Internet - social networking, texting, music videos and video games
Additionally, when there is some emotional struggle, relationship or failed relationship in a girl's life, it might soon be all over everyone's text messages, MySpace, and Facebook pages. This has led some girls to despair, in the case of some romantic breakup or embarrassing situation. Parents need to be aware of this and try to provide activities that are socially rewarding, and that also can enhance values and self-esteem.
Young people need to avoid social isolation and learn life-skills, to find joy and happiness in helping other people, to help persons who might be less fortunate than themselves. Parents and even teachers can provide lessons in this, in the classroom, teachers can do this by encouraging those who excel academically to help those who are struggling.
Youth Issues Today and Teen Psychology: Teens and Depression
An active mind is a good preventive measure, and can be a part of therapy for depression
. Studies have shown that time spent with television can be correlational to symptoms of ADHD
, and can have a direct correlation with depression in teens, especially males. Just 2.3 hours of TV per day resulted in a significantly greater rate of depression. For every hour of TV watched by a teen, there was a correspondingly greater risk of depression.
The television puts one's mind in a passive mode, it is fast-paced and creates an artificial, but temporary stimulation. When that stimulation is later absent, it can result in a corresponding low in one's mood, which is thought to be a reflection of brain chemistry, making it difficult to overcome feelings of depression. In that respect, TV can become something like a drug. One youth with bipolar disorder
reported that the only time he felt better with certain of his symptoms, was when he watched TV. So, the TV calmed him while he was watching it, but afterwards, his symptoms returned in earnest.
Encouragement, then, for teens to greatly cut back on the time spent watching TV is of value. For some, this can mean doing without TV in the home, and certainly in the bedroom. Parents should never give or allow children or teens to have a TV in the bedroom, it is an open door for problems and issues.
Dr's Primack, Georgiopoulos, MD; Land, Ph.D., and others associated with the study conclusion is stated as, "Television exposure and total media exposure in adolescence are associated with increased odds of depressive symptoms in young adulthood, especially in young men."
Could Excess Time with Pop Music be Linked to Major Depression in Teens? See: Teen Depression
- Association Between Media Use in Adolescence and Major Depression - Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in Young Adulthood
Youth Issues Today and Adolescence Psychology: Antidepressants and Teenagers
to provide a temporary stop-gap for depressive feelings, about 40% of teens who are treated with antidepressants will have little or no response, notes NAMI (Spring 2009). Those who received a href"cognitive_behavioral_therapy.php">CBT CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) were much more likely to show positive response. For those teens who have severe depression, high levels of suicidal thinking, or who have had a history of abuse, resistance to antidepressant treatment was especially high.
By teaching coping strategies to teens, to help them to sort through a wide range of problems and situations, teaching problem solving and helping teens to improve their social functioning, many youths are helped with a wide range of diagnoses. This suggests a need to "strengthen treatment strategies," according to the NAMI article, for teens suffering with any of a number mental health disorders. In other words, besides pharmaceutical treatment, parents and any professionals involved, need to give attention to strategies that can help teenagers to overcome depression.
Maybe the parents themselves need to make adjustments in their interactions with their teen. Teens need to develop positive coping strategies and live a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis, one that is conducive to both good physical and mental health.
One basic philosophy behind this approach can be summed up, "teach skills not pills". This is true overall for good mental health, but is especially true for teens.
(which is simple talk therapy) has also been shown to help many teens who might be very depressed or suicidal and can be an effective stop-gap for teens with suicidal thoughts.
In other words, there definitely needs to be more than simply prescribing antidepressants in efforts to help teens. In fact, in young people and children, age 25 and under, there is a higher rate of suicidality (double-from 2%-4%) with antidepressant treatment. Parents, educators and professionals
, then need to work hard with teens to teach them coping skills and help them to make positive changes in their lifestyle
, so as to facilitate better mental health.
Part of the above from the article "Getting closer to personalized treatment for teens with treatment-resistant depression". NAMI-NYS News. Spring 2009.
Art, Art Therapy and Teenagers
Art can be an excellent therapy
, a preventive measure and mind-strengthening activity for teens
Newark Museum program for teens and children
Art and teens is a healthy combination.
The Newark Museum features many nice programs for children in art
, crafts and graphics. The instructors are kind and patient and often times are school teachers. If you live in or near Newark, NJ, consider signing up your children for the workshops. If you live out of the area, look into programs at a museum in your area. Art is an excellent skill for young people and children to develop. It helps them in many ways. They learn to focus better and for longer periods of time, to develop sustained concentration. Also, they learn skills which helps them to develop self-esteem.
Additionally, it helps children and teens to get away from both violent and sexually oriented media, which can potentially have a bearing on both their value-system, and even belief-system, as well as their self-perception and mental health, in the long-term and short-term.
Positive Teen Psychology: Art is a good prevention and corrective measure for youths who drift into pornography. Pornography can effect the mental health and behavior of youth and even of children, and mental health professionals
in and out of the school systems, as well as parents, should be aware that many youths, and even children, get involved in pornography
from early teen years and sometimes earlier. This can effect a teens behavior in school and his mental health in many ways. Depression, symptoms related to bipolar disorder
, symptoms related to ADHD, OCD
, and a host of other mental health issues can be the result of a teens involvement with pornography. Helping kids and teens get hooked on art
, is a great preventive effort.
Conclusion on Adolescence and Teen Psychology, Parenting, Raising Teenagers
Adolescents face special challenges toward achieving good mental health during their teenage years. Their bodies are growing, they are gradually gaining independence from their parents, and they are developing their own world-views, values and philosophy of life. Teenagers are developing, and need to develop, their own senses of identity in terms of who they are as individuals. In some cultures, especially in the Western World, this type of development, especially in terms of the unique identities of young people, translates to senses of identity apart from their parents.
Adolescents can be susceptible to mood swings, depression, or serious mental health disorders. Parents are needed to provide support for their teens. Parents should be involved in the teen's life in pro-active ways that serve to minimize the negative effects specific to development issues concerning their teens. They should provide a source of non-judgmental support for their teens, which includes approval of their good decisions and understanding of their mistakes.
Teenagers need to feel a sense of belonging to the family. They need general approval from their parent or caregivers, as well as approval from supportive adults such as teachers and others who serve as role models. Teenagers should be encouraged to excel in some capacity in their lives. They need to be good at something, whether it be schoolwork, athletics, art, music, public speaking, music, or some other talent. This helps a teen to gain self-respect, and he or she will less easily be swayed by negative peer-pressure.
While parents want to release the impetus toward their teenager's independence slowly, they should also attempt to keep abreast of their teen's whereabouts, activities, and companions. Some experimentation with peers can be deadly. Parents need to provide guidance and direction to teens who are navigating the sometimes murky waters of today's teen culture.
Both parents and supportive professionals should note that even serious mental health conditions need not be permanent in adolescents. With support, many teenagers can learn to cope with and overcome setbacks in terms of mental health difficulties. Success in this manner builds confidence in their self-perception of their own strength and stamina.
Additionally, healthy lifestyles and prevention are areas of consideration for teenagers. Parents should realize that what goes into a child or teen's body and mind can determine what that teenager will eventually become, think and feel about the world and themselves.
Parents and role models should help teens to choose positive, pro-social activities, as well as healthy mental and spiritual “food”, and they steer their teens away from over-indulgence in physical and mental "junk food". Mental junk food can be, as stated in this discussion, too much TV, video games, pornography, and the consumption of many other types of unhealthy habits. These can be detrimental to the long-term mental health of anyone, but especially so with regard to teenagers, who have not learned yet to analyze and decode the many messages they daily receive from many sources, including the media and entertainment world.
It is important that teenagers do not isolate themselves in their rooms or within the walls of their iPods or other sectors of the virtual world, but develop healthy relationships with others, including their friends, families and other role models. Overall, they need to develop a healthy relationship with the world, and a comfortable stance with regard to who they are as a part of the world.
In a significant way, we should understand that mental health is not largely a matter of chance, but a matter of informed choices and healthy practices, love, belonging, and guidance from parents and role models, especially as applied to adolescents, who are at an impressive stage of development.
Pages Related to Adolescence Psychology
Marijuana and Medical Marijuana
in substance abuse treatment (especially for adolescents).
Notes from grade school assembly
Adolescents and Motivation
Motivating Underachievers: (on-site) Good Article by James Lehman, MSW
Off-site Adolescence Psychology Related links
(on-site) experimentation rises 38% for teens during this season.
Parents-The AntiDrug Campaign gives guidance on protecting teens on prescription drug abuse and helping teens stay off drugs.
, addiction. How are school and grades affected? Pregnancy Risks.
Teen Psychology: Teen Drinkers at Risk for Poor Adult Health