Do you remember that time when your child took his first toddler steps? It was a milestone that inevitably made you cry. At the same time, you made sure that you were there in every step of the way to protect him/her from any possible mishap.
When your child grew up to become a teenager, you had to accept the reality that you no longer have the power to do that. While you still guide your teenage child as much as possible, you can't be there anymore every second of his/her life to ensure that nothing harms your precious one.
What you can do instead is to keep yourself informed with the most prominent issues that many teenagers are facing today. Peer pressure, self-injury, and low self-esteem are just a few of them.
Many teenagers engage in health-risk behaviors because of peer pressure. Activities like smoking, alcohol drinking, sexual activity, and use of illegal drugs are just few of the things that your upright child may end up doing because of pressure among his peers. There's also major pressure on teens to emulate unrealistic body standards. These lead to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
Injuring oneself intentionally is also increasing in an alarming rate. For some teenagers, it's their way of coping with stress and emotions. When teens are overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, whether due to school-related work, social relationships, or family issues, they look for ways to cope and sometimes this leads to self-injury. This can be in the form of cutting, scratching, burning, hitting, biting, picking at skin, and pulling out hair. Self-injury is dangerous not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. Even though this doesn't usually mean that a person has suicidal tendencies, it should never be brushed off as a small problem.
Low Self Esteem
Another common problem among teenagers is low self-esteem. Teens are in that middle area where they are no longer carefree, problem-free kids but they are also not yet adults who are wise enough to handle these problems. As a result, teens often feel like they're not good enough. They suffer from low self-esteem that can affect not only their ability to form social relations but also their productivity in school and in life in general. It can also be rooted from unrealistic ideals set by the media in terms of beauty. Teenage girls often feel insecure about how they look just because they don't fit into society's standards of beauty.
How to Help
Here are some tips on how to help your child cope with these challenges:
• Strengthen Your Bond With Your Teenage Child.
Teenagers who feel loved and valued by their parents are less prone to succumb to peer pressure, have low self-esteem, or undergo self-injury than those who feel alienated from their parents.
• Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem.
Make it a habit to find good things about your child and point it out to him/her all the time. This would make him/her realize that he/she has his/her own strengths to be proud of.
• Don't Glorify Popularity.
Peer pressure is often rooted from the desire to fit in, conform, and be popular. If you instill in your child that healthy friendships are more important than these, he/she is less likely to engage in health-risk behaviors despite of pressures among peers.
• Communicate With Your Child.
Sometimes, your kid just needs to hear some pieces of advice from you in order to get by the daily stresses he/she's experiencing. Spend quality time with your teen as often as you can.