Adolescence is an exciting time in anyone’s life, but it also presents challenges, changes and anxieties for teens and parents alike. From bullying to mental health and stress to social media, there’s no shortage of issues and concerns to keep everyone up at night.
Thankfully, our book Help Your Kids With Growing Up is available to help everyone navigate the sometimes rocky road of puberty and adolescence. Here are some common worries of parents around their tweens and teenagers. How many of these have you or your teen experienced anxiety about?
With billions of users worldwide, social media platforms are an exciting way for teens to stay in touch, to organize and plan events and to learn about the world around them. However there can often be concerns about privacy, over-use and the temptation to compare oneself to the “perfection” displayed on peers’ and celebrities’ online profiles.
Bullying can happen anywhere, including on the way to school, at home or online. Whenever and wherever it happens, bullies behave this way to enhance their own sense of importance, security or popularity. It’s important for teens to know where they can turn to for help if they're being bullied, for example to a parent or trusted teacher.
Whether it’s related to exams or frustration with family, everyone feels stressed sometimes. Stress can be a positive thing, motivating teens to work under pressure, but too much of it can have a harmful effect on a person’s emotional and physical health.
It’s very helpful for teens to find stress management techniques that work for them – for example, making time to talk to friends, taking breaks from school and work and exercising regularly.
Puberty can be a challenging time, with the body going through many changes – both inside and out. Growth spurts, body hair and other physical changes are all part of the sometimes scary (but very normal!) process.
Many parents feel anxious at the idea of their teens dating, but it’s perfectly normal for teens to want to date as they grow up. It’s difficult to gauge how much involvement is needed from parents – it really depends on the teen, as well as their age and maturity level.
Academic exams can be a source of great stress, but there are many ways to manage this pressure. Revision schedules, healthy breaks and support networks can help to make exams a less anxious time for both students and parents.
People look after their physical health through exercising and eating and sleeping well. It’s just as important to look after one’s mental health, too! If teens are feeling overwhelmed, and negative thoughts are hard to escape, non-judgemental chats with a close friend or parent can help.
It’s common for teenagers to experiment with alcohol, which can understandably cause parents some concern. It’s important for teens to understand the risks surrounding drinking.
As tweens and teens become more aware of their sexuality, it’s natural for sex to become a topic of interest. Talking about sex can be embarrassing for everyone, but it’s better that teens find out the facts from their parents, rather than discovering incorrect information through friends or on the internet.
Some parents worry that talking about sex will encourage their teen to have sex, but there is no evidence to support this. In fact, open discussions are proven to reduce the occurrence of STIs and lower the rates of teen pregnancy.
Sexting, also known as nude selfies or nudes, is when people send naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos of themselves or a part of their body. It’s important for teens to understand that there are risks involved in sexting, even when the message does not include a person’s face.
For expert guidance on these and other issues, Help Your Kids With Growing Up is the perfect teen and parent companion. Covering body image, sexuality, internet safety, the menstrual cycle, body hair, mental health, bullying and more, it's a comprehensive, non-judgemental guide to adolescence.