Home Editorial ‘Sweet Sixteen’ to ‘Healthy Adults’

‘Sweet Sixteen’ to ‘Healthy Adults’

Mahadeep Singh Jamwal

Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves. — Virginia Satir, an American author widely regarded as the Mother of Family Therapy. Teenage is a transitional stage in physical and psychological development that is generally confined to the period from greenness to legal adulthood. The ability of understanding, appreciating, and digesting the experience and knowledge of adults by adolescents varies from someone to another. We have detected that when our children are at the stage of losing their teenage distinctiveness, they become victims of anxiety to have a new identity and the new identity is shaped by their associate group that may be for better or for worse. The teenage years are a time of rapid growth and change – physically, mentally and socially. One of the important things to remember is that what a teen does and is exposed to during this critical time in life, has a large influence on his/her future. Because he doesn’t have the ability to decide clearly what he wants or what he can do and thus tends to try many different things. Teenage is considered as a crucial stage in human life that needs utmost parental care, guidance, and empathy. Only by giving effective care can we guarantee raising our sweet sixteen to be healthy adults. According to Doctor Robert Hedaya, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University Hospital and Founder of the National Center for Whole Psychiatry, “During the teen years, under the influence of massive new hormonal messages, as well as current needs and experiences, the teenager’s brain is being reshaped, and reconstructed, what a teen does and is exposed to during this critical time in life, has a large influence on the teen’s future.” The teen’s brain is undeveloped and improperly balanced as it relates to the emotional part of the brain, thus unable to make rational decisions. Studies have revealed that things like alcohol, drugs and the rapid rate of information teens acquire from search engines in the electronic age, also affect individual teens differently. They are more sensitive to stimulation than the average adult. A teen becomes addicted to substances much more easily than an adult by engaging in more risky behaviors that are considered abnormal and self-harm behaviors. A study coming from Cornell University shows self-harm behaviors, when exposed to stress and feelings of helplessness, is more common in teens. Realizing the facts we conclude that the transforming stage of teenagers is the most crucial period and here lies the much needed responsibility on the part of parents and we cannot rule the role of a teacher at this stage also. The parent teacher role is to allow and encourage safe exploration of teenagers. It is the transforming stage to leverage independence as well as to inculcate the feelings of the responsibilities in life in our children. In a simple way we can explain that many roads, pathways and channels become visible to our teenagers but not in a situation to decide whether the traversing route is safe, exciting, or dangerous as the assessment of the situation is based on early childhood experiences. Because of all the changes occurring in the brain, as well as in their social and academic world, teens have a deep need to define themselves. Everyone is blessed with certain values and we have to articulate that value and how we can help our children to achieve the objectives that need to be explored. This is the stage when our children require more help to expand their mindset in terms of what is possible, how things are changing and opportunities to own a career path, rather than follow a distorted future. Most young people become differently active during adolescence in the absence of right guidance and information at this stage. Staying connected with our children can help them feel safe and secure while meeting the challenges of adolescence and here we have to imbibe the feelings of trust and to create confidence in our children. During adolescence, teens struggle directionless for establishing their identity and become more independent. Adolescents often are influenced by associates and can feel impassable, which may lead them to participate in risky behavior. Here effective communication between parents and teenagers is very important. Parents must inspire their children but at the same time they should never neglect to correct their faults. One has responsibilities as a parent – known as ‘parental responsibility’ that require an important role for building the future of their children and more care and disciplined nurturing is required at the transitional stage of adolescence. Nurturing implies that the parent is to instruct, teach, and discipline. When you discipline your child, you’re setting him up to succeed in life. Being a parent comes with a multitude of responsibilities and duties. Of course, one wants his children to grow up to be healthy, happy and exceptional adults, but for that to happen your advancing children, at the changing stage of teen, need to be properly cared for, guided, loved, disciplined, taught and encouraged along the way. It’s our duty to ensure our child receives a good education and has access to the resources necessary to make that happen at the most crucial stage while transforming to a mature one. Spend quality time together with your children especially at the teen stage. Education systems may need to reconsider theories and methods on educating teens. Concluding with the words of ‘Laurie Halse Anderson’ (American female writer recipient of Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2010 for her contribution to young adult literature) -We have to acknowledge that adolescence is that time of transition where we begin to introduce to children that life isn’t pretty, that there are difficult things, there are hard situations, and it’s not fair. Bad things happen to good people.

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