It may not feel like it was that long ago that we were teens facing our own problems and dramas. Teen problems and all of the drama that can come along with middle school and high school can look pretty similar across the decades. But teens in 2022 face an entirely different set of problems than what we had to deal with in our teen years.
With technology playing a more prominent role in our lives and the lives of our teens, blended with global concerns that impact each of us on a personal level, it’s no wonder that teens in 2022 are facing high levels of stress. Your teen may also be struggling with mental health concerns, difficulty keeping up with school, and more.
So, just what are some of the most common challenges that today’s teens are faced with in 2022? And how can you get your teen the correct type of help when he needs it the most?
Anxiety, depression, and other mental wellness concerns
Studies have shown that almost 10% of teens report struggling with depression at one point. Those numbers could be exponentially higher as some teens may be reluctant to admit that they don’t feel as happy and cheerful as they think society expects them.
Teens face an increased risk of developing depression mainly due to the fluctuating hormones they’re dealing with and the significant life changes that adolescence can bring with it.
Recognizing the signs of depression in your teen can help you to understand when it is the right time to intervene and get him into therapeutic treatment.
Drugs, alcohol, use, and abuse
Our first introduction to drugs and alcohol happens during those crucial teen years for many of us. It’s no different for your teen. Whether drinking a beer at a party or experimenting with narcotics, your teen will likely be exposed to a range of temptations. He may turn to use and ultimately abuse drugs or alcohol to try to cope or escape from the challenges in his life.
Speaking openly and honestly with your teen can help them understand the risks of this behavior. But it can also help to reinforce to your teen that you will be there, without judgment, when he needs your help. Remember that your teen’s change in behavior is not necessarily just about substance abuse. They may be struggling with something else you’re not yet aware of.
Individual therapy, group therapy, and other treatment options for addictive behavior can help get your teen through these challenges.
Be sure that you are modeling the same behavior you’d like to see in your teen. You can’t expect him to drop his drinking or drug use if you’re unwilling to alter your behavior.
Peer pressure and pressure from family
The concerns about peer pressure have been discussed at length at schools and through other public programs nationwide. But peer pressure doesn’t always involve other teens trying to convince your teen to light a cigarette or drink from a flask under the bleachers. It could also see your teen feeling pressured into skipping school, participating in activities he wouldn’t otherwise participate in, and so much more.
Another concern is that pressure doesn’t always come from peers. Family members and even teachers and coaches can apply pressure to your teen in different ways, resulting in him feeling overly stressed. It could look like pressure to perform academically, succeed on the football field, or even get a job and help the family out financially.
Evaluate the types of pressure you may be putting on your teen. Are there areas you can cut back? Can he drop one or more of the extracurricular activities? It can be easy to help your teen cope.
Remember that peer pressure can often be quite similar to bullying for some teens. You may need to discuss this with their school guidance counselor, some of his teachers, and coaches. Individual therapy can also help your teen cope with all types of pressure they are struggling with.
Bullying – online and in the real world
Bullying was once something we only needed to worry about at school or if our bullies caught us when we were outside of home and school. Today’s teens face online bullying, which is a grave concern. Bullies now have around-the-clock access to your vulnerable teen through smartphones, social media, and message boards.
All it takes is a bully accusing your teen of something on social media, and your teen could be faced with so much backlash and abuse from others who see it. Your teen may be adept at hiding these problems from you. So, in reality, you may not find out that they are struggling until things escalate to the point of a mental health crisis.
Reducing the access bullies have to your teen can make a significant difference. Speak to your teen about what bullying looks like and help them understand that you will always be there to provide them with the guidance and support they need. If need be, limit the amount of time your teen spends online.
If your teen is being bullied at school, several options are to consider. This could include speaking with school counselors, administrators, and other parents. If things don’t resolve, you could consider moving your teen to a different school.
Self-esteem and self-image
We all have our insecurities; there’s no denying that. For teens, the pressure to look a certain way can be amplified by low self-esteem and by the things others around them say and do. If you mention your weight or feel unattractive, your teen will hear it. This environment can foster a lack of positive self-image for many teens.
Remind your teen that how we look doesn’t define who we are. Also, remind your teen that the people on social media or their favorite reality TV show don’t honestly look like they are portrayed. Makeup, filters, cosmetic surgery, and image touching up can all completely change the way that someone looks.
Be the positive self-image that your teen needs. Alter your behavior, language, and thoughts about how you see yourself. Therapy may help address your teen’s insecurities and poor self-image. Remember that good health includes good mental and emotional health.
A longing to belong
One of the reasons that peer pressure tends to impact teens is that teenagers want to feel accepted by their peers. They long to belong to a group of peers that understands them and makes them feel welcomed.
This can become a concern if your teen starts to change the group of friends he is spending time with. Sometimes this can lead to positive changes in his life. Other times this can lead to your teen succumbing to peer pressure to feel like he belongs.
Teens in 2022 have had to deal with a significant upset in their routines, their social lives, and their education. It should come as no surprise to find that your teen struggles with keeping up with his schoolwork. School counselors and teachers can often provide ideas for extra credit that can help your teen bring his grades up. Both in-person and online, Tutoring can also help your teen catch up.
For some teens, starting fresh in a new academic setting is the better option as it allows them to refocus their attention.
When is the right time to get your teen additional help?
While prevention is the best cure, there is no wrong time to get your teen the help they need. Whether you notice concerns yourself or your teen reaching out to you to ask you for help, it’s essential to get them the correct type of treatment for their problems.
At Help Your Teen Now, we can connect families with the resources they need. Your teen may not admit they need help, but if they’re struggling or in crisis, there’s no time like the present to get them into a treatment program.