06 June 2011
Teenagers Find it Difficult to Cope up With Pressures of Growing up, be it Physical Changes or Peer Pressure. Parents Can Guide Them Handle the Stress During These Difficult Years
Adolescence can be a difficult period for any child and give parents sleepless nights worried about their teens. The growing incidents of suicides and symptoms like morbidity, depression, complaints of lethargy, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, aggressiveness, irritation, uneasiness, withdrawal and imaginary pains to escaping from reality, in today's adolescents is of much concern.
According to recent medical research, in India the cases of maladjustment are 30 per cent, psychological disorder 40 per cent and anxiety disorder are from 15–20 per cent, in the age bracket of 14–16 years. About 12 to 15 years ago these children were brought to me by their parents as toddlers for medical check ups but now the parents are consulting me for growing suicidal tendencies, depression, and anxiety disorder, among other problems, in the same kids,'' says Dr Ravi Mullick, a paediatric.
Reasons for stress among adolescents can vary from psychosomatic, emotional to even physical. According to Dr Mullick there could be various factors causing stress among adolescents: At this stage hormonal changes take place and an adolescent may feel guilty or ashamed and as a result may develop a tendency to withdraw, can get irritated and may complain of tiredness.
Pressure of studies and to perform well in a cutthroat competitive environment can stress out a child. He/ she may loose appetite, finds it difficult to sleep and turns aggressive or morbid in the wake of criticism for his/ her poor performance in the exams or being compared with other children.
Pressure from parents, teachers and peer group adds to their woes. The children from broken homes face emotional insecurity. If the working mothers are unable to give ample time to their children, they feel lonely.
Sexual Abuse Problems in relationships, which could be with parents, siblings and/ or friends.
Any of these symptoms can be a warning signal. An early detection of the problem can help in combating stress.
Both Dr Mullick and Dr Sunil Awana, psychiatrists, emphasise on the positive role of parents during the tough years of a child's life. Parents should try to reduce the generation gap and deal with their adolescent children with much more patience. Encouraging a child to open up and communicate his/ her problems and feelings is equally essential.
Dr Awana said: `Parental support is vital, as this will inculcate confidence and positive thinking among children. Motivate a child to develop hobbies and let him make realistic goals, which he can achieve, instead of trying for what is not within his reach. Help him/ her to have an optimistic attitude towards life.
However, if an adolescent is suffering from morbidity and displays suicidal tendencies, one should immediately seek medical attention. Adolescence is that time in one's life when new experiences are welcome and the future is shaped. With a bit of awareness and attention to their wards, parents can make this transition a smooth one for their teens.