The Teen Years Are Much More Than Hormones, Acne, And Growing Pains

The Teen Years Are Much More Than Hormones, Acne, And Growing Pains

There are a lot of awkward and challenging things about raising a teenager. Sometimes when you’re arguing with your teens or struggling to get on the same page, it’s hard to look past the acne and constant eating.

What’s even worse is their significant struggles and challenges that often make them simply unpleasant to live with. The yelling, disregard for rules, and the frequent rebellion makes every day more difficult.

When dealing with your demanding teenager, it’s important to look past the superficial and think about what your teen is really going through. Your teens are learning a lot of difficult life lessons that will shape their adult lives. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with.

As a parent, it’s your job to make sure your teens learn what they need to learn now so they can be a contributing part of society when they grow up. This all starts with educating yourself about some of the things your teen is probably struggling with now.


Peer Pressure

Adults tend to have a higher understanding of how to deal with their peers, but they still feel the pressure of fitting in. Multiply that feeling by 10, and you’ll understand some of the struggles teenagers go through on a daily basis. If they don’t make a good impression on at least a few people, it feels like the end of the world.

“Peers can be positive and supportive,” says an information sheet from AACAP. “They can help each other develop new skills, or stimulate interest in books, music or extracurricular activities. However, peers can also have a negative influence. They can encourage each other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use drugs or alcohol, or become involved in other risky behaviors. The majority of teens with substance abuse problems began using drugs or alcohol as a result of peer pressure.”

This doesn’t excuse their behavior when they break the rules, but knowing that peer pressure is the issue behind their behavior can help parents know how to handle it.



The teen years are all about identity seeking. It’s healthy and normal to be confused about beliefs, personality, likes, dislikes, opinions, and more. It’s also not uncommon for teenagers to experiment. Whether they dye their hair violet or begin using recreational drugs, these experiments are often all about figuring out who they are.

Parents can ease the struggles of identity finding by offering guidance. This begins through education. Being educated on struggles with identity and getting to know your teenagers and their biggest challenges will be the biggest help here. You might enroll in a parenting course to help you understand this process and how to help.


Drugs and Alcohol

The statistics relating to drug and alcohol abuse in teenagers are frightening at best. Research shows that by the time teenagers reach 12th grade:

  • 50 percent have abused a drug of some kind
  • 43 percent have used marijuana
  • 64 percent say they have recreationally used prescription pain killers
  • 30 percent have tried drinking alcohol

These statistics underscore the startling prevalence of drug use in schools. Even if your teens aren’t into drugs, alcohol, or other social peer pressures, you can bet that they’re surrounded by people who are. They might want to avoid these negative occurrences, but feel intense pressure to conform at the same time. That kind of pressure can make them crack over time if they aren’t prepared to handle it.


Media Lessons

Unfortunately, the only real social education some teenagers get is the media, which isn’t always the best influence. Video games, television, news reports, movies, internet, social media, and other media sources can have very positive messages, but they can also have some highly negative ones that teach teens that bad behavior is actually good.

A lot of teenagers basically live online. Ninety-two percent say they go online at least once per day and 24 percent say they’re online almost constantly. This is no way for teenagers to learn how to live their lives, but without an educated parent to correct their ways of thinking, it can shape their interactions for the rest of their lives.


Emotional Disorders

Parents often expect their children to stay resilient and unaffected forever, but the adolescent years are when mental and emotional disorders often manifest themselves. Approximately 20 percent of adolescents have a mental health disorder that can be diagnosed. These disorders might include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

These are the most common mental and emotional conditions among teens, and they can cause a myriad of health and wellness problems. With these kinds of illnesses in the way, teens often struggle to find the support and motivation to achieve success.

Parents need to understand the many different challenges that face their teens. These challenges can significantly influence the way teenagers behave, and if there is no guidance or loving correction, it can derail their paths to success. Continuing your education as a parent and seeking guidance in your decisions is a huge step towards making teenagers feel more comfortable and better about themselves. For more information about the education you can receive, visit the Parent Learning Center.

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