The teenage years

August 04, 2012

Adolescence is a period that follows childhood and extends into adulthood. It is an important phase in which the child is neither fully an adult nor a child. It usually lasts from the age of 14-20 for boys, and from 12-18 years for girls.

It is a fickle, disruptive and critical period which both parents and children are afraid of. Parents, because they usually ignore the reactions of the child in this period and do not know how to handle him, and the adolescent because he fears a lack of control over his own life.

Parents find it difficult to understand that children eventually grow up and can think and act for themselves. For rebellious teens, maturity is often all in the head.

All those from my generation remember our own teenage years, in which we experienced unexplained character changes, those bodily sensations that were beyond our understanding and that urge to eat everything.

Our first cigarette, our first drink, our first kiss and our first disappointment in love.

Adolescents are usually impetuous and seek new experiences, believing they are larger than life and sufficiently intelligent to overcome all obstacles that come in the way of achieving their goals.

But very often, it seems that everything goes wrong. In addition, they often feel they can only trust their friends because their parents have stopped understanding them.

The status quo ceases to exist, parents no longer protect the child and he has to face different challenges in life that lead to the adult world.

In this way, they often face other teenagers whose family ties are not too strong, whose parents are no longer concerned about them, or simply those suffering from a behavioural disorder.

No matter how grown-up and strong he may pretend to be, the teen is still fragile. With this assumption, I want to get to a very common theme within the group - juvenile delinquency.

We call a young person who is found guilty of an offence that would qualify as a crime if an adult had committed it, a juvenile delinquent. The most common crimes are related to vandalism of property and violence.

Different theories have been put forward to explain the phenomenon. Among them is contact with other criminals, peer pressure, and seeking popularity or adventure.

The prognosis of offenders is not too good because they usually live in slums and if they are not removed from that environment, it is very difficult, almost impossible for them to leave crime.

When it comes to behavioural disorders, the best therapy is behaviour modification while the therapist works with the immediate environment to achieve a change of attitude.

Teenagers need a secure family life, which provides a suitable environment for finding the stability that will lead them into maturity. Disoriented by their internal contradictions, they seek approval and affection to be able to understand what's happening.

The world suddenly opens up and that is how a teenager explores it, without order or logical start; time passes quickly and he has a lot to absorb. Parents may be left perplexed by their energy levels and search for spiritual values and understanding.

Teens want to be popular, be admired and trusted, and mimic adults to achieve their goals.

Parents will need a lot of patience to deal with this disruptive period. They must enforce the rules and value their teen's emotions at the same time.

This is the key to achieving a balance so that when the child grows up, he can look back on his adolescence and remember it as one of the best stages in his life, and not the worst.