The 2014 Jacksonville Youth Summit, which is the Summit Contracting Group’s way of giving back to the community, particularly the younger generation, is a means to educate the youth and help them lead purpose-driven lives. As the biggest city in Florida, Jacksonville is the home to a sizable number of young people, comprising 30% of their population. Hence, the events held for the youth are highly needed and appreciated.
The National Institute of Mental Health evaluates that for every five children and teen in the United States will either have a severe mental health issue at some point in their lives or is already suffering from it in a constant basis.
The symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD are restlessness, compulsiveness, and inability to concentrate. It disrupts a person’s focus, making him jump from one activity to another. It influences a person’s motor skills thus affecting his daily tasks and relationships. There are some ways you can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD, and among those is the use of “lucky charms.”
It is sometimes hard for parents to detect and accept the fact that children can get depressed in a major way. At times, this will not be taken seriously because of denial. Thus, the condition can be blown out of proportion when it is already discovered.
As with adults, this can result from physical health like suffering from a chronic illness such as cancer or diabetes. Sustaining a severe injury that can result in physical disability and even biochemical disturbance in the brain may possibly cause depression. Certain life events like the death of a loved one or a pet are also predisposing factors to depression. For the most part, having a family history and genetic vulnerability to the mental state is considered a primary cause of depression in children. Other risks will include environmental and situational factors such as homelessness, poverty, and bullying.
Depression is significantly more common in boys under age 10. But by age 16, girls have a greater incidence of depression.
What Should Parents Do?
Awareness of the condition. Be mindful of your children’s activities. If previously they were usually hyperactive or energetic and just all of a sudden there is a noticeable change on the activities like showing disinterest or withdrawal from doing the usual stuff, then that is a cause for worry. Their performance and grades in school are also affected – having low grades and getting involved in trouble. Sometimes you can detect depression and a gloomy mood on how they dress and present themselves. Selection of dark-colored clothes or those with monochromatic tones is a critical indicator that they are emotionally disturbed. This can also be true of the type of music they listen to.
Look out for hidden clues. You can start by watching their social media behavior. If you are able to monitor their social media posts (which is highly recommended), try to examine the pattern of their tweets or Facebook posts. Children nowadays are very fond of the internet and have considered this as their resounding wall for all their inner demons. The messages that they post online are silent screams and some statements can give out hints of their true feelings and the current state of mind they are in. There is a significant number of cases where the child has posted a message online before committing suicide. As always, prevention is better than a pound of cure. In this case, recognizing your children’s actions is the best way to detect depression and its adverse effect which is suicide.
Talk to your child. This is the basic and essential thing that you should do once you notice that there is something wrong or off with your child. As parents, we know this for sure. We have this in our gut feeling that something is not right. But we don’t want to assume forever and just wait for the turn of events. Do not try to rationalize everything that is going on with your child. Establish a trusting relationship and try to know what’s the real problem that they are facing.
Tell your child’s doctor. The first medical professional that you can rely on is the pediatrician. Several tests will be done in order to evaluate if the child has clinical depression and may need a referral to a child psychologist or psychiatrist for that matter.
Provide safety and security. Together with depression is the high risk for suicide or self-harm. Make sure that all pointed and sharp objects, medications, household cleaning products, and alcohol are stored away and out of reach.
Help and support your child. Provide worthwhile and creative activities, and help your child relax. Make time to be with them and listen attentively when they are trying to communicate.
Do you need more advice on how to help your child? You can visit https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/.
(A Teen’s Realization on Peer Pressure and Making the Right Decisions)
Maureen and Marina are twins and they’ve been each other’s rock ever since they were born. The pair were inseparable up until high school when Maureen met a transferee named Dina. At one look, you’d never anticipate that Dina was trouble. She seemed innocent and was in fact very respectful to Maureen and Marina’s parents whenever she was at their home.
When the two became close, they went to parties and did some stuff – drinking, smoking, and some marijuana. Marina was always shut out because she wouldn’t join them and that’s how Dina liked it. If she can’t control her friend, she’d dump her. Maureen eventually chose Dina over her twin because Dina was a lot of fun to be with. Marina had to beg her sister to stay away from Dina but to no avail.
Peer pressure kicks in
Dina was sexually active and she decided it was time for Maureen to “belong” to the group. She pressured Maureen into seeing and giving in to this guy named Kip who was a chain smoker and a marijuana addict. In short, Maureen surrendered her virginity to Kip and a month later, her menses didn’t arrive as scheduled. Maureen got pregnant, but she didn’t know she was pregnant right away. She continued with her drinking, smoking and pot sessions which resulted in a complicated pregnancy.
Consequences of giving in to peer pressure
Maureen and Marina are 28 years old now and they lead very different lives. Marina is still unmarried and is beginning her career as a dental practitioner. You could say that Marina chose to stay away from vices like smoking, drinking, and drugs while she pursued a medical course which is dentistry. She thought of her future first and fun was limited to clean enjoyment. It wasn’t a boring life for Marina. She too experienced boys and parties, but she always had a dream – I want to live a comfortable life after I graduate from high school.
Marina envisioned herself to have her own house, fully paid car, a long-term successful career and eventually, a family. A husband who is equally professional with two kids; Marina dreamed for this and it was her driving force back then.
Maureen wasn’t as lucky as Marina and that was because of her choice – that one wrong move of giving in to peer pressure. She stopped high school the year she got pregnant and was only able to finish two years after that. Maureen’s baby had a heart condition because of her smoking and drug use. She wasn’t also able to proceed to college like Marina. Maureen had to take care of her child and do vocational courses on the side.
Regrets too late…
If you ask Maureen, she will tell you that her biggest regret was choosing to give in to peer pressure. Now that she is mature, she understands that it was her mistake all along. If she had said no to smoking, drinking and drugs like what Marina did, her life would have been different. Having the baby was not a mistake for her, but she feels awful all the time that she has to work many jobs just to support her disabled child. Her money is not enough and her time is very little. Maureen is always torn between the many things to do and her life is truly stressful.
Marina, being single and who has achieved most of her dreams in life by the time she was 26, assisted her sister. First, she asked Maureen to speak with a therapist from this site. Maureen had to gain back her self-worth so she can fight her inner demons (depression and anxiety) and move on with her life.
Moving on with life
Speaking with a therapist has made Maureen a well-rounded person. She was able to forgive herself and has been very positive about life since then. While she works days, at nights Maureen goes to school and wants to finish a Family Counseling course. She aims to become a counselor someday. It has always been of interest to her and hopefully, she’ll be able to regain her life.
No one must suffer from past mistakes and the only way to go is onwards for the better, as Marina would say.
Would you shoo your teen away when he or she is talking to you about sex or will you be able to control panic?
My niece, Martha, was pacing back and forth the front lawn as I pulled up. She seemed nervous and was biting her nails. Something is up, I can feel it. Martha is my sister’s daughter and sadly, they are not close. She would open up to me more, which is fine with us – at least, we know what’s up with her since these days, teenagers opening up to their aunts are rare. She smiled so big, showing all her pearly whites as she called my name when I opened the car door, “Amy!”
Teenage pregnancy is a common problem in our society. Parents who have a teenage daughter will always be bothered by this issue. The rate of teenage pregnancy is high in America, and there have been studies that it can be linked to peer pressure.
Peer pressure, if not dealt with accordingly, often has an unfavorable effect on our youth. This is supposed to be the time of their lives when they start to cultivate their own identity. This is the time when they develop interests in some aspects of life such as hobbies, music, fashion and other things that would set them apart from the rest. Sadly, some of them are lost in trying to find themselves. There’s the desire to fit in and please everyone around that they set aside their own truth.
One day, your daughter comes home, and all she talks about is a party being hosted by a kid in her school and how every cool person in the school is sure to attend. She insists that she has to attend this party and tells you she wouldn’t forgive you if you don’t let her. Seeing as you were a child once who already knows what goes on in those kinds of parties, you also insist that she won’t be attending this party. She sulks and complains of how you are mean and how you don’t want her to make any friends.
At one point in your teen’s life, they will want to do something or act in a certain way because their friends are doing those same things. With the advent of social media and the ease at which chat with strangers occur, your teen is not only being pressurized by friends at school but also by faceless strangers whom you know nothing about.
PEER PRESSURE AND HOW IT INFLUENCES YOUR TEEN
Peer pressure is that feeling your teen has of wanting to do something because their friends or people in their social group tend to be doing it. This feeling stems from the need to want to be liked or respected by their peers and people in their social group. Every teenager goes through this stage at some point in their development.
Peer pressure is not necessarily a bad thing. In some ways, it is expected that teenagers will get influenced by some of their friends. This is because as the years go by, teenagers will begin to carry out activities that will take them away from home and most of this time will be spent with friends. With this constant time being spent with their friends comes the desire to fit in and be liked by their friends.
Peer pressure can be good or bad. Teenagers may become assertive, competitive or want to try new activities just by being with their friends. Some teenagers can also be forced into doing things they wouldn’t normally do like smoking, drinking or taking part in activities that are negative just to fit in with the crowd.
Peer pressure might result in teenagers wanting to dress alike or do the same hairstyles. It might also result in the same taste in music because that seems to be the cool music making the rounds in their social group.
It might also lead them into exhibiting anti societal behaviors like breaking rules, stealing, truancy, and becoming unserious in school. For this reason, many families have decided to help their teens get through these growing pains and life experiences that come with moving into adulthood by looking into getting professional help, even if it’s free; more about that here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/get-free-online-therapy-should-you-use-free-counseling/.
The effects of peer pressure are felt intensely among close friends. This stems from the fact that close friends care about each other and also because most teenagers value the opinions of their close friends. Teenagers are more likely to succumb to pressure from their close friends because it feels more personal than when that same pressure is coming from a large group. For instance, a teenage girl’s best friend joins a new crowd and becomes a party animal. That teenage girl might have difficulty saying no when her best friend invites her to these parties even when she knows these parties might end up not being in her best interest. She would choose to attend because she doesn’t want to lose her friend totally or cause her friend’s opinion about her to change.
In the same vein, teenagers can also set positive examples for each other. Teenagers are drawn to other teens that share the same interests or have similar hobbies. A shy teenager who finds himself among friends who can speak up for themselves will in time learn the act of speaking out and overcome shyness.
When making individual choices, friends of your teenager can also help. Peer groups are for listening to each other and to give advice when necessary. According to teenshealth.com, a teenager’s peer group is more likely to speak up about something they consider risky or a huge mistake.
Though you are sometimes prone to worrying about the influence of peer groups on your teen, remember that peer pressure doesn’t always lead to negative behavior and can sometimes be healthy for your child.
The teenage years are one of the hardest years for your child and you as a parent. At this point, there are so many things vying for the attention of your child. There are hormones, mood swings, school pressure and the worst of all, peer pressure. You are worried, wondering if the values you have instilled in them will prevent them from falling in with the wrong crowd. You are hoping they are strong enough to conquer the temptations that will come in the form of their friends asking them to make wrong choices. Wanting to fit in can lead a teenager into difficult situations because at this point, they are willing to conform so they can be liked by the people in their social group. This pressure to conform to the attitudes, characters or values of other kids who belong to your child’s social group or a social group your child aspires to belong to is Peer pressure.
Peer pressure can be positive, instilling a sense of competition in your child and pushing them to take part in extracurricular activities. Peer pressure can also be negative, causing your child to flout the rules and participate in activities they ordinarily wouldn’t have been part of. As a parent, you can effectively warn your teen or take them to a therapist for talk therapy to prevent them from making wrong choices and give them the necessary tools needed to enable them to deal with peer pressure and tell them more from this post: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/talking-therapies-how-talk-therapy-can-help-you-in-treatment/
Here are some ways to also protect your child from being pressured into negative behaviors:
Boost your child’s confidence. A person who is confident with a high self-esteem is not easily swayed into doing what he/she doesn’t want. The more confident your child is, the less the desire to want to conform and be part of the crowd. When your child lacks self-confidence, he feels the need to seek for validation from other people, and this might push them into doing negative things just to prove themselves. Teach your teen to be secure in him/herself. Praise them for being able to take certain decisions. Compliment them. Avoid ridiculing them or using words that can shame them. Laugh with your children and teach them that there is nothing wrong in being able to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. A man’s mistake doesn’t define a man. Encourage them to learn from their mistakes.
Encourage your teenager to be independent in their thinking and decision-making process. Train your child to make decisions and recognize when he/she has made a good decision. You can help improve your child’s ability to make decisions by asking them questions about a situation and what they feel the best solution should be. Allow them to brainstorm on the situation and give different solutions. You can discuss the consequences of each solution with them and then let them choose the one they think is the best out of all they have mentioned. This is after you are sure they have weighed all the consequences involved. This helps in promoting independent thinking and helps them in their decision-making process by always making sure they consider the consequences of their actions.
Encourage and inspire your kids daily. You can encourage them to read up or help them search for books or movies that inspire kids to be true to themselves and discover their passions and talents and not give into peer pressure.
Learn to listen. Teenagers just want to be heard and understood. Learn to listen when they are talking about the pressures they are facing and try not to overreact when they say something shocking. It will only make them shut down and cease communication. Stay calm and focus on what your child needs.
Get to know the friends your child is keeping. It is very important that you know the people your child is hanging out with. You can encourage your teen to bring them over so you can interact with them and maybe assess their behavior.
Act out peer pressure scenarios and teach your child how to act in cases like that. It’s time for a little bit of role play. Practice peer pressure scenarios. You can act as the one putting the pressure and see how your kid reacts to those kinds of situations. Educate them on how to say no without causing conflict. Teach them that ‘No’ means no, and they do not have to explain themselves.