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Adolescent Behaviors and the Challenges in Society Today Essay

Increased awareness needs to be established so that adults can be aware of adolescent behaviors and challenges in our society today. Some issues as simple as adolescents are being ostracized because of obesity, mothers work schedule causing risky behaviors, children being raised by depressed mothers, parent stress causing adolescents not to have good self-concept, and adolescents being involved in risky behavior in order to be accepted by peers. All of these actions are causing behaviors such as teen pregnancy, self-injuries, suicide, and eating disorders. Research states many of these behaviors have high statistics coming from the home environment. The United States having the highest teen pregnancy rate all around, what are parents doing wrong and how can society be educated so that behaviors can change with adolescents in the world today. With increased awareness of what adolescents are doing, adults can be helpful to adolescents who are so desperately in need of attention?

A family needs to raise their children in a Christian setting so they will have a solid foundation when they grow into adolescents because, they need to be strong enough to face the challenges, peer pressures, and behaviors of our adolescents who are not raised to know right from wrong in their environment. Because of reality of society all adolescents will be challenged to deal with other adolescent behaviors. Adolescents can’t be put into a bubble and be protected from what society has to offer. Society is proof that there is lack of guidance for adolescents in the world today. Is society proof that there is lack of guidance for adolescents in the world today? Research proves lack of guidance is evident. In this study research says that adolescent problems can stem from weight problems, peer pressure, parents work schedule, and parent stress, causing many different behaviors in adolescents.

The discussion in one of the articles researched says that social status for adolescents depend on how your body is developed. Girls and boys are not being accepted or are not popular by peers if they are overweight. “Adolescent girls are more popular if they have the “perceived body size” and the boy’s popularity depends on the “overall muscularity” of his body” (Wang,S.S., Houshyar, &Prinstein, 2006). The research in this article is based on “522 students in grades 11 and 12.” (Wang, 2006) “The research was discovered by students choosing popular kids and not so popular kids and results being those popular kids, having the perceived bodies being popular and the not so popular kids being overweight” (Wang, 2006).

This research states “Messages within the media or family promoting ‘idea’ body shapes may be reinforced within adolescents’ own peer groups and associated with social rewards that are particularly salient during this developmental stage” (Wang, 2006). “Adolescents who desire to achieve high levels of status among peers may be motivated to engage in behaviors that will help them achieve an “ideal” body shape. (Wang, 2006) Do adolescents have to be socially ostracized by peers to be motivated to look the same as others to be accepted? Are we accepting these behaviors from adolescents, that they should ostracized by anyone? With appropriate guidance and education, we can help adolescents with weight problems instead of adolescents wanting to lose weight to be accepted by peers.

The cultural idea for adolescents is to be slim and trim and when they are not slim and trim they react with different kinds of eating disorders. “Psychological consequences may be particularly severe during a time of life when body image is of special concern” (Feldman, 2011). Anorexia is a disorder when the person refuses to eat because they are afraid of getting fat. ( 2011) When our adolescents don’t get the proper diet it can cause health problems and psychological problems in our children. Feldman states obesity is the most common problem with our adolescents stating that, “One in 5 adolescents is overweight, and 1 in 20 can be formally classified as obese” (Feldman, 2011)

Our text states why our children are becoming overweight and not getting the exercise they need to burn the calories they are eating.(2011) It is a challenge to go past a fast food place because of the affordable prices and availability. It is a challenge for family’s to eat at home. The text also states a disorder called bulimia which adolescents eat large amounts of food and then they vomit it out of their system.(2011) These disorders are very serious and can lead to many health problems. The challenge for adolescents to have the perceived body weight is hurtful to those who are considered overweight or obese. This idea of perceived body weight is causing depression which causes risky behaviors for adolescents.

Another example that shows guidance is vital is in this article about peer pressure and friend influences. The article states how our adolescents are being influenced by peer pressure. Do our adolescents have to join the group norms to be accepted or are they strong enough to say no and still be liked by the group? In this research there are two categories of friends called stable friends and unstable friends. Who influence who? According to research “the more accepted friend had greater influence than the less accepted friend after the friendship was established” ( Laursen, 2012). When the stable friends were paired up with the unstable friends, the stable friends were influencing the unstable friends. (2012 ) “The stable friends being the popular group and the unstable friend being the less popular group the unstable group was being pressured by the stable groups” (Laursen, B., Hafen, C. A., Kerr, M., & Stattin, H” (2012). Research stated that the unstable friends did not influence the stable friends. (2012)

The stable friends were influencing to the unstable friends because of their status in who they were and the unstable friends were being accepted. The research shows how “adolescents alter behaviors so that they will fit in even when it comes to alcohol consumption and other deviant behaviors” (Laursen, 2012). This is a challenge even for the stable friends to be able to say no to the alcohol and other deviant behaviors. If parents would teach their children about peer pressure, use the word as something happens, the children would know when an issue comes up and they said they did it because everyone else did, let them know they allowed themselves to do the wrong thing because of peer pressure. How something as simple as parental work schedules cause risky behaviors in adolescents. Why are parental work schedules vital when it comes to adolescent risky behaviors? What are adolescents doing while parents are at work?

The article provides “new evidence on the pathways linking parental work schedules with adolescent risky behaviors”( Han, W.-J., Miller, D. P., & Waldfogel, J. (2010). The research states that years of night shift work for mothers indicate that the relationship between their children are not developed as to mothers who work day time jobs.(2010) Parents working to make a living are having to sacrifice having a relationship with their children. As these parents work it allows more freedom for risky behaviors. Also, while parents are working different shifts research indicates that parents don’t know what their children are doing or where their children are.(2010) “Effects were particularly evident when parents work such schedules during children’s middle childhood years but were also evident during preschool years and early adolescence”(Han, 2010).

Our analyses by children’s developmental stage suggest that the number of year’s parents worked nonstandard hours at various stages of childhood influence adolescent outcomes, but in different ways depending on the stage when nonstandard shift work occurred. These results make sense given that children face very different developmental tasks during these different stages. In the middle childhood years mark a time of important changes related to school transitions, developmental advances that establish children’s sense of identity, and developing relationships with parents and peers. These years serve as a foundation for later development, and experiences during these periods can have lasting effects. (Han, 2010)

The risky behaviors focused on in this article while parents are working was, “cigarette smoking, alcohol use, drug use, delinquency, and sexual behavior. With evidence of all these behaviors in adolescents because of parents work schedule, parental guidance is vital in our society today so that these behaviors will be recognized by parents so they will know that their adolescent needs some attention. This article provides facts about how much parent stress is apparent toward parenting behavior and how it reflects adolescent’s self-concept?

According to the findings in this article, parent behavior reflected on their stress that they deal with daily? How does the parent behavior affect the adolescent’s self-concept? The article debates how the lax parents and stern parent’s reactions are toward adolescent’s self-concept. The parent’s relationship to the child contributes to the child’s “self-concept and well-being.” Without self-worth how can adolescents achieve what they need to accomplish in their life as they grow into adulthood. Putnick, D.L., Bornstein, M. H., Hendricks, C., Painter, K.M., Suwalsky, J.T. D.&Collins, W.A. (2008)”

Why is society having so many problems with adolescents? Appropriate parental guidance is vital so that adolescents can grow into healthy men and woman. However, we have adolescents growing up and being exposed to many different challenges. Being raised by a mother who has dealt with depression, the article states that the children are the caretakers of the siblings and the house. (2009) The authors stated that they observed “a 13-year old boy talked about regularly preparing dinner for his mother and younger sibling (instrumental caretaking) and a 9-year old girl offered suggestions to her mother for ways to feel better and reduce her stress at work, including setting up and appointment to talk with her boss. (Emotiona l caretaking)” (Champion,Jaser, Reeslund, Simmons, Potts, Shears,Ccompas, (2009).

“Emotional and instrumental caretaking were significantly correlated with greater self-reported anxiety-depression symptoms only among adolescents whose mothers had a history of depression” (Champion, 2009).The research states that “mothers think there children are more capable if they are preforming emotional caretaking however the children feel more anxiety and depression when they are preforming those task” (Champion, 2009). How do these children stand a chance to grow and develop their needs if they are caring for depressed mother? The challenges these children face are tremendous as they grow into adult hood. They totally missed childhood and all their lives saw their mother cry, take overdose and the many other behaviors that depressed people do. These children grow cold of emotions. They don’t know how to express except the way their mother expressed. How do we expect them to grow up as good citizens?

The United States having the highest teen pregnancy rate of all other countries is not making a good statement of how adolescents are seeking to get the attention they need. The authors in this article state that a “disturbing discovery that the percentage of apparently involuntary sex among female teens is a significant social problem, around 13% for ages 15-19 by one estimation” (Thomas and Dimitrox, 2007). Also another alarming fact discovered is that “over half of teens ages 15-19 have had oral sex, including roughly 25% who have not engaged in vaginal sex (2007). Seeing it as a strategy to avoid

pregnancies, many teens believe that oral sex avoids the prospect of STD’s including HIV/AIDS. (Thomas, and Dimitrox (2007).” Research detects that direct effects of teen pregnancy are coming from background variables such as family poverty, early school failure, and dysfunctional family systems. “Some research suggests that most of the economic consequences of early childbearing can be explained by family background variables.”(Thomas and Dimitrox, 2007) However, research is not saying that all teen pregnancies are coming from these variables. “Recent data suggest that the number of children living in poverty in the United States would have risen by 8.3% if the teen birth rates had not declined as they did for the years 1991-2003” (Thomas , 2007). Education to adolescents and parents is vital. There are so many grandparents raising the adolescents’ babies. The adolescents never have to take responsibility for their action because they have someone to raise their child.

What do they do but go have another child for their parents. Even more hurtful than teen pregnancy, would be facing a knock on the door telling you you’re adolescent tried to commit suicide or even worse committed suicide. “The institute of Medicine defines a suicide attempt as a nonfatal, self-inflicted destructive act with the explicit or implied intent to die.” (Hausmann, C., Kuhlberg, J., A., Zayas, L.H., Nolle, A., P., & Cintron, S., L. 2012) We often think that these things can’t happen to us until we are faced with the issue at hand. Research says that “depression is the number one disorder diagnosed among adolescents”( Hausmann, 2012).

Research also states that depression is associated with the greatest risk of suicide attempts.(2012) “Adolescents are using objects in their homes to commit suicide such as, drug overdose, knives, pieces of glass, nail files, and guns” (Hausmann, 2012). Less common attempting methods were “jumping off buildings, suffocating by placing plastic bags over their heads, and trying to hang themselves” (Hausmann, 2012). The majority of adolescents in this study had a lifetime history of two to more than six previous suicide attempts” (Hausmann, 2012). The authors state that the “Latino population adolescents are at high risk for

attempted suicide” (Hausmann, 2012).” Latino population for the youth is up to 41% in the US”(Hausmann,2012). The 76 adolescents in this study have already tried suicide 2 or 3 times. The article states that adolescents will try suicide in the next 3 or 4 months and may continue trying suicide up to the next 12 years. (Hausmann, 2012) `Talk about a heartbreaking behavior for parent, siblings, whom ever involved. If parents could get some education on some of these behaviors, to reinforce that there is a problem with Adolescents growing up in society today. “The structure of the family for the last couple decades has changed in many ways.

With an increase in the number of parents who both work outside of the home, soaring divorce rate, and a rise in single-parent families, the environment faced by children passing through middle childhood in the 21st century is very different from that faced by prior generation” (Feldman, 2011 pg.332). Conclusion is that a family needs to raise their children in a Christian setting so they will have a solid foundation when they grow into adolescents because, they need to be strong enough to face the challenges, peer pressures, and behaviors of adolescents today. Adolescents who go to church are not free from this kind of behaviors but have a solid rock to stand on if they know the Lord. Is society proof that there is lack of guidance for adolescents in the world today?

Reference
Champion, J. E., Jaser, S. S., Reeslund, K. L., Simmons, L., Potts, J. E., Shears, A. R., & Compas, B. E. (2009). Caretaking behaviors by adolescent children of mothers with and without a history of depression. Journal of Family Psychology 23(2), 156-166 . Feldman S.R., (2011). Food, and Eating Disorders: Fueling the Growth of Adolescence, Development across the Life Span, Pg.365. Grella, C. E., Stein, J. A., & Greenwell, L. (2005). Associations among Childhood Trauma, Adolescent Problem Behaviors, and Adverse Adult Outcomes in Substance-Abusing Women Offenders. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19(1), 43-53. Han, W.-J., Miller, D. P., & Waldfogel, J. (2010). Parental work schedules and adolescent risky
behaviors. Developmental Psychology, 46(5), 1245-1267. Hausmann-Stabile, C., Kuhlberg, J. A., Zayas, L. H., Nolle, A. P., & Cintron, S. L. (2012). Means, intent, lethality, behaviors, and psychiatric diagnosis in Latina adolescent suicide attempters. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43(3), 241-248. Laursen, B., Hafen, C. A., Kerr, M., & Stattin, H. (2012). Friend influence over adolescent problem behaviors as a function of relative peer acceptance: To be liked is to be emulated. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121(1), 88-94. Nock, M. K., Holmberg, E. B., Photos, V. I., & Michel, B. D. (2007). Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview: Development, reliability, and validity in an adolescent sample. Psychological Assessment, 19(3), 309-317.

Putnick, D. L., Bornstein, M. H., Hendricks, C., Painter, K. M., Suwalsky, J. T. D., & Collins, W. A. (2008). Parenting stress, perceived parenting behaviors, and adolescent self-concept in European American families. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(5), 752-762. Thomas, C.L., & Dimitrov, D. M. (2007). Effects of a teen pregnancy prevention program on teen’s attitudes toward sexuality: A latent trait modeling approach. Developmental Psychology, 43(1), 173-185.


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