Difficulties of adolescents

on 24 February 2020, 09:00 AM
Written by Dr.Nasser AL-Fadhli
The experience of adolescents varies depending on the individual, it is influenced by many factors including the environment and ancestry, and it also varies depending on the cultural patterns in which the individual is raised in. Therefore adolescence in pre-industrial societies differs from adolescence in industrial societies; in addition it differs in the city as opposed to living in the rural.

It furthermore the experience of adolescence in conservative societies that impose restrictions on teenager’s activities is unlike the experience of adolescence in open-minded societies that provide young people with work opportunities and activities, by giving them the chance to fulfil their desires and goals. Furthermore adolescence is not an autonomic stage in itself; instead it’s influenced by experiences that occur in childhood as development is a continuous linear process. 

Puberty doesn’t necessarily lead to struggles in adolescents, but instead research suggests that the new social systems that teenagers live in are responsible for the occurrence of struggles during adolescents.  

There are various forms of Adolescence, including:

1.A stable adolescence free of troubles and challenges

  1. Introverted adolescence, which is characterised with the individual’s withdrawal from society and family, preference of distancing oneself and solitude, as well as constant reflection of oneself and problems. 
  2. Antisocial adolescence, the individual behavior is marked with violence being inflicted on oneself as well as other people or things. 

This conflict within the teenager arises due to biological, physical, and emotional changes that occur during this specific developmental stage. Physically they experience rapid growth in parts of their body which could lead to stress and confusion, resulting in idleness, laziness and relaxation. In addition the rapid growth leads to inaccuracy in teenagers motor skills. Teenagers could also fall into feelings of despair, sadness, and explainable pain, and emotionally teenagers begin to free themselves from their parent’s authority in able to feel a sense of independence and self reliance whilst building social responsibility. 

Meanwhile they are unable to distance themselves from their parents, because they are a sense of safety and reassurance, as well as their source of income. This is known as the clash between the need for independence and autonomy and the reliance on parents, and the inability of parents to understand neither the particular stage nor the ability to deal with the behavior of the teenager. These changes make it difficult for the teenager to fit in with adults or children, if they behave like children they are ridiculed by elders and if they act like men they are ridiculed by them. This leads to an unbalanced emotional state in teenage hood, and makes the process more complex. 

The intense fear of children being influenced by inadequate friends. 

  • The inability to distinguish right from wrong, as they have little experience in life and are reckless.
  • They are rebellious and refuse any kind of advice and direction.
  • They demand more freedom and independence.
  • They live a private life, and try to separate themselves from their parents in various ways. 

The most significant behavioural problems and challenges in a teen’s life: 

  1. Conflict within:

In which a teenager suffers from many conflicts within, including:  the conflict between the independence from and dependence on the family, a conflict between the remnants of childhood and the requirements of manhood and femininity, a conflict between the adolescent’s excess ambitions and their apparent lack of commitment, a conflict between their inner instincts and social traditions, the religious conflict between what they’ve  learnt from the rites and the principles during childhood and between their new critical thinking and his philosophy of life. And cultural conflict between the generation in which he lives with his views and ideas and the previous generation. 

  1. Alienation and rebellion:

A teenager complains from the lack of understanding from their parents therefore, they try to dissociate themselves from the situations, constants and desires of the parents as a means of confirming and proving their uniqueness and differentiation and this requires the opposition to parental authority; because it’s regarded as hierarchical and guided. 

 And is regarded as intolerable disregard for their mental abilities, which become essentially parallel to the abilities of adults, who underestimate the teenager’s critical thinking which drives them to scrutinise everything according to the standards of logic, and thus appear to have the behaviors of rebellion, perseverance, stubbornness, intolerance and aggression. 

  1. Shyness and introversion:

Excessive favoritism and excessive cruelty make the adolescent feel dependent on others in solving their problems, but the nature of the stage requires the adolescent to leave the family and depend on themselves, the conflict intensifies and they resorts to withdrawal from the social world and introversion. 

  1. Disturbing behavior:

This is caused by the adolescent’s desire to achieve their own purposes without regard to public interest. The adolescent may shout, curse, steal, kick youngsters, wrestle with adults, damage property, argue trivial matters, get involved in problems, and violate the right of authorization, whilst not caring about the feelings of others. 

  1. Anger and antisocial behavior:

The adolescent acts through anger and stubbornness, wanting to achieve their demands by force and excessive violence, they become tense and anxious in a way that annoys people around them. It should be noted that many scientific research suggest that there’s strong correlation between the function of sex hormones and the emotional interaction in adolescents, which means that high hormonal levels in adolescence leads to mood swings in the form of anger and arousal in males, and anger and depression in females. 

Ways to treat the problems experienced by adolescents: 

Sociologists, psychologists and educators have all agreed on the importance of involving adolescents in organized scientific discussions that address the treatment of their problems, and accustom them to address their problems and discussing them with adults in all confidence and honesty. As well as to educate them on sexual matters, through scientific teaching objectives, so they don’t fall as prey to ignorance and loss or temptation.

They also recommended the importance of promoting targeted recreational activities, making trips and engaging in activities in public squares and clubs. They should also be directed to work in scout camps and participate in public service projects. 

Scientific studies have also confirmed that more than 60% of adolescent problems are a direct result of an parents attempting to control their children according to their opinions, customs and traditions, and thus adolescents refrain because they believe that parents either do not care to know their problems, Or they cannot understand or solve them.

Recent interventions in psychiatry studies suggest that, a listening adult is the solution to conflicts that arise between parents and young people during adolescents, as well as finding a balance between self-reliance and the detour from usual ordering and direction, to creating a strong bridge of friendship and the ability of the parent to act as a friend or the parent and guardian depending on the situation. This is the right way to create an intimate relationship between the parents and young people during adolescence.

A study conducted in the London Center for Research and social consultancy with experts in sociological studies shows that adolescents in a cohesive family with strong ties, in which their members are connected and make crucial decisions in family-friendly, participatory councils are less stressful and more positive in their outlook for life, affairs and problems, while others are more likely to suffer from depression and stress. The findings were based on interviews conducted on a cohort of participants from pre-school to 22 years old. 

Practical solutions: 

To help parents deal with adolescents and their problems, the following are examples of problems that can occur with practical, easy-to-implement solutions. 

The first problem: 

  • The conflict between parents and adolescents; where they both feel like they cannot relate or understand one another. 

The reason for this problem lies in the difference in perception of parents as opposed to the perceptions of their children, the different environment in which parents were born, their personality and the environment of their children. This is a natural difference of generations and time gap. Parents try to manage their children according to their opinions, customs and traditions, and therefore 

children are reluctant to talk to their parents because they believe that parents either do not care to know their problems, they don’t understand them, or even if they understand them are not willing to adjust their attitudes. 

And the solution to this problem can only be achieved through a genuine dialogue instead of discord, conflict and mutual alienation. Adolescent’s viewpoint on things should be literally understood and not dismissed in order for the adolescent to feel like they are being taken seriously and acknowledged and prove their singularity. Even if parents do not agree with all their opinions and attitudes and that they have a legitimate right to express such views. What is more important is that the teenager has a listening ear and an open heart

From the depths, not just a courtesy by parents, and we should allow them to make their own way, even if it means making mistakes, mistakes are a way to learn. 

Parents should choose the right time to start a dialogue with the teenager, so they are not busy, and need to insure that they are sitting; the meeting should be friendly where they avoid 

 formality and avoid a high pitched tone of reprimand and lecturing. They should also try and stay away from closed questions with “Yes” or “No” answers, unclear or indirect questions. The adolescent should be given the space to express themselves, parents should not use offensive or mean terms, such as “That was wrong” or “Haven’t I warned you about this before?” 

The second problem: 

The adolescent’s sense of shyness and awkwardness, which hinders them from achieving social interaction, these two qualities become apparent through the redness of the face when talking, stuttering in speech, not glaring when speaking or being spoken to, and dry throat. 

The reasons for shyness and introvert behaviour in adolescents are multiple, the most important of which is their inability to cope with the problems of this developmental stage, and the method of social upbringing that arises on them. Excessive spoiling and excessive negligence leads them feeling the need to rely on others in order to solve their problems. 

However, the nature of the stage requires them to move away from family and depend on themselves. Therefore a conflict arises, which leads the adolescents to withdraw themselves from society, becoming anti-social and shy when talking with others. 

In order to overcome this stage it is advised to:

To direct the adolescent in a constant, indirect way, and giving them enough space to have discussions and converse with them. To tolerate them in some social situations, encouraging them to speak and engage in conversations and debates with others, as well as enhancing their self confidence. 

Third Problem: 

The anti-social behavior and impulse of adolescents, their stubbornness, and the need to achieve their demands through power and violence, as well as displaying constant tension which causes great inconvenience to those around him.   

Treatment: 

Anti-social behavior in adolescence has many underlying reasons including; reasons associated with the inherited personality traits, and in this case one of the parents is short tempered. Other reasons include environmental factors such as: the upbringing of an adolescent in a hostile environment, talking to teenagers with rudeness and aggression, and acting violently with them which results in others using the same tone and behavioral manner if not worse as a response. Adolescents learn anti-social behavior from parents and people surrounding them. In addition when parents are too strict with them, and demand too much of them beyond their ability in terms of behavior, it leaves them unable to respond to these demands, as a result adolescents feel that the aggression being inflicted on them leads to them becoming nervous and angry, as well as displaying anti-social  behavior which becomes first apparent through anger. Being excessively strict transforms them into rebels. 

There are other reasons for anger in adolescents, such as an overcrowded house, and the lack of entertainment avenues, and participation in physical and mental activities, neglecting their genuine need for comfort and relaxation for some time. 

 The way to treat the adolescent’s anti-social behavior is through love, fairness, independence, and 

firmness, therefore teenagers must feel safe at home, including safety from family disintegration fears and safety from failure in education. The other important factor is love, the more parents express love to their children the higher the chance of understanding them. In our conversation with them, we should not focus on threats, punishment, fairness in dealing with children is important, because behaving  arrogantly with towards them creates a fertile ground for anger to manifest. The adolescents independence is important, therefore parental authority should be more lenient with adolescents, they should be given greater self-confidence whilst being observed and followed up from a distant, as independence is a cherished feeling by teenagers especially in that age range. 

Adolescents should be monitored, parents should be firm and therefore adolescents should not be left to their own devices, to do what they want, in the way they want, in the time they want and with whomever they want. The adolescent should be aware that as well as having rights they also have responsibilities, and just as they have freedom others can express their freedom and that it should be respected. 

Fourth Problem: 

The adolescent’s practice of annoying and disturbing behavior, such as lack of respect for public morals, and assault on people, as well as destruction of property, environment and nature, the destruction could be physical or verbal. 

Treatment: 

The main factors underlying the disturbing behavior in adolescents include: the desire to fulfill their own interests, without consideration for public interest, the misconception held by the adolescent that they are strong and brave, and they’re the ones that can take their rights through their own means, frustration and deprivation that they experience whilst livening within the family , imitating others and following their chaotic behavior, struggling academically and accompanying bad peers.     

The manifestations of disturbing behavior are:

 hyperactivity dominated by tension and improvised behavior, increased tendency to independence and aspiration to leadership, and adolescent expression of themselves and their feelings and desires in inappropriate ways (screaming, swearing, theft, cruelty, sterile debate, problems, rapid boredom, disenfranchisement of the people, justification of the behavior for trivial reasons, disavowal of advice, and persistence in obstinacy). 

Intervention lies in educating the adolescent to understand the greatness of their responsibility and insuring they stay productive. In addition to correcting any misconceptions they may have, and denying the alleged relationship between independence and intruding on others, encouraging them to make friendships with good peers, directing them when solving difficulties, advising them be wise when facing aggression from others, and to promote their positive initiatives when they engage in positive and proactive behaviour which represents their respect to others through compliments, and to refrain from using offensive language or reprimanding the adolescent as much as possible. 

The fifth problem: 

The vulnerability of adolescents to a series of psychological and social conflicts related to the difficulty of identification and self-knowledge leads to negative insurgency on the family and the values of society, manifested in their sense of weak family affiliation, non-compliance with parental guidance, opposition, hardening of attitudes, arrogance, vanity, the love of apparition, blaming others, and using profane terms.

 Treatment:

 The absence of proper guidance, careful vigilance, and the right role models leads the adolescent to live in a conflict between nostalgia and also a cause of rebellion, towards the insurgency-filled childhood stage and the aspiration to a young, more responsible stage, and a multitude of social constraints that limit their movement and the lack of attention of the family with their talents and not directing them properly. In addition to parents reprimanding the adolescent in front of their siblings, relatives or friends, and the interest in films and programmes calling for rebellion against religious and social values and violence.

  The treatment of the adolescent rebellion is through the following means:

 To allow adolescents to express their personal ideas and to guide them towards effective programmes to enshrine and practice the concept of tolerance and coexistence in sports clubs and culture. The strengthening of religious commitment through the performance of religious duties, the obligation of good company and the building of bridges  of communication and cooperation with the people of experience And righteousness in the family environment and beyond. The doses of Islamic culture must be intensified, as the Islamic Sharia regulates the life of a teenager, not as the enemies of Islam claim to be dispassionate and deprive desires, and to engage with the teenager in the work of their preferred activities, this is to reduce the areas of disagreement, expand the fields of convergence, build bridges of understanding, promote common family objectives, make collective decisions in a convincing manner, and allow for the teenager to host their friends at home with eagerness to identify them and sit down with them for some time, beware of passive programming, and avoid phrases  such as : (You are a loser, stubborn, rebellious,… etc.), because these words and phrases provoke the teenager, (you argue and you never understand. You always bring more problems and trouble and do not achieve the goals of the treatment….)