The teenage years are the hardest part of childhood and yet we rarely tell our teenagers this – few willingly concede they would “love to go back to being a teenager”. Parents struggle with the transition as teenagers start to voice their opinions, assert their authority, and display challenging behaviour.
School and home life alongside the pressures of studying, learning new skills, and relationships involving sex, alcohol and drugs are often a lethal combination, leaving both parents and teenagers struggling, confused, and frustrated. Many young people struggle with friendships as they feel they are judged for who they engage with, their beliefs, what they wear, and how they look. Many young people strive to fit in with the popular kids, and many are stressed by keeping up the image of coping and doing well, when they feel they are failures.
Some teenagers feel quite unable to cope and lose their confidence and self-esteem rapidly, which impacts their mood, potentially deteriorating to frightening levels of self-harm and active suicidal thoughts. Self-harm can range from the use of sharp objects to cut their skin, taking drugs or alcohol, or restricting food.