Teen Behavior Hints

Teens & Trouble: When “Normal” Behavior Hints at Something More

The pressures faced by teenage girls differ noticeably from those experienced by teenage boys, although there are some apparent similarities. While boys may feel pressure to excel, girls often grapple with the expectation of perfection.

For instance, boys can embrace a laid-back attitude towards appearances, while girls often feel compelled to maintain flawless presentation, right down to every hair in place. This contrast is underscored by a surprising statistic: males across age groups tend to abuse prescription medicine at higher rates than females, except for the youngest category (ages 12 through 17), as noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Moreover, suicide rates, closely linked to depression rates, reveal that females contemplate suicide more frequently than males, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. This fact is sometimes overshadowed because males tend to be more successful in suicide attempts.

Recognizing signs that your teenage daughters may be at risk of engaging in risky behaviors such as drug use or self-harm is crucial. Here’s a quick checklist of behaviors to be vigilant about:

  1. Depression: Look beyond long-term sadness; be aware of the absence of joy. Depressed individuals often tightly control their moods, suppressing both extreme sadness and moments of joy.
  2. Pressure to be perfect: Some teenagers who seem perfect might be imposing excessive pressure on themselves. Watch for constant self-comparisons and an inability to enjoy personal success.
  3. Bullying: Both boys and girls feel the need to be accepted and popular. Bullying can contribute to a teenager’s sense of having a miserable adolescence, compounded by comparisons to more popular peers.
  4. Sexuality: Teenagers, pressured to be sexually active, may view virginity as a failure. Negative societal perceptions are often assigned to sexually active females.

What to look for: Watch for abrupt changes in behavior, unstable moods, and disruptions in eating and sleeping patterns. Significant weight fluctuations may indicate pressure regarding body image. Isolation from social activities and sudden bursts of sadness may signal an increased vulnerability to drugs or alcohol.

A Final Note: Substance abuse is a treatable disease, with continually improving options for rehab in young adults. Early intervention offers a promising prognosis. Developments in depression treatments can reduce the risk of relapse.

Remember, teenagers are navigating the challenging path of adolescence. It’s normal for them to distance themselves from parents at times. Despite their signals of independence, your role as a parent is crucial. Stay supportive and attentive, as your presence remains vital even during moments when they seem to suggest otherwise.

 

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