Teenagers today face a great deal of pressure. Adolescence in and of itself can be a difficult time, but today’s teens face unique challenges that older generations have not had to experience. Teens are facing incredible pressure about school, their future, and especially where they fit in socially.
Clinicians are seeing a significant rise in depression and anxiety in teenagers.
Teens are being told that they are weak or immature because of their depression and anxiety, and this just increases the shame they experience.
Academic stress is a natural part of adolescence. Teenagers are concerned about what they will do when they graduate. For those who are college bound, the pressure to get accepted grows every year. With each new graduating class, the bar is raised. Teens are competing in terms of academic achievement, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities. Academic pressure alone is a huge source of stress for teens.
Teens are concerned about where they fit in socially. They are learning to socialize in an era of technology and social media. Teens struggle to maintain an identity through social media and because teens have access to social media at all times, they cannot escape the pressure. They walk around with devices that constantly notify them when someone is interacting with them through any one of many social media apps.
Because of how much teens are socializing online, it is possible that social media is negatively affecting their ability to interact face to face.
While these pressures can feel overwhelming, there is still hope. By utilizing healthy coping skills and leaning on people they trust, teens can still thrive during adolescence. It is important to encourage teens to find healthy ways to cope with their feelings.
This is an important time in their lives in terms of learning to establish healthy habits. And while many teens would rather not open up to their parents about their feelings, it is important that they have a support system of people they can consistently rely on.
Written By: Elizabeth Kraich, LAPC