Why teens go bad and how they can be helped

By Drum Digital
27 December 2014

Whether You’re famous or not, the choices you make during your teenage years can help you succeed or ruin your life.

Janine Shamos is a counsellor at Live Your Life, an ?organisation which helps individuals and families deal with social challenges.

She explains why teens go bad and how they can be helped:

Whether You’re famous or not, the choices you make during your teenage years can help you succeed or ruin your life.

PEOPLE always wonder why teens ?- especially those who seem to have it all like celebrities Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus - suddenly fall from grace.

The reality is that child and teen stars have to cope with sudden ?fame, money, the media, fans and hectic work schedules so it’s not ?totally surprising that the pressure becomes too much at some point.

A vital part of being a teenager ?is pushing the limits and discovering your own identity and independence. Unfortunately for many parents of teenagers, this process often comes with late nights, drinking, fashion disasters, grumpiness and endless arguments.

Most teenagers find their way through this difficult stage with lots ?of embarrassing or brazen stories ?to tell, but not too much damage ?to their lives.

But there are some teenagers who fall into the drugs-alcohol-teen pregnancy-gang trap.

In many cases, this type of ?destructive behaviour pattern can ?be identified and even prevented ?if we give children the right tools ?to cope with life from early on.

Janine Shamos’s FIVE tips on how to help teens;

1. Parents and teachers must remember that school can be a horrible place for kids who don’t fit in, belong to the right circles, or look the part. A teen who is being excluded or even bullied may resort to self-harm or to trying to change himself or herself to be more accepted - this could mean starting to hang out with the wrong groups, taking drugs, or drinking ?to fit in or numb the pain.

2. Teachers and parents need to keep an eye out for bullying and intervene if they see problems. All schools should have non-bullying policies and use resources like coaches, counsellors and NGOs like the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) to intervene, educate ?and help.

3. Teaching kids and teens healthy coping strategies, boosting and maintaining a healthy self-esteem and teaching them to be ?resilient can all help prevent the ?normal trip into identity, discovery and independence from going bad.

4. Communication is vitally important. Talk to your teens, let them know there is a safe place where they can express their feelings, fears and experiences. Keep in mind that it is important to establish communication patterns from the time your child is a baby.

5. Help teens develop into healthy, happy, well-adjusted adults by teaching them to deal with difficult issues in constructive ways.

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