Adolescence: Contemporary Issues and Resources
The number of challenges faced by adolescents today is quite many. They include physical, spiritual, social, cultural and even mental issues. These issues have gone a long way to impact the lives of such adolescents in both positive and negative ways. Divorce, financial constrains, pregnancy, society expectations, racial discrimination, physical appearance are among the few things that many teenagers face (Best, 2015). These things have increasingly led to the many negative effects observed in young people, including suicide, drug abuse and a rise in mental disorders among teenagers.
One major issue that is currently on the rise is neglect (Hicks & Stein, 2015). It has been on the rise due to many factors. The number of divorce rates has been increasing. Marriage is no longer interesting and many spouses opt to leave and stay single. This is an issue because the children are the ones who are affected, despite the relief that their parents may seem to be getting. Teenagers whose parents are divorced tend to be ignored or neglected by their parents as they concentrate on their marital issues. Another source of neglect is work. Parents tend to pay more attention to their work than they do to their families. This begins very early in the lives of their children. They grow up in daycares, being taken care of by nannies. As they get into school-going age, they know have bonded very little with their parents, and more with their caregivers. As they grow into teenage hood, they begin feeling the neglect from their parents and this affects them. Neglect is also observed where parents do not show any concern for their children. They do not appreciate their efforts, they do not provide for them, they ignore what they say, and it does not matter to them that they have a child at all. Neglect is also observed when in school, due to a certain personality trait, a teenager feels left out. It could be the race, social background, physical appearance, intellectual capacity among other things. Due to such unique things, an adolescent may feel like they do not belong, or others may arouse these feelings in them (Hicks & Stein, 2015). They end up being all alone in school, associating with almost nobody, being intimidated by others, which should not be the case.
Feelings of neglect and abandonment manifest themselves in several ways. When assessing a teenager, cues such as the tone of the voice, the choice of words, length of sentences, dress code, mood, and affect can illustrate such feelings. Most neglected teenagers have a ‘don’t care’ type of attitude such that whatever they do does not matter. An assessor would easily recognize such cues and link them to the emotional feeling of neglect or abandonment. The assessor would need to employ good communication skills and choice of words if at all they are to gain anything from the conversation. Additional assessment questions include hobbies of the client, relationships with other significant people, and perception of others towards them (Best, 2015). This would enable the assessor to reconstruct the feelings based on the answers they get.
Ethics is important in any given scenario. An assessor should apply the principles of ethics in their practice to ensure the information acquired is not misused or mishandled. Sharing information with a parent or guardian requires proper ethical judgment (Pozgar, 2019). The teenager may not approve of sharing some information with the parents, especially where trust between the assessor and the teenager is established. However, the assessor should let the parents know that their child feels neglected and that they need to be more concerned about how they treat that child. It is not necessary to betray patient confidentiality to pass on the message to the parents for appropriate action to be taken.
Support options for adolescents facing external stressors are quite many. The family is the first support system. According to Noller & Callan, (2015), showing love and appreciation to the adolescent child despite what external stressor they are going through really helps. It shows a strong family system that is there for one another, hence a place where the adolescent feels accepted and appreciated (Noller & Callan, 2015). The community is also another support system for distresses adolescents. It should be supportive and non-judgmental to them to allow them to cope positively with their situations. Health workers should also be supportive of adolescents who choose to seek medical advice or care from them despite whatever external stressor is affecting them. They should offer non-judgmental holistic care to them for positive health outcomes.
In cases where neglect or abandonment is suspected, there are reporting systems that exist. Family Support Services is one of the resources. This helps parents to be better in their care giving roles to avoid neglecting their children, and hence help the adolescent child to feel appreciated and wanted, despite who they are (Child Welfare, 2019). It helps the adolescent to live well in the family.
Best, R. (2015). Therapeutic practice in schools (vol. 2). The contemporary adolescent: a clinical workbook for counsellors, psychotherapists and arts therapists.
Child Welfare. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov
Hicks, L., & Stein, M. (2015). Understanding and working with adolescent neglect: perspectives from research, young people and professionals. Child & Family Social Work, 20(2), 223-233.
Noller, P., & Callan, V. (2015). The adolescent in the family. Routledge.
Pozgar, G. D. (2019). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals. Jones & Bartlett Learning.