While you may be focused on grades and whether your teen needs ATAR tutoring online, they’re bound to be going through a host of social issues that feel overwhelmingly important. As an adult, you know many of these dramas will soon fade into insignificance. However, if you minimise them, you risk alienating your child.
To be a truly supportive parent, it’s worth taking the time to understand the social issues teens are currently facing. Below, you will find five of the most common:
1. Gender expression and sexuality
We now acknowledge and accept more gender expressions, sexual preferences, and levels of sexual desire than ever before. And this is a good thing. Today’s teens have a greater chance of finding where they sit in the various spectrums. However, this doesn’t necessarily translate to acceptance from their peers, relatives, or the wider community.
As a parent, it’s crucial to create a home base where your kids know they’ll be loved and accepted for who they are. When they have this safe foundation to work from, they’ll be better equipped to take on the challenges presented by the rest of the world.
Whether it’s from the endless proliferation of mediocre online entertainment or the fact that they’re inheriting a polluted and overpopulated world, many of today’s teens are feeling overwhelmed before they’ve even landed their first jobs. It’s easy to write these feelings off when you’ve been the one catering to all their needs. However, you’ll do more harm than good if you hit them with “back in my day” or “you’ve got it easy” comments. Instead, listen to their concerns and help them devise a plan for overcoming their sense of overwhelm.
3. Social media and self-esteem issues
We live in the age of Photoshop and Facetune, meaning we are all exposed to images of people who look real but impossibly perfect. Many adults are struggling with self-esteem and body image issues as a result, and for teens, the problems are amplified.
Teenagers in 2023 have never known a time without the internet. Though reports vary, studies indicate that they spend at least three hours a day on social media, putting them at risk of developing self-esteem issues correlated with excessive use of these platforms.
Parents can help their kids by setting limits on social media use and facilitating healthier activities (like sleepovers, beach trips, and other forms of connection with family, friends, and the physical world). It may also help to explore Instagram vs. reality content with your kids to show them how sneaky the filters and edits can be.
Though the internet offers many marvellous opportunities, it has also had some insidious effects. For today’s kids, it has taken bullying out of the schoolyard, allowing bullies to reach right into the sanctuary of your home.
Online bullying isn’t restricted to other kids your teen knows. From Reddit to YouTube, any site that allows people to interact with each other can be a hub for bullying. Of course, you can’t put blanket bans on certain sites. Instead, it’s important to talk to your kids about bullying and let them know they can come to you no matter what. Look out for signs that your child is bullying or being bullied. And above all else, ensure your household is one where open, honest dialogue is valued.
By understanding these and other common social dilemmas facing modern teens, you can work from an informed place and offer them the support they need.