Adolescent years are always challenging for teens and their parents; and as time passes by, the traits of the youth’s generation change. The youth of today belongs to what is called Generation Z. A website called generation.com.au describes the youth of today as a generation that is social and global, visual and technological. They are connected to the virtual world, the most educated and sophisticated generation ever.
With technological advances in the new generation, the influence this brings about can be positive or negative. Adolescent years are the years of uncertainty and experimenting, sometimes as a result of peer pressure, and when negative peer pressure kicks in, it subjects the adolescent to venturing into such negative habits as alcoholism, drug abuse, and the adolescent will find himself needing help with addiction. However, “The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating.” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. says.
Another site, growingleaders.com, described the Gen Z as:
- Cynical – they are realists and not idealists, but they shy away from life’s complexities
- Private – they do not want to be followed
- Entrepreneurial – wants to become pioneers; they want to earn early and more since they were born during difficult times, they know they need to be working
- Technology-reliant – they cannot imagine living without being connected
- Hyper-aware – they are not just thinking in the 3D mode. They imagine things and scenarios in 4D, in all four side and in all directions which make them super aware of their environment.
- Multitasking – Gen Z kids are used to doing different things all at the same time. They don’t perform tasks one at a time; they’re the type who prefers to “hit two birds with one stone”, as they say.
With these superior traits of today’s youth, imagine what they can do if they go astray…
Parents must know that the degree of struggles of their teens has dramatically stepped into a new level. With the emergence of technology, what used to be face-to-face bullying has now transformed into cyber-bullying. “Cyberbullying causes physical and behavioral health issues, such as depression, thoughts of suicide, and substance abuse. It even causes somatic symptoms, which are physical feelings of pain or fatigue without a physical cause.” Hollie Gonzalez, LMHC, NCC, CCM said. Peer pressure may now come from other sources apart from school as they have also garnered friends from various parts of the globe by being online. These days, it is not enough to be just talking to them or to be patient with them. Youth nowadays need a support system that fits their characteristics. Parents may need reinforcement through counselors who know how to engage the current generation.
As teens these days are very private, it’s hard to tell whether they are having trouble coping with their challenges. But with mindful parents who know how to detect their children’s problems through their behavior, and a counselor who knows how to connect with these kids, these teens will surely benefit from the regular talk sessions.
“Child counseling is a type of therapy that focuses on young children, teens, and adolescents with one or more mental illnesses. It also provides aid to youths, who have experienced trauma, and/or who are experiencing a dysfunctional or stressful home environment.” explains Dr. R. Y. Langham, Ph.D. Counseling should show them that real-life conversation is still very important. It is vital for these young adults to know that counseling can be their refuge from the challenges they face every day; they must see it as a lifeline especially for troubled teens.
There are several types of adolescent counseling, each having an important benefit for troubled teens:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps reduce negative thought patterns and increase positive behaviors.
- Interpersonal therapy helps teens to relate to other people
- Problem-solving therapy teaches positive ways to cope with their problems
- Group therapy allows teenagers to meet with other kids their age who have similar issues and talk about their problems under the supervision of a counselor. Online therapy groups are discouraged for adolescents as they are often not monitored by qualified facilitators and can have negative results.
- Family therapy is also beneficial in understanding the teen regarding their problems
It is important to make sure that the counselor your child sees is well-qualified and can build a rapport with their subjects. Adolescents with negative behaviors respond positively if they feel respected and cared for.