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Parental Concerns about Teens

Adolescent suicide
Pregnancy, drug abuse, and suicide by teenagers have all increased at alarmingly high rates, which the late pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock attributed to a lack of spiritual beliefs to sustain adolescents, and parents who lacked beliefs to inspire them with.
Divorce
More than half of all marriages in the U-S end in divorce, which is the highest divorce rate in the industrialized world. Research shows that three out of four teen suicides are committed by adolescents from broken homes, that children of divorce are 70 percent more likely to be expelled from, or drop out of, school, and that seven out of ten teens in long-term correctional facilities are products of divorce.
Dropping out of school
Fifty years ago, a high school diploma served as an entry to a number of promising career paths. Today, technological advances in the workplace have increased the demand for skilled labor to the point that a high school education is just a minimum requirement for entry into the labor force.
Eating disorders
Eating disorders primarily affect young women between the ages of 12 and 25, mostly from middle- or upper-income families and rarely are found in developing countries.
Family conflict
Conflicts occur in all families, even the ones in which everyone normally gets along pretty well. The key to minimizing conflict between parents and teens is mutual respect, with the teen recognizing that the parents are the ones in charge.
Gangs
Gangs of one sort or another have been around for centuries. Ever read (red) Charles Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist, or see the musical, West Side Story? Today's gangs have gone way beyond zip-guns, trash can lids, and having a rumble in an alley.
Peer pressure
Who teens are 'hanging out' with, who their friends are, and the general attitudes of the communities in which they're is involved can have an enormous effect on the attitudes of young people, especially as they become adolescents.
Runaways
Every year in the U-S, a million minors run away from home. In most states, it's not illegal, but some runaways get involved in behaviors that are illegal, such as shoplifting, skipping school, loitering, violating curfew, vandalizing, or using or selling drugs.
School attendance and grades
Teenagers who aren't attending school regularly may be having difficulty with peer relationships, may be underachieving academically, or have a fear of social situations.
Self-esteem
Adolescence can be a difficult time, both for teens and for parents. Marital separation, divorce, remarriage, or other sort of emotional upheaval can contribute enormously to a teen's emotional insecurity.
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse against a minor has been defined as 'any sexual contact between a child and an adult or older child perpetrated for the sexual gratification of the older person.
Signs of substance abuse
A sad fact of life today is that more and more teens are choosing to use drugs, both legal and illegal. They may start out using tobacco or alcohol, or inhaling household products, and move on to even more powerful substances.
Stepfamily problems
New studies have shown that it actually may be better for children if a divorced parent doesn't remarry until the children are grown. However, today in the U-S, one in three Americans is a stepparent, stepchild, or in some way a member of a stepfamily.
Suicide warnings
The teenage years are times of intense emotions and pressures. Teens can be impulsive and are prone not to see beyond an imminent crisis. Teenage suicides are on the rise in the U-S, occurring even in our most affluent communities.
Teen depression
Recognizing that a teenager is depressed is just as important as knowing the child has a physical illness. Teenagers can become depressed for various reasons, and symptoms can range from feeling mildly 'blue' to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
Teen drug abuse
There have been many different books and programs about substance abuse and teens, but they all agree on one thing: prevention is far more valuable than treatment.
Teen involvement in cults
Teenagers often become involved in cults for one of the same reasons they may get involved with gangs: they're seeking a place to fit in. Also, groups that promise some sort of idealistic impact on the world have a big appeal to young people.
Teenage pregnancy
The U-S Department of Health estimates that every 26 seconds, a teenager becomes pregnant, and that every 56 seconds, one gives birth. So-called 'safe sex' programs taught in schools have proven to be ineffective, while educational campaigns that stress abstinence, especially to kids who aren't yet sexually active, are shown to have better results.
Teenage sexuality
The time for kids to learn about sexuality is before they become teens. Since the late 1960's, traditional sexual ground rules have changed, and popular culture's emphasis on using sex to sell has led to an increasing amount of sexual pressure for young people.

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