Mental wellness in adolescents

During the adolescent years it is a time of growing in self-image, self-esteem, and risk taking. Development of self-awareness is important during the adolescent years this is when friendships develop, peer socialization occurs, and shaping of character and personalities take place (Burns, Dunn, Brady, Starr & Blosser, 2013).

Self-perception is important during the early and late stages of adolescents this is when body-image, peer acceptance, self-esteem and self-concept play a big role in emotional and mental behavior. Body-image along with self-esteem is how the child see’s self and fit in with their peers, it is self evaluation and the feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Females go through many emotional changes as well as physical changes, the start of Menes, breast development, and hair in axillaries and pubic areas (Burns et al., 2013). Males go through similar changes with hair growth to axillaries, pubic and facial; they also experience testicle and penis enlargement and voice changes (Burns et al., 2013). These body changes can cause low self-esteem if negative changes occur such as acne, overweight, small body parts (breast/penis) when compared to fellow peers. Self-concept is the part as it relates to academic and life successes, the increased independence gives more opportunities in participation in activities that are socially acceptable (ex. going to mall, movies, dating, out with friends).

Positive behavior is important to maintain, now with the increased freedom in the adolescent years comes the risky behavior issues. Peer pressure involves the exploration with drinking, smoking and drugs, and sex, also in testing personal boundaries (Burns et al., 2013). Reinforcing good behaviors and punishing bad behaviors is important. Some strategies in positive parenting include talking with the child about right and wrong behaviors and the consequences of negative behaviors. Providing good role models, teach good values and beliefs, and moral judgment. Parents need to listen in a non-judgmental way and provide positive feedback and support.

Mental wellness in adolescents involves coping with stress and psychological issues such as depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts (Burns et al., 2013). Some other forms of stress are traumatic events such as death in the family, violence in the family (abuse, neglect, or homelessness), school violence (bulling or shooting and suicide), or natural loss of home due to fire. Providers play a role in educating the parents on how to pick up on key signs when talking to child or non-verbal clues is an important part of mental wellness. A key strategy for parents and providers is open communication, it is crucial that know they can come to you and you will not be judgmental. Mental wellness can also be influenced by genetic factor such as in anxiety or depression disorders. Emotional wellness comes from feeling loved and worthy of love; also a good strong parent-child relationship attachment (Prilleltensky, Nelson & Peirson, 2001).

Resources for Child and Parents of Adolescent

Providers are great a resource for parents during the adolescent years. We can provide assistance in school, psychologists, neurologists, and other institutes for mental wellness. We as providers can guide parents to books and pamphlets to read about teaching adolescents on drugs, alcohol prevention, and sexual abstinence. As providers we teach the child of the risk factors of drugs, alcohol, and STD’s.

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