The teen years can be tough on parents and teenagers. Adolescents are under huge amounts of stress to fit in and be liked by their peers while at the same time expected to maintain healthy relationships with family, not to mention their studies. And although most of these pressures have to be dealt with and cannot be avoided, they can lead to some serious teen health problems if neglected.
There are many physical and mental health problems that teens encounter during this critical time of their life and if parents can be aware and supportive to teens it can help get them through it in a positive way. This article will address the stereotypical body image that thousands of teens are faced with today and some signs to look for.
When most people hear the words “body image” they think of girls and women being concerned with their figure. However for teenagers, girls’ and boys’ body image can be much more than that. Body image can affect their self confidence which then in turn affects the way they see themselves and whether or not they are accepted among friends and peers. The problem is prevalent as much among boys as it is among girls.
The biggest healthy problem for girls today is wanting to fit the “perfect” body type, or as some of us refer to it, the “Barbie body.” Not only is this absurd because no one has a body type like that, but it is becoming dangerous. With constant bombardments in advertising girls are constantly trying to fit the “body type” that they believe Hollywood wants. What they don’t see in the advertising commercials and magazines is how much the body is altered to look a certain way. This idea of obtaining the perfect body then leads to much more dangerous health problems like eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Watch out for danger signs such as disproportionate anger.
The two most common eating disorders among girls today are anorexia and bulimia, both of which are ugly and can have devastating effects on not only the physical health, but also the mental health of a teen. The effects of anorexia can physically be seen because it is basically a form of starvation. When your body doesn’t get enough nutrients it will begin to show. However, the mental health issues that accompany it may not be so apparent on the outside. Low self esteem is probably the biggest mental health issue related to both disorders and needs to be given careful consideration for a healthy recovery.
For young teen boys the reasons for starving themselves may be slightly different than obtaining the “perfect” and “ideal” body figure but the results end the same; physical and mental devastation.
Signs of health problems in teens
- Anger is a big sign that something is wrong. Overreacting to things, feeling worthless, anxious, or crying over a lot of different issues.
- Obsessive behavior about their body image, appearance, and the feeling of losing control.
- Grades slipping may also be a sign that there is something going on with your teen, as well as loss of interest in commonly enjoyed activities, or avoidance of friends.
- Poor concentration, inability to focus
- Sudden alcohol or drug use, excessive eating or dieting, becomes physically aggressive towards others.
Let’s face it, when it comes to the teenage years there are several different health issues and problems they face. With the right communication, love, and parenting however, these issues can be addressed and solved.