Best Way to Deal with Teenage Angst

Periods, spots, hormones and puberty – no wonder some teenagers can seem so angry all the time! Teenage angst – the term given to describe a time of emotional strife during the adolescent years – is a minefield for the students and the teachers alike, and is often the time when behaviour problems become more noticeable or difficult to deal with.

Not all teenagers succumb to periods of angst; many go through their adolescent years without any problems and enter young adult­hood calmly and confidently. However, others find the process of growing up frustrating and difficult, and as a result will express this through anger or moodiness. Often this is simply due to them wanting to grow up too fast, or that they are finding it difficult to affirm them­selves as individuals.

Teenage Angst Best Way to Deal with Teenage Angst

Much of their frustration often arises from being unable to express him or herself as they want to – perhaps they don’t understand what is happening to them or are scared by the physical and emotional changes their bodies are going through. Some are even reluctant to let go of childhood and do not want to grow up. Whatever the reason, and however insignificant the problem may seem to you, it has a real impact on the student and should be treated seriously and sympathetically.

Dealing with teenage angst requires a lot of patience and under­standing. Teenage temper tantrums and mood swings can be unpre­dictable, and it is best to use a gentle approach. Reassure the student that you are there to listen if they want to talk, and do not pass judgement on them. Give them opportunities to explore and express their feelings, and listen rather than advise. Try not to indulge the student too much, as inevitably some will use their ‘problems’ to excuse lazi­ness or poor behaviour.

Be alert: look out for any worrying signs that may indi­cate more serious problems. Problems such as adoles­cent depression can be difficult to spot, as teenagers frequently exhibit mood swings, negativity, sulkiness, antisocial behaviour, and withdrawal, simply as a normal part of them growing up!

A sudden decline in performance, major changes in mood or person­ality, or periods of illness or truancy may be signs that there is a deeper problem that needs investigating. Always inform your colleagues if you suspect this to be the case. Don’t try to deal with it on your own.

Teenage Angst 1 Best Way to Deal with Teenage Angst

Teenage depression is estimated to affect 5 per cent of adolescents at any point in time. It should be treated as seriously as adult depres­sion: although the causes may be different, the symptoms and effects are the same. As the number of incidents of teenage depression documented increases, so too does the teen suicide rate. It is estimated that up to 90 per cent of teen suicides had suffered from some form of mental illness, including depression.

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