There’s no question that being a teenager can have its ups and downs. School stress, emotional stress and relational stress can all come and go, and rise and fall. Even so, as a parent, it’s important to take note of more serious matters that your teen might be facing. In other words, leaving significant issues unresolved can have lasting impacts on their adult life.
All parents want the best for their teens as they grow up and advance into their chosen occupations. Unfortunately, studies suggest that teens who experience high levels of stress are more 32% likely to face unemployment as an adult. Additionally, the study shows that children who were diagnosed with ADHD were 10% more likely to be living on social assistance as an adult.
Put simply, unresolved stress or mental health conditions experienced by children can have lasting effects on their employment status as an adult.
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Relationally speaking, attachments are an extremely important process for a child to experience as they grow up and cultivate romantic, family and friend relationships. However, researchers have also found that there is a link between childhood emotional abuse and self-criticism, as well as a link between childhood maltreatment, self-criticism, and dissatisfaction in romantic relationships.
In other words, low self-esteem and high self-criticism can be cultivated within children who experience and neglect effects of abuse, which can damage their relationships down the road.
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One other study examined the effects of major depression in adolescents as they matured into adults. Once again, lasting occupational and social effects were noticed. However, the study suggested most significantly a decreased “life satisfaction” amongst adults who had experienced major depression as a teen.
For example, psychologist Peter Lewinsohn of the Oregon Research Institute says, “we know that there are certain things that predispose people to being depressed, like being pessimistic. And now we’re seeing there are traits like this evident after a depressive episode that weren’t there before the depression. It’s a scar [that] can affect a person throughout their life.”
How to Help
With these studies in mind, it can be overwhelming considering how you might help your teen today so that they have a positive, healthy life tomorrow. First and foremost, don’t let problems go unnoticed as this can only exacerbate issues further. Getting your teen the help of a mental health professional can help them develop healthy coping strategies that they can use throughout their adult life as they face struggles and trials.
Do some research to understand what your teen might be feeling and experiencing. There are many resources online that can give you an overview of your teen’s mental health.
Above all else, help your teen feel supported. Help them understand that they can come to you when they are feeling stressed, sad, scared or self-critical. In other words, help them know that they are not alone.
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