Monday, May 9, 2011

How the Teen Years Can Affect You By Hannah Davis

The teen years are very turbulent. Sometimes we encounter things that may frustrate and scare us as we age during this time. There is a lot of change going on physically, emotionally, financially and educationally.

Physically we watch as our body hits puberty; hormones start to go wild as we get more testosterone or estrogen, hair starts to grow in new places, we begin to have sexual urges and our appearance and voice change. With these changes many teens are excited to enter the dating world – we want to experience the thrill of falling in love, having our first kiss, getting to say we have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and perhaps engage in sexual activity.

Teens need to learn to deal with is their new found urges. Giving in to sexual desires may lead to feelings of guilt, worry and regret or happiness and empowerment. If they are happy with their decision they may stop controlling their desire and instead give in. This is dangerous because a person may start to have sex without protection with possible results of STI’s or pregnancy, or result in getting a reputation for being easy or a player. On the other hand, if a person feels pressured into losing their virginity or engaging in certain sexual actions they may become depressed or turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with their decision.

These physical changes can and often do impact us mentally and emotionally. As our sexuality and body mature we must face new experiences, some good and some bad. For example, we watch others and compare our body to theirs and may worry that we are changing too quickly or slowly. As we get more self conscious about our bodies we may begin to get self-esteem problems and see our physical appearance as less then desirable. This can sometimes lead to eating disorders or other troubling habits to control and achieve a desired look.

During the teen years we begin to take on more responsibilities. We get jobs which allow us a new form of freedom; the ability to buy whatever we want with the money we have worked hard to earn. But with power comes great responsibility. Perhaps our college tuitions aren’t being paid for by our parents, so we begin to worry about keeping enough money to support ourselves. Taxes, bills, student loans, and other money issues may start to enter our lives. This can lead to stress and possibly depression if you feel that you don’t have enough money to do all the things you want and need.

But those aren’t the only things that teens must learn to deal with. There are multiple school changes, with the hardest most likely being the transition from high school to college. This change brings a teen more independence but also more money issues, responsibilities, and stress. We move out of the house (and potentially very far away), we get roommates, even tougher classes, and the added pressure to find out what we want to be when we grow up as well as attaining that goal through education. A lot of the time we don’t know anyone at the school and therefore meet and make friends with a whole new group of people. All these things can be hard on a person and lead to problems in their life.

I am sure there are other changes I have forgotten to mention. Each person has a unique life and experiences their teen years differently. For some they may ease on through, others may struggle at every turn, and those left over will have their high and low moments. The good thing is most people understand what teenagers are going through, having experienced it themselves, and want to help you through any hard times your teenage years may bring you.

Remember that change is necessary and good. It allows us to try and do new things, explore who we are, and grow up. Sometimes being a teenager may seem like the worst thing ever but keep in mind that soon you will be older and will be able to look back on these years.

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