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Juvenile Pressures And Mental Health On The Rise

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For most parents, raising teenagers can be challenging. It’s commonly known as one of the most stressful parenting experiences, and it’s not one that you can easily avoid. It can be difficult, as a parent, to remember what you’ve been through during your teenage years.

But despite the generational gap, things have not changed between what teenagers used to crave for and what they still want. It is about belonging in a community and being recognized as a valuable social member. While this might sound familiar for everyone – who doesn’t want to feel like they belong? – the challenges of modern life have made the path to social recognition a more difficult one. It’s no wonder that juvenile crime in the 21st century has increased by over 23% in large cities. Indeed, financial fluctuations, debts, stress and employment crisis have gradually damaged the family nucleus, providing teenagers with a broken home. When the home is unsafe, is there any other option than creating your own universe outside, despite the absence of safety?  

Teens Are Not Equipped To Take Reasoned Decisions

Let’s get things clear from the start. You know it isn’t safe outside. You know that you should avoid impulsive and irrational behavior as this could endanger you. Teenagers are not equipped to know. The brain continues to mature through adolescence. It is especially true for the area of the brain that is responsible for reasoning, the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex helps you to think before you act. Unfortunately, this region doesn’t develop until adulthood. In other words, it’s not that teenagers don’t think through the consequences of their acts; they can’t. Additionally, there’s a region that develops rapidly: The amygdala. It controls immediate reactions and responds to emotional impulses. In short, a teenage brain is more likely to misinterpret social cues, act on emotional impulse and engage in dangerous activities.

Social Pressure Is Higher When You’re A Teenager

The development of the amygdala can be tightly linked to the way teenagers respond to social pressure. There is a desperate need for social recognition, as it is what defines your identity as a teenager. Consequently, it is easy to understand how teenagers can get pushed to commit dangerous and even criminal acts. Being part of a group gives a teenager a sense of worth. Unfortunately, following the wrong group might also lead to needing the skills of a juvenile attorney. It is important to note that for a young brain, the emotional response that is linked to being seen as a tough and compliant individual – who has the group’s interests at heart – overrules the reasoned approach. The somehow childish argument; if you don’t do it, you’re a nobody; works on teenagers and can lead to dramatic consequences.

Mental Health Is A Common Issue

With everyday stress on the rise in all households, it’s easy to understand how teenagers, who have only an emotional response, can suffer from depression and anxiety. What is surprising, is that mental health issues for teenagers have been on the rise by 70% over the past 25 years. Similarly, work-related stress and financial crisis are also hitting more and more households. It is easy to accept that teenagers don’t find the home a relaxing place anymore. However, the abundance of digital technology could be part of the bigger picture. As teenagers have access to digital information, they find themselves unable to filter them. Eating disorders, bullies, and self-disgust are the logical results of their digital interactions. Criminal behavior is only the next step after broken mental health.

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