Adolescence is the period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Leaving the kids’ world and entering a world where one has to think, feel and behave like an adult can be challenging for anyone. The children living in the sweet world of childhood suddenly find themselves faced with the needs, responsibilities, and concerns of the adults’ world. If you are dealing with teenagers, note that they are involved in many thoughts and emotions of their own.
Why may adolescence be a challenging period?
What are the most critical issues of adolescence?
- Physical and sexual puberty: In this stage of life, sexual hormones start secreting. They cause changes in physical and sexual characteristics. Many factors may ease or harden this experience, such as late or early puberty, the adolescents’ awareness or unawareness of these transitions, and how others, especially parents, react towards these changes.
- Cognitive and emotional maturity: Adolescence is similar to adulthood in many ways. However, adolescents still are growing biologically and, therefore, are intellectually and emotionally developing. The front lip of their brain, the part which is responsible for controlling our behaviors and emotions, is not completely developed yet. Hence, it is normal if a teenager sometimes acts impulsively or cannot think and behave rationally.
- Developing identity: This stage of life is the first step in which teenagers start thinking seriously about shaping their future. They also consider making decisions about cultural, social, political, and religious beliefs. Developing an identity can be a big challenge. It may make adolescents try various ways and ideas to choose the ideal identity of their own finally.
- Craving for independence: The most common conflicts between teenagers and their parents arise from the fact that teenagers want to be known as adults and have independence. In contrast, the parents are not yet ready to see their children as grown-ups who can be in charge of everything and capable of handling their own lives.
- Peer relationships: Adolescents have vital roles in each other’s lives; they are fellow travelers in their journey to the outside world. They start to feel included in a friendship group. As a result, they feel more independent from their family. In addition, a peer group makes its members feel belonged, loved, and important. All these factors help them developing new identities.
Another point to be considered is how teenagers affect each other’s behaviors and beliefs. They constantly compare themselves to their friends, are influenced by them and seek their approval. Most teenagers prefer to spend most of their time with friends. Therefore, making healthy friendships during adolescence has positive effects on one’s life.
How does migration affect an adolescent?
Adolescents build their identities based on their cultural heritage as well as what society, media, and their friends offer them. Suppose there is a consistency among the information and values that come to them from these sources. In that case, there will be fewer challenges in the process of self-identification. Still, if this information is contradictory, the identity crisis can become severe and long-lasting. The change of cultural environment teenagers encounter after emigrating makes it difficult for them to understand the norms and values. Many families experience a profound cultural shock for a long time after immigration. It takes them time and effort to fit in their new environment and cope with the social requirements. It is even more problematic for adolescents who have not yet had enough time to build a robust identity.
Consider a person who accepted some norms since childhood and now, on the verge of adolescence, sees a drastic change in those norms. It is also possible that parents try to conserve their former values and want their children to do so. At the same time, society sends completely different cultural signals. It could spark an identity crisis for the teenager, and the parents would find themselves in a critical position.
The other remarkable issue arises when immigrated teenagers cannot make close friends and develop relationships with peers due to the lack of fluency in the new language. It can also be caused by the differences they might have with the teenagers around them. As it is of huge importance to make friends with peers and feel included and accepted among them, there might be serious damage to the teenager’s identity-seeking spirit.
What can Daroon do for you?
Adolescence is a critical period in one’s life. Still, contrary to popular belief, it is not necessarily a time of hardship and troubles. The teenager and the parents can overcome the issues pleasantly, simply by being aware of the facts surrounding adolescence and acknowledging the proper methods to face the problems that arise during this time.
Teenager who is dealing with immigration can acquire the following skills with the aid of a psychologist:
- Overcoming inner conflicts and develop their identity.
- Determining the adequate life goals based on their values, skills and desires.
- Making the proper choice among a vast number of norms and values which are often contradictory.
- Learning how to adjust the relations with parents and the outside world.
If you immigrated when you or your child were a teenager, and the change in the environment and lifestyle has intensified the problems during this crucial time, share your problems with us. In Daroun Counselling Centre, we are happy to be with you. We help you to manage the adolescence period properly, and turn your immigration into a starting point for a life full of success and happiness.