As kids enter adolescence and become teenagers, there are plenty of new concerns that come up, including changing family relationships, physical changes, new challenges in school, and emotional development.
Teen Drug and Alcohol Use
Underage drinking can be a big temptation during the teen years, but it can also lead to major problems. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a 2009 study found that 72 percent of 12th graders and 37 percent of 8th graders drink alcohol (http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm). Teen drug use, including the use of illegal substances as well as the misuse of prescription drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin, can pose a major danger to teen health and safety.
Teens who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may experience a wide range of problems, including:
- Problems with school and work performance
- Difficulties maintaining friendships
- Legal problems that result from being caught doing drugs or attempting to purchase alcohol or cigarettes
- Injuries and accidents, such as household or car accidents, resulting from being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Disruptions in physical and emotional growth and development
Teen Hygiene and Health
As a teen goes through puberty, his or her hygiene needs may change. An increase in perspiration and body odor can cause embarrassment unless you start using antiperspirant or deodorant. You may also need to start shaving which can sometimes reduce body odor in the underarm region.
Also, everyday hygiene becomes even more important, so you should bathe or shower regularly and brushing your teeth at least twice a day, just as you did during childhood.
Teen Money Management
Financial intelligence is a learned skill, and the teen years are the ideal time to learn it. If you learn how to be smart with your money now, it will serve you well in the future. Ask your parents for tips about financial management or look into classes at your high school or a local community college that can help you learn how to manage your money. If you get a part-time job or receive an allowance from your parents, try saving some of it for a special purchase instead of spending it all right away.
While much about high school can be fun, negative influences at school can pose a risk to your success in school and your future prospects. If you find that your friends are keeping you from fulfilling your full potential in class, ask a guidance counselor for some friendly advice that might let you maintain your friendships while also achieving academic success.
Getting in trouble with the law or school authorities can impact your high school career as well as your future. While some rules may not seem to make much sense, you should still follow them in order to assure your own safety and happiness. When you stay away from trouble as a teen, it makes the rest of your life go much more smoothly. Look for older role models who can lend a helping hand and offer advice for situations you might encounter throughout your teen years. Try to avoid emulating people who get into trouble frequently, and set a good example for younger teens who may want to follow in your footsteps later. Finishing high school, volunteering locally, and participating in extracurricular activities that teach you valuable life skills can be good ways to stay active, avoid boredom and stay out of trouble during your teen years.