Questions and Answers
General and reproductive health
How do I know if I have reached puberty?
The initial signs of puberty may start to appear among girls between the ages of nine and ten, and menstruation is considered the primary sign of puberty in females approximately two years following the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics.
As for males, changes begin to appear between the ages of twelve and fourteen during which the appearance and emergence of secondary sexual signs occurs, and wet dreams are the main sign of puberty in males. Puberty is preceded by rapid physical growth, especially in height. This rapid growth is not a result of puberty, but rather a precursor to it. Overall, there are a number of factors that affect the date of reaching puberty such as the state of glandular activity, health status, individual readiness, and some other factors such as nutrition. The following table shows the differences in signs of maturity in both males and females.
Secondary sexual signs in female
Secondary sexual signs in males
· Alterations and changes in the girl’s physique, which appear in the protrusion of the breasts, in addition to an increase in height and growth in the limbs, and from there to the trunk. A noticeable increase in weight may occur in some girls.
· Appearance and growth of hair in certain parts of the body, with the build-up of fat in some parts.
· Menstruation happens for the first time, and it usually begins two years after the appearance of the secondary sexual signs.
· The appearance of acne and white and black pimples because of the increased secretion of hormones. A noticeable change in perspiration odors.
· Increased growth and development of the genitals, and the emission of semen during sleep (wet dreaming).
· Acne and white and black pimples start to appear due to the increased secretion of hormones. A noticeable change in perspiration odors.
· Vocal cords develop and grow which results in fluctuation of coarseness and roughness of the voice.
Why is there a difference in physical appearance between me and my friends? (height and size, hair appearance, breast size and shape)?
The signs of growth and change associated with puberty differ from one person to another, especially with regard to the timing of puberty, acceleration of growth, changes in height, hair growth, etc. The emergence of these changes is affected by many factors, the most important of which are heredity, gender, race, climate, chronic diseases, and others.
Is there a difference between males and females with regard to puberty?
Puberty begins in females between the ages of nine and ten, and for males between the ages of twelve and fourteen.
The process of growing up in the physique (especially height) slows down (and often stops completely) in females when menstruation occurs, while in males the growth process in the physical structure continues until the age of eighteen. Figure shows signs of puberty in both males and females.
How can I be sure that my period is regular?
Having an Irregular menstrual cycle is not a serious problem and is common among girls. In general, irregularity in the menstrual cycle continues even after two to three years have passed since the beginning of menstruation, and it results from incomplete maturity of the ovaries. In order to ensure the regularity of the menstrual cycle, the date of menstruation must be monitored for a period of three months. If the cycle (from the beginning of the first day of menstruation to the date of the first day of the next menstruation) is between 21-35 days, then it is considered normal and regular. But if it is shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days, it is considered irregular and requires consultation by a physician.
Among the most common reasons for the irregularity of the cycle are being underweight and below the normal range; unhealthy eating habits, vitamin deficiency, obesity and having excessive weight above the normal range; strenuous exercise, in addition to exhaustion, psychological tension, thyroid gland disorder, hormonal imbalance, polycystic ovaries PCOS.
Menstruation: It is the discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus as a result of the shedding of the endometrium in the absence of fertilization of a mature egg.
Menstrual cycle: It is the natural hormonal changes that occur to a woman’s body every month in preparation for pregnancy, and it begins at puberty and ends at menopause.
Its duration reaches approximately 28 days, and may range between 21-35 days, as the first day of menstruation is the first day of the menstrual cycle and
ends with the beginning of the next menstruation.
Is menstrual pain normal?
Some mild symptoms associated with menstruation occur due to the sudden drop in levels of (Progesterone and Estrogen), but they disappear within several days after menstruation and hormone levels start to rise again. Girls often feel lower back pain, pain in the lower abdomen, swelling and pain in the breasts, headache, and a change in appetite, and mood swings.
Primary dysmenorrhea, or what is known as menstrual pain, is a very common condition for girls in puberty, and it occurs due to the contraction of the uterine muscles. However, it recedes with age, but is more likely to occur if menstruation begins before the age of 11. Simple analgesics available at home may be recommended for relief of pain.
Do not hesitate to contact the doctor in the following cases:
· If symptoms are severe and may hinder the practice of daily activities.
· Prolonged menstrual flow or more than the usual flow.
· If painkillers do not help relieve menstruation pain.
How do I take care of my personal hygiene during menstruation?
Adolescent girls need to learn the basics of personal hygiene in general, especially during menstruation, by rinsing the genitals with water more than once a day during menstruation and changing sanitary pads frequently to protect against infections and diseases. The number of times a girl needs to change the sanitary pad depends on the heaviness of the blood flow, taking care not to leave the same pad for a long time, which may cause unpleasant odours and infections.
Myths about menstrual cycle: Avoid hot showers, do not make any effort, hot water increases menstrual pain, irregular periods harm fertility, menstrual blood is different from normal blood, avoid drinking soft drinks or eating fatty substance.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovaries is not a disease in the known sense. Rather, it is a number of symptoms that occur due to an imbalance in the hormonal system in the body (pituitary gland, ovaries, and others) that leads to inhibition of natural ovulation and an increase in male hormone.
Among its symptoms are irregular menstruation (periods are spaced apart, that is, once every two months or more), weight gain, particularly in the abdomen area, acne on the face, more facial and bodily hair, and delay in pregnancy.
The presence of all or some of the symptoms is sufficient to diagnose this syndrome, and the diagnosis can be confirmed by running hormone tests and by ultrasound.
There is no known treatment to remove the cyst altogether, or to bring it back to its normal state. Therefore, the treatment is administered to the existing symptoms.
Unfortunately, many girls’ resort to the use of certain unnecessary medications, or they follow what their friends do, which may lead to health problem later on.
Does genitalia discharge indicate the presence of infections?
It is normal to have discharges during puberty, as the secretions help maintain the cleanliness and viscosity of the female genitalia, and also keep it free from germs and bacteria. There are several natural characteristics for this type of secretion, such as being odourless, transparent or milky and dries on clothes; in certain cases, these secretions become thin and sticky, but some factors lead to a change in their characteristics, such as microbial infections, pregnancy, diabetes, and some beauty care products.
Genitalia discharge is normal if it is white in colour and not accompanied by any other symptoms. If discharge turns yellow or brown, it is an indication of infections that require medical treatment by a physician.
What are sexually transmitted diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections are diseases transmitted from one person to another, generally through sexual contact, bacteria, viruses, or parasites causing sexually transmitted diseases that can be passed from one person to another through blood, semen, or genitalia and other body secretions.
In some cases, infection can be transmitted in a non-sexual way such as transmission from mother to foetus during pregnancy or childbirth, blood transfusions or use of shared syringes. Moreover, it may be transmitted from apparently healthy people who may not know of their infection.
Sexually transmitted infections STIs don't always show any symptoms but may cause a range of signs and symptoms. On the other hand, STIs may not cause any signs, which is why they may go unnoticed until complications develop or when diagnosed.
Symptoms that may indicate an STI include Sores or blisters on the genitals, mouth, or rectal area, pain or burning during urination, discharge from the male genitalia, unusual or foul-smelling genitalia discharge, unusual female genitalia bleeding, lower abdominal pain, rash on the abdomen, hands or feet.
Signs and symptoms of illness may appear several days after infection, but it may be years before any noticeable problems appear, depending on the organism causing the sexually transmitted infection.
In the event of the appearance of the previous symptoms, you need to consult your doctor immediately.
What is AIDS?
AIDS is a chronic disease caused by a virus called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that infects and destroys CD4 cells, a type of white blood cells responsible for the immune system.
Symptoms of the disease vary according to the stage of infection, but the following common symptoms are observed in all stages: high fever, muscle pain, rash, headache, ulcers in the mouth and genitals, swollen lymph glands, diarrhoea and difficulty in breathing.
HIV infection is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids such as semen and female genitalia discharge. HIV is also transmitted through sexual contact and sexual fluids and secretions from an infected person to a healthy person. The virus is also transmitted through blood transfusions and syringes, as well as from a nursing infected mother to her child during breast feeding.
Although the virus exists in other bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, tears, and urine, it is not transmitted through any of them, nor is it transmitted through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, or using toilets and towels. People most at risk of contracting ‘acquired’ HIV: are people who have sexually transmitted diseases, and inject drug users, and males who have sex with males. Complications: its effect on the immune system, making it easy for people to develop diseases and different types of cancer.
There is no definitive cure for AIDS to date, but some treatments are used to discourage it.
Does masturbation cause health problems for male and female adolescents?
Onanism, or commonly known asmasturbation does not cause any physical health harm or damage despite the many superstitions associated with it. Itdoes not lead to sterility, blindness, reduction in sperm count, nor does it lead to loss of virginity (if violent means are not used.) Masturbation is a natural behavioural practice related to adolescence and is not limited to one gender only without the other.
However, constant repetition and its practice as a means of pleasure and escape from reality, leads to falling into behavioural addiction as it takes control of the person, leading to a decrease in the ability to focus when studying, working, carrying daily activities or social life. Such a practice deprives one from becoming a social and productive person. Additionally, this addiction prevents people from engaging in work, school, or social events, as well as responsibilities.
Those who practice masturbation may feel guilty because of religious, cultural, and personal beliefs of those who oppose it and describe it as an immoral or bad habit.
Masturbation is the self-stimulation resulting from a person caressing their sexual organs with the aim of obtaining sexual pleasure to reach orgasm. Arousal may occur through such means to organs other than the sexual organs such as the breasts, the inner side of the thigh, or sometimes the anus.
How do I take care of personal hygiene?
Taking care of personal hygiene has a major role in one’s physical and psychological health and wellness, as it keeps away many diseases, such as skin diseases, digestive system diseases, and protects against many psychological problems, such as stress.
Some of the most important ways to maintain personal hygiene:
· Taking a shower when necessary and depending on physical exertion, the weather, or changing clothes instead; washing areas that are more likely in need of daily care; using antiperspirants for body odour.
· Brushing the teeth after every meal; changing into clean clothes daily; using absorbent undergarments made of cotton and avoiding synthetic material like nylon and polyester, especially in summer; wash (and keep dry) sensitive areas with water only and avoid scented soap or cosmetics of non-reliable sources.
What is healthy balanced food?
Eating a healthy, varied diet supplies the body with many important nutritional elements to maintain good health and energy; the most important of these elements include fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and water. Micronutrients of a balanced and healthy diet differ from one individual to another according to gender, age, physical activity, lifestyle, and other factors.
There are several steps that help make the diet healthier:
· Increase the intake of protein-rich foods as these foods help increase the feeling of satiety and help burn calories more quickly.
· Drink sufficient amounts of water.
· Replace deep fried foods with grilled foods.
· Eat vegetables and stay away from ready-made meals.
· Eat whole fruits rather than fruit juices.
Young people in this age group are greatly influenced by peers and influencers on social media leading to unhealthy eating habits and practices, such as unhealthy dieting, taking medications and others.
What is the right age for marriage?
At this age, adolescents reach the stage of their ability to reproduce, their sexual feelings towards the opposite sex develop, bonding between the sexes heightens, sexual feelings deepen, and feelings of sexual desire are mixed with love, appreciation, care, and kindness. Feelings and emotions imposed by this stage are often dominant and affect the adolescent's ability to make a sound, logical decisions. Adolescents need to be shown reason on how to make rational and sound decisions by explaining to them clearly the basis on which marriage is founded and the consequent financial, moral and social responsibilities.
There is no set rule to be applied to males and females to determine the right age and time to go into matrimony. There are many aspects on which the eligibility of a man or woman for marriage depends on, such as reaching a certain level of maturity, and the ability to deal with the radical changes that follow the transition into married life in a positive manner, in addition to individuals’ aspirations for academic achievement. Moreover, the determining factors of the right age for marriage differ according to lifestyles, the environment and communities where individuals live.
Marriage before eighteen, according to the law in countries parties with the Convention on the Rights of Woman and Child, is considered ‘early marriage’, where most countries have established strict laws and regulations for this ‘early marriage’ for many considerations, the most important of which are: the psychological, social and health impact on spouses, such as depriving the girl of the opportunity and the right to continue her education leading to her inability to form her own independent personality; exposing the girl to many health crisis because of her frail young body; immaturity of the spouses where they will be unable to hold responsibility, start a family, raise children and bear the psychological and economic burdens; undermining their prospects and potential, deprivation of the right to development and building a well-balanced personality as a result of the violation of the right to education, denial to the right to protection, as the girl may be subjected to abuse or exploitation. Lastly, the negative impact of early marriage on family relations in the future, as the chances of divorce increase and the multiplicity of family problems spike.
"When a girl, still a child herself, is coerced into marriage, she faces immediate and long-lasting consequences. Chances of continuing her studies diminish while the odds of being abused by the husband and complications during pregnancy increase."
According to UNICEF evidence indicates that girls who marry at an early age drop out of formal education and more often than not end pregnant. Also, childbirth and pregnancy-related deaths are important factors of deaths of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 worldwide, in addition to the risk of death of babies born to young mothers, or their exposure to several diseases if they survive.
UNICEF recognizes that “child marriage separates them from family and friends, and curtails their freedom to participate in community activities, which can have significant impacts on girls' mental and physical wellness.”
The Jordanian Personal Status Law (No. 36 for the year 2010) stipulated provisional completion of eighteen years of age and kept the exception for those who have completed fifteen years of age. For the eligibility of marriage, the Law stipulated that the engaged couple be of sound mind and that each of them had completed eighteen years of age. The Law, however, allowed the judge, with the approval of the Chief Justice, to authorize in special cases the marriage of a person who has completed fifteen years of age ‘According to instructions issued for this purpose, if the situation necessitates marriage for the general interest, and according to that, whoever gets married acquires full capacity in all what is related to marriage and separation and their effects.
How do I deal with acne?
Acne: It is a chronic skin disease resulting from clogging of the hair follicle with dead skin cells and skin oil. Acne is characterized by the appearance of blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and potential scarring. Acne primarily affects areas of the skin where there is a relatively large number of sebaceous glands, including the face, upper chest, and the back.
Most adolescents suffer from acne during puberty as one of the effects of growth. At most times, effects are minor and can be dealt with by following healthy lifestyles, such as personal hygiene and a balanced diet.
There are several ways to prevent the re-emergence of acne, including washing the affected areas twice daily, using anti-acne medications that can be acquired without a prescription so as to reduce excess sebum secretions in the skin. Another way is to avoid excessive use of cosmetics (make-up) and remove and cleanse the skin before bedtime. Also recommended is not to borrow or use beauty and healthcare products from others.
What are the emotional changes that occur during puberty?
Emotional changes are among the normal occurrences accompanying puberty in adolescents resulting from hormonal changes and fluctuations. Adolescents tend to become moody, show a sense of belonging and understanding towards friends more than to family and show less empathy towards parents and more towards their peers and what they think of them. This is why they care about their appearance and what they wear and are more likely to spend most of their time by themselves in their rooms. Adolescents are also known to be emotional and sensitive during this period with sudden and abrupt reactions.
Why does my mood change so much?
Mood swings are quite normal; a change in mood is usually related to the way adolescents perceive the situations they are going through. Adolescents’ reactions to these events may seem extreme, but that does not necessarily indicate that there is an underlying problem. Mood swings come as a result of a number of factors, such as hormonal changes as well as the way certain situations are perceived and interpreted. All of this when put together makes an adolescent’s feelings seem volatile, unexpected, or unpredictable.
How do I deal with my excessive emotional sensitivity?
Emotional sensitivity is one of the most significant features of this stage, and it may surface in the form of bouts of sadness, anger, or other uncomfortable feelings.
It may also not be fitting for the current situation, and it varies in intensity and strength, fluctuating between rising or falling down. Emotional sensitivity can be confusing, especially if motives were unclear, but when realized in time, this sensitivity can be harnessed to benefit oneself and others as well and manage reactions in a better, more effective way.
Why do I have sadness attacks?
Sadness is a normal feeling experienced by all individuals and results from the loss of an important person or thing. The reasons for this feeling vary according to individuals and their cultures. Although it is an uncomfortable feeling, it is an indication of the individual's need and cry for help. Reasons for the occurrence of bouts of sadness in adolescents vary, as they are either due to emotional oversensitivity, or because of immature interpretations of situations and happenings that they experience, resulting from the nature of the age stage they are going through.
How do I deal with feelings of anxiety?
Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling, but it serves a purpose as it is associated with achievement. A little anxiety can somehow be beneficial, but if it exceeds its limits, it could hinder performance. Anxiety is associated with a feeling of helplessness in facing daily life challenges. Anxiety manifests in certain physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or palpitations, a feeling of suffocation, stomach pain, headaches, and sweating. It is expected that adolescents will experience these feelings as a result of a group of psychological, social and ideological struggles imposed on them during this phase.
Deep breathing technique is one of the best techniques for solving many psychological and physical problems because of its ability to give the individual a sense of comfort and relaxation. Deep breathing is often recommended by psychologists, and it can be learned and practiced easily and almost everywhere.
Why do I prefer to stay alone in my room?
A certain degree of loneliness in adolescents is quite normal, and is associated with the adolescent's tendency to lethargy, which is also a characteristic of this stage.
The adolescent's feeling of loneliness may be attributed to not being understood and not being a part of the adult world. Adults' recourse to criticism and continuous and persistent instructions increases their sensitivity and failure to express themselves appropriately because of lack of proper life skills. Moreover, the adolescent's quest for independence as a way to find an identity of his own would create feelings of loneliness.
Why am I shy?
The sensitive developmental stage and physical changes the adolescent goes through affect the way they perceive their body image, especially if accompanied by some comments from parents or the surroundings. It is common knowledge that adolescents are embarrassed with the physical changes. This feeling of embarrassment could be generic i.e. within and outside the family, or it could be associated with certain situations, such as social situations, for example.
I feel depressed.
Although mood swings and emotional over sensitivity are among the most noticeable features of this stage, parents still need to monitor these changes.
If sadness, irritability, anger, or other negative feelings persist for more than two weeks, it may be a cause for concern. If the adolescent cries a lot for no apparent reason, if they express feelings of hopelessness or unworthiness, if they experience intense guilt or fixates on what they perceive as past failures, these are all possible symptoms of depression.
Signs of depression can also be manifested by difficulty going through the usual daily routine, such as waking up in the morning on time, going to school or finishing homework. Changes in sleep pattern and appetite changes, lack of energy, problems concentrating or making decisions, and neglecting one’s appearance are all signs of depression as well.
If symptoms of sadness, irritability, or anger persist for more than two weeks in such a manner that deter the adolescent from carrying out their usual tasks, then this is an indication of depression, and a specialist or psychiatrist should be consulted. You may also want to refer to the school counsellor.
I feel anxious about the future.
Thinking about the future is a sign of maturity, and it is natural for feelings of anxiety to accompany this way of thinking. Anxiety becomes more intense whenever there are failures and setbacks in the past.
In the early stages of an adolescent's life, the future does not mean much to them, but in later stages they feel that there are many challenges and responsibilities they will have to face soon, so anxiety about the future appears because they feel that they will not be able to cope with these responsibilities.
I suffer from sleep disorder.
Adolescents need eight to ten hours of sleep a day; it is important to adjust their biological clock by going to sleep and waking up at the same time.
Many factors may affect good quality sleep, such as anxiety, fear, and lack of achievement, in addition to not following healthy sleep habits. Some adolescents may resort to sedatives to help them sleep, but that would worsen the problem as they may become dependent on them in future.
The relationship with others, family, and society
I am being bullied, what should I do?
Adolescents may be subjected to bullying by one or more members of their community, be it at school, the club, or even through social media sites. Most adolescents tend to cover it up, but when you hear of it, you must take immediate action to stop it.
Bullying: intentional repeated abuse in physical, verbal, or psychological ways, and it can range from hitting, pushing, insults, threats, and ridicule to extorting money and property, neglecting others and spreading rumours about them directly or through social media and electronic messages.
Why did I start feeling attracted towards the opposite sex?
At this stage, real contact with the opposite sex begins, and each side begins to realize the difference and similarity with the other sex. With puberty and the onset of adolescence, come bursts of sexual energy. It is quite normal for a male and female adolescent to feel attracted to one another whom they see regularly.
Admiration here is based on appearance and the fun in playing and sharing. At this stage, having mutual feelings, loving, and being loved are of great relevance to adolescents. Also, as important are learning from mistakes of making poor choices, developing self-confidence, and dealing with the opposite sex, knowing the difference between physical attraction, friendship, closeness, love, and commitment to another person.
Why doesn't my family understand me?
The age difference makes it difficult for the adolescent to be convinced that their parents can understand the experiences they are going through, especially if the parents are the type who order others around and pass judgments. In addition, the adolescent at the time is going through a phase where they want to be independent and to articulate their own opinion about society. Furthermore, they tend to rebel against the figures of authority in their life.
Why does my parents show bias and treat me differently from my siblings?
Methods of communication between parents and children differ according to the age stage children go through. However, it is noteworthy to emphasize that the feeling of injustice and inequity is a disturbing feeling and causes frustration. It is also important to note that siblings differ from one another in interests, skills, and hobbies, which leads to different parental care methods. Also, age and personality play an important part in the child getting less or more attention from their parents than their siblings. Adolescent traits at that stage of their life make it difficult to have a smooth and easy rapport with those around them, leading parents to avoid communicating with them because of the age-related mood changes, while at the same time they communicate better with their younger and older siblings.
Why am I being constantly criticized by my parents?
Parents criticize their children in the hope that children will mend their ways, thinking this is a way to help and overcome the problems they suffer from, and to teach them the necessary skills to succeed in life and help them build a sense of responsibility of their own.
Thus, parents may use disparagement, blame and comparison, and express their dissatisfaction with their children’s accomplishments.
Assuming parents have good intentions, criticism in this way, however, results in negative outcomes and has significant effects on the psyche of the adolescent and on the relationship between parents and children. Although criticism does not work well with everyone in general, it is particularly non-beneficial with adolescents. Adults respond well because they may be able to understand what is required, while the adolescent has not developed the necessary skills of perceptions to do that.
Why do my parents prefer bossing me around?
Normally, parents tend to impose restrictions on their children for fear they might behave in ways away from values, or that they might hurt themselves and others. There is a difference between involving adolescents in setting rules and applying them firmly and imposing rules and applying them strictly and harshly. Firmness and control need to include setting boundaries for adolescents and supporting them to adhere to them.
Why don't I feel my parents’ love?
Quite often, the way parents express their love to their children might not touch them, as their way of expression may differ from their expectations or even beyond their comprehension. Undoubtedly, parents do love their children, but not all what you think is an expression of love reaches the adolescent as feelings of love. It is difficult for the adolescent to distinguish between your criticism of them or your criticism of their behavior and actions. Adolescents need to feel they are loved as this is closely connected to their feeling of safety which enables them to build solid relationships in future.
Why can't I be open up and tell my parents what's on my mind?
Adolescents do not take the initiative to open up to parents about what worries them out for fear they might upset them as they know of the many responsibility’s parents have. For one thing, they do not want to add more worries to what they already have. Also, they dread their reactions of anger and anxiety. Added to that, they expect their parents won’t be as understanding as expected, and that they would try to fix matters in their own way which, from the adolescents' point of view, may not seem the right way.
Why is there no dialogue between me and my parents?
Communication skills are one of the most important tools in building good relationships, and the continuation of clear and open dialogue. Adolescents are sensitive by nature, and their reactions are emotional and sudden leading parents to pass judgments or criticize them. This ends up making adolescents think they are not understood, and thus the dialogue between adolescents and parents is cut off. In addition, the authoritarian parental method leads to conflict, which may result in severing communication and dialogue altogether.
Why do my parents interfere in my choice of friends?
Friends constitute the reference group for adolescents, as they find in them what parents don’t, and through friends, they satisfy a number of their emotional needs.
Some friends may be looked upon as role models, and by nature, at this stage, the loyalty and affiliation of adolescents to their group of friends is stronger than their loyalty to their family.
My family prevents me from having a cell phone/electronic device?
Banning the use of electronic devices and preventing adolescents from using them is no more a reality but a fantasy. To them, it is part of their maturity and their initiation into the adult world. Also, it is their way of communicating with friends, a matter of great significance to most of them. Moreover, owning and using electronic devices has become a teaching tool in educational institutions and part of students' duties and responsibilities.
Why are my parents constantly fighting?
Parents are the safe place for their children and the living proof of the family. It is natural for people to disagree and have arguments. The basis for resolving disputes is a calm, logical dialogue away from emotion, based on clarifying points of view and moving towards a solution to reach an agreement. If, however, the dispute escalates, children are faced with fear and an image of an unhealthy model of the family and marital relations in future.
My father beats me, what should I do?
Resorting to beating is a clear violation of children’s rights and their dignity. This includes physical abuse the damages of which cannot be predicted, in addition to psychological abuse leading to widen the gap between parents and children, developing inappropriate behaviors and feelings such as lying, stubbornness, self-harm and harm to others, fear, anxiety and hatred.
I hate my father/mother.
No child hates their father/mother. However, certain behaviors and practices of parents when attempting to discipline their children may lead to numerous mistakes and adverse consequences. The most important of these consequences are children developing feelings of negative attitudes towards their parents, especially at this particular stage which calls for a lot of care and attention. So, if you feel unloved by your children, you need to reflect on your own behavior and look at the way you treat them. Cruelty, tension, lack of responsibility, authoritarianism, lack of appreciation, continuous fights in the presence of children, stinginess, discrimination between siblings and strict punishment are among the most key factors that lead to feelings of hatred towards one or bot.
Why do we need to go to school when we can get a job without a degree?
Adolescents see a number of accomplished models who have achieved a certain financial and social status without having had a degree or a good education. This gives them the notion that studying, and a degree will not get them to achieve anything, but rather keep them away from fulfilling their ambitions.
This does not apply only to those who already suffer from problems in school, but also to distinguished students. It is a known fact that adolescents at this stage tend to copy models with a social influence or as is known ‘influencers ‘in whom they see qualities of power, innovation, and creativity.
Why don't my parents allow me to smoke/hookah and get angry if they find out that I do?
Young adolescents are usually pressured by their peers to smoke. Adolescents encourage one another towards several wrong practices just because they think that makes them appear more appealing, attractive, and sociable in front of their peers. Some, however, take on smoking thinking that it helps alleviating their anxiety and tension. Here also, the role of the media is not to be overlooked as it presents attractive models for young people to imitate.
You, as parents, need to make it clear to your young adolescents of your strong desire for them to quit smoking because of the physical and psychological harm to them and to those around them. Parents also need to refute the ideas associating smoking and manhood, or smoking and freedom from problems and psychological pressures.
What should I do if I have been harassed?
Sexual harassment is often misunderstood and has for a long time been considered a taboo for people even to use the word ‘harassment.’ But that does not justify ignoring harassment or pretending it does not exist. More importantly, sexual harassment is not uncommon or something that happens far away from us. We all see it happen every day in our streets and in our institutions.
Harassment results in many long-lasting effects, as it affects the mental, physical, and psychological health of the person being harassed instantaneously and on the long run, such as suffering from tension, anxiety, depression, and difficulty in concentrating. Harassment also causes headaches, insomnia, sleep disorders and nightmares as well as eating disorders, fatigue, and panic attacks. It may also lead one to having suicidal thoughts, lose one’s self-confidence and self-esteem and confidence in others. Feelings of anger, fear, humiliation, guilt, and shame may very well result from harassment. Lastly, violence and helplessness, loss of control, poor academic performance, and recurrent absenteeism for fear of repeated harassment are all the consequences of harassment.
Harassment is any form of unwanted words and/or actions of a sexual nature that violates a person's body, privacy, or feelings and makes them feel uncomfortable, threatened, insecure, afraid, disrespected, intimidated, insulted, or Abuse, intimidation, violation, or it is just physical, and it can be confrontational or through the internet and social media.
Adolescents can be exposed to harassment from people within or out of the family or school. Because of several social and family considerations, they tend to cover it up, especially if the harasser was a family member or someone within the family circle. This is why parents should be always alert to signs indicating that their children have been subjected to harassment, such as:
· Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
· Eating disorders (loss of appetite or binge eating).
· Symptoms of contracting sexual diseases and the presence of infections.
· Symptoms of depression, such as persistent sadness, lack of energy, change in sleeping habits.
· Neglecting personal hygiene or care for personal appearance as has been the norm.
· Intentional inflicting harm to oneself.
· Exhibiting suicidal tendencies.