Reproductive health knowledge platform for youth

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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 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 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 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.