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No caretaker of adolescents has to be told that it can be a challenging and often thankless job. No longer small children, but most definitely not adults, teenagers provide a quandary when it comes to looking after their physical, mental, and emotional needs.
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No caretaker of adolescents has to
be told that it can be a challenging and often thankless job. No longer small
children, but most definitely not adults, teenagers provide a quandary when it
comes to looking after their physical, mental, and emotional needs. And while
an actual teenager might shrug those concerns off as no big deal, adults
shouldn't let these issues slide. Alarming new studies indicate that mental
health problems among adolescents are on the rise. Even more disturbing, these
studies indicate that these problems have manageable causes, like academic
pressure, and sleep deprivation. While some of these problems must be dealt
with at the source, other teens can be helped with involvement in group
The Benefits of Joining
Encouraging a teen to consider taking part in an organized group sport seems a natural and automatic solution to
getting a moody and sedentary teen out of his or her room and the house. And
the benefits of taking part in structured physical activity are many and
obvious. But not all children are natural athletes, and not all organized
school athletic programs are especially appealing. Fortunately, with the
introduction of athletic administration master’s degree programs, more and more school systems are producing
athletic programs that are more varied, more inclusive, and better
administered. And like all other group activities, in addition to physical
fitness, these athletics offer opportunities for social interaction, experience
in conflict resolution, and a possible foot up in getting into that desired
college. Still, sports aren't the best fit for all teens, so what are some
other options to consider?
Other Social Programs for Teenagers
Travel and "policy"
programs like Global Leadership Adventures, allow for a safe, limited, Peace
Corps like experience for adventurous teens that can also enhance future
college and employment applications. Academic
"clubs" like debate teams or Mathlete groups are a fun way to
combine scholastic challenge with socializing, and often involve travel, as
well. Service organizations like Special Olympics often regularly
recruit "conventional" teenagers to assist with these events in a
multitude of ways, and these experiences can be applied to school and work
applications, too. And finally, from model airplanes to bird watching, and from
Justin Bieber to Star Wars, there's a big group of kids out there eager
to get together to enjoy their hobbies.
Caregivers should note that these suggestions apply only to teenagers needing
mild to moderate guidance in enhancing social opportunities. Are teenagers genuinely struggling with socializing or
other issues? Other more formal programs are available for them, and their
caretakers are urged to take advantage of them to help their favorite young
people help themselves.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer
from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she
studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long
walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.
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