Lonliness in Americas Youth
Because of all the new technological devices and the world wide web, we are now globally connected more than ever. But while one may think that this would harmoniously link people into happy, healthy groups, it doesn’t appear to be working out that way. In fact, many studies have shown that just the opposite is occurring, especially in regards to America’s youth who have been suffering greatly from the side effects of loneliness. Read on to find out more about the devastating consequences that this having on their mental health and some information on what parents can do to help.
What is Teen Loneliness?
It may sound strange that someone wouldn’t know what loneliness is. But, more often than not, parents don’t know how to recognize it in their teenage children. This is often because of the stereotypes that our society has surrounding this age group. When teenagers start to become withdrawn, depressed, and moody, those family members who are the closest to them automatically assume that these are just normal behaviors because of the hormonal effects of puberty. So they give them space because they think that this will help. Unfortunately, it isn’t normal at all though. These symptoms are a sign that a child is in desperate need of time with others who care about them, not more distance away from them. Loneliness may also entail feelings of isolation, low self-esteem, and self-hatred, especially if the child starts to blame themselves for the situation that they are going through.
Why is it Important for Parents to Be Concerned About Loneliness in Teenagers?
Children who are lonely because they have no support group often find other ways to cope with their inner turmoil, such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, and rebellious acts to get attention. Some may even begin to have suicidal thoughts as their depression and anxiety worsens. So if parents ignore the signs of loneliness in their children, the teenagers may end up with life-long substance abuse problems, unplanned pregnancies, or legal problems.
Is Social Media to Blame for Loneliness in Teenagers Today?
In order to try to fully understand why teen loneliness has become so common in America’s youth today, some researchers have started to study social media to see if it is the main source of the problem. The opinions on the subject are split. Some feel that because children spend so much time on the internet, they are not seeking out real-life friendships that would be more satisfying to their need for closeness, security, and understanding. Others say that parents are just as guilty of these behaviors, which is causing them to ignore their children who are desperately seeking attention from them. So, in other words, simply taking away electronic devices is not an easy fix to the problem.
Are There Any Other Causes of Teen Loneliness?
Loneliness can be caused by undiagnosed mental health issues that parents might not be aware of too. Depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, or even bi-polar disorders often start during puberty. Sometimes, parents can recognize the signs of them because they too suffer from the illnesses. But if there is no previous family history of mental health problems, or the parents hide their own struggles with them from their children, then the teenagers may feel as if no one understands them. And this makes their feelings of loneliness even worse.
Can Parents Prevent Teen Loneliness?
The best way for parents to try to prevent their children from suffering from loneliness is to spend as much time in person with them as possible. While this isn’t always easy because of busy work schedules and long to-do lists, it can be extremely beneficial in helping them feel loved and cared for. Getting teenagers together with some of their other peers is also helpful, such as encouraging them to join sports activities or other extracurricular events.
As you can see, loneliness in teenagers is a more complex issue than many parents realize. It can be caused by mental health issues, isolation, or too much time on social media. And if it isn’t treated in time, it may have a serious impact on a teenager’s life. So it is crucial that parents get help for their children who are suffering from loneliness as soon as possible, such as seeking treatment at Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center. Our facility has a team of experts who can give them the attention and time that they need. So call today to set up your appointment.