Driven by hormones and the intense need to discover life, teenagers usually participate in narratives of rebellion and misunderstanding. Behind this “subversive” idea, nonetheless, there are people living on the fine line between feeling and knowing how to deal with what one feels. The “rebel cry”, in fact, is often nothing more than a silent request for acceptance and help.
According to the Child and Adolescent Act (Eca), people between the ages of 12 and 18 are in the adolescence phase. Legal Framework: Health, an Adolescent Right, from the Ministry of Health (MS) considers this to be “the stage of life between childhood and adulthood, marked by a complex process of growth and biopsychosocial development (biological, psychological and social) “.
According to the psychologist Fabiola Menezes Bessa, this process is responsible for a “tsunami of change”, which ends up triggering the feeling that people in this age group do not understand and, for this reason, end up not knowing how to manage or act forward. in them.
“(Adolescence) is a phase of physical / body changes triggered by the accelerated production of hormones. With these changes, the teenager does not recognize his body and loses the notion of body scheme, which can undermine the feeling of self-esteem it. is a phase of psychic/cognitive changes, and the emergence of abstract thinking “, explains the expert.
Still according to Fabiola, who acts as a therapist for children and adolescents, all this dynamic experienced ends up generating “a confusion of feelings”, which makes adolescence a “phase of great emotional instability and vulnerability to trigger various mental illnesses, among them eating, anxiety, depression and even schizophrenia”.
Apart from all this “boiling” of feelings, people in this age group are also more likely to take risky and reckless actions. This can be explained by another biological factor: during adolescence, the maturation (maturity) of the human brain is still taking place.
“The brain in adolescence is still developing and it can last up to 24 or 25 years. It’s really a longer maturation process, because that’s where the brain structures are being stimulated (…) And this will make a difference for all the rest of your life.”, explains neuropsychologist Marleide de Oliveira.
According to the doctor, who works there At the Child and Adolescent Care Center (NAIA), at the Professor Frota Pinto Mental Health Hospital (HSM), teenagers have a greater desire for adventure, because they are not aware of the risks. “They still have this immature brain, so they are not able to think about the consequences of their actions in the future”, emphasizes the expert.
Social networks can affect development
The biological factor is not the only one that influences the way teenagers feel or express themselves. According to neuropsychologist Marleide de Oliveira, environmental and social problems can also be factors responsible for the way these people act and build their perception of the world.
In this context, one of the biggest challenges for teenage parents may be in something that dictates more rules and customs: social networks. With influencers portraying a “perfect life” on screen, these platforms become traps for anyone still trying to understand their place in the world.
“(Social networks) can indeed trigger increased anxiety, depression, sleep problems, lack of concentration, social isolation, obesity. Difficulties in learning were very frequent in this problem of spending too much time on screens, and this produced a lot of discomfort for the families”, says the HSM neuropsychologist.
According to Fabiola Menezes, these diseases can be driven by the images that usually appear on social networks, “of perfect bodies and people who seem not to face difficulties”. “From the moment teenagers realize that they cannot achieve such an ideal, they can action feelings of insufficient frustration and dissatisfaction”, insists the psychologist and therapist.
In contrast, the expert points out that digital technology can also have a positive influence on the development of teenagers and serve as a tool to investigation for information, a means of entertainment and even a way to improve the difficulty of social interaction. nonetheless, it is necessary to have a control so that the technological benefits do not turn out to be poor.
“(Parents) be very attentive to the type of content that their children access and establish a limited access time, encouraging youth to engage in other developmentally important activities. It is essential that parents guide their children always in relation to all these problems, warning them about the risks, cases of pedophilia and other criminal activities that can happen on social networks”, the expert further argues.
FORTALEZA, CEARÁ, 2023-07-31: Clivia and her daughter. Julie has a habit of surfing the Internet, especially on social networks, and her mother, Clivia, has a habit of supervising her daughter. (Photo: Fernanda Barros/ O Povo)
At home Clivia Geritza Alves, 47 years old, caution and excessive use of these platforms is the topic of conversation. The exchange on the subject is made with his daughter, Julie Alves, 13 years old – a teenager who loves to dance and who likes to be inspired by the dances that have become viral on apps like Tik Tok.
“Currently, it is very difficult to have absolute control (on the use of these means), but we talk a lot with him and explain the consequences of improper use of social networks. Even so, we are always careful to look at the cell phone to become more calm”, the administrative assistant said.
Clivia pays more attention to her daughter’s mental health. “Julie is very anxious, whether during exams, work presentations, trips, that is, everything that is a little out of routine makes her very scared”, says the mother of the teenager.
In the home of Elisângela Alves, 40 years old, the consumption of social networks is a little different, but the screens are still present. His son, Guilherme Alves, 15, does not use applications such as Instagram, Facebook or X (formerly Twitter) on his own, and prefers to consume games, videos or movies.
The social worker says that his son follows some game narrators on Youtube, but that the young man still has not allowed himself to be influenced by their behavior in a way that could worry him. “So far, I have not had to limit the time of use (of the teenager referring to the screens)”, he said.
Teenagers need family support
In this process of growth and biopsychosocial development, and internal and external factors that influence behavior and decisions – adolescents need help to understand and know how to deal with their own emotional experiences. The family nucleus is fundamental to this goal, because it is responsible for creating a healthy environment for the individual to develop.
According to psychologist Fabiola Menezes, this phase of adolescence usually brings many challenges for young people and their families, requiring “flexibility on both sides”.
“Parents need to find a balance between a caring attitude and, at the same time, help pave the way for their children to mature and conquer their autonomy and independence. around them, parents should encourage their ability to think for themselves and make the decisions that are already within their reach”, he guided.
Still according to the psychologist, the most important thing is that the parents are always available establish an open dialogue with the children. This must be done by respecting the autonomy of young people and giving them the space they “need for the affirmation of their individuality and identity”.
Conversation is the basis of Clivia Geritza’s relationship with her daughter Julie. The administrative assistant says that whenever she observes the teenager being silent, she calls him to talk and find out what’s going on.
“The education we try to pass on is that above all we are his best friends (father, mother and sister), that is, that he can tell us everything and so we are giving examples in our lives and real experiences . can forget is that life is a great challenge and keep in mind that every choice in life has its consequences, whether it is positive or poor, it will depend on what you choose “, he said.
Dialogue is also the key to bring Elisângela Alves closer to Guilherme, his son. In the absence of words, the secret becomes another: food. “When I notice that he is quieter, I wait for the right moment to speak. And I usually break the silence when I invite him for a snack”, reported the social worker.
Tips on how to deal with the “dreaded” adolescence.
At this stage of life, it is not only teenagers who must go through changes. According to Fabiola Menezes, parents need to adopt a new educational position in relation to their children. It is necessary, according to the expert, that the guardians stop treating these people like children – stop making all decisions for them and allow them to feel independent.
The changes can be difficult for parents, especially because during adolescence, according to the psychologist, young people tend to move progressively away from the family, “in investigation of greater independence and in an attempt to find their identity”, closer to other social groups . .
“The most important thing is that parents are aware of their children’s activities. We cannot simply say that changes in behavior (in teenagers), by themselves, are signs of difficulty, because adolescence is a phase of multiple changes. nonetheless, parents should be aware of some behaviors that may bring risk to the adolescent”, guide the specialist.
Adolescent behavior that should alert parents:
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs;
- Beyond electronic games;
- Too much time spent on technology;
- Too much shopping;
- Too much social isolation;
- Stay away from home for long periods of time, often without warning, with cell phones turned off.
Excessive screen use runs in the family
At home Clivia Geritza Alves, 47, they discuss the excessive use of these platforms. The exchange on the subject is made with the daughter, Julie Alves, 13 years old, who likes to be inspired by the dances that have become viral on apps like Tik Tok.
“It is difficult to have absolute control, but we talk a lot with him and explain the consequences of the misuse of social networks. Even so, we always take care to look at the cell phone to be more calm”, says the administrative assistant.
Clivia’s attention is redoubled, especially with an idea about her daughter’s mental health. “Julie is very anxious, whether during exams, work presentations, trips. Everything that is a little out of the routine scares her very much”, says the mother of the teenager.
In the home of Elisângela Alves, 40 years old, the consumption of social networks is different, but the screens are always present. His son, Guilherme Alves, 15, prefers to consume games and videos.
The social worker says that his son follows some game narrators on Youtube, but that the young man still has not allowed himself to be influenced by their behavior in a way that could worry him. “So far, I have not had to limit the time of use”, he pointed out.
Adolescent behavior that should alert parents
Alcohol and drug consumption;
Too much time spent on electronic games and technology;
Too much shopping;
Lock yourself away;
home for long periods of time, often without warning, with the cell phone turned off.