The ages of 12 to18 are quite awkward for children, when they are caught transitioning between childhood and adulthood. It is an ‘almost’ phase, where these teenagers are almost-but-not-quite children or adults. Confusing, right? Yeah, that’s how the whole of teenage years are for teenagers, so now you can empathize with them.
The word ‘teenager’ was first used in America in the 1920’s, prior to which children were assumed to magically become adults overnight around the age of 12 or 13. Yeah, that does sound unbelievable. There’s more, most religions such as Judaism considered a child to become a man at the age of 13, and in ages past, these kids of ages 14 and 15 were considered old enough to fight in armies and participate in wars. Imagine that, being stuck fighting battles while reeling from the many bodily changes happening during this phase of life! Quite unfair indeed.
This age is an especially difficult one for children as their bodies are undergoing numerous changes, both hormonal, physical and mental. Their feelings and world views are changing, their perspective about life and their role in it is changing, their attitude towards the opposite sex is also undergoing a massive shift – with boys who earlier considered girls ‘icky’ suddenly developing feelings of attraction towards them, and girls who considered boys annoying being attracted to them as well. This phase is also known as adolescence, and is defined by rebellious behaviour among teenagers, a drop in school performance, lying, not having the same level of respect towards parents, thinking that they know best, and that their elders are not as smart as them, turning towards alcohol and drugs for relaxation and release, trying to impress their peers, curious about sexuality, and sometimes even suffering from depression. Of course, it should not be assumed that a child becoming a teenager will go through all of these negative phases, some of them are just worst case scenarios, described for informing parents, but it goes on to depict that teenage is truly the most interesting as well as challenging phase of life, one which has to be gotten just right if these children are to become healthy adults and fully functioning cogs of society.
Luckily, scientists, social workers and health practitioners came together to eradicate child labour and came up with the concept of teenage to help children transition from childhood to adulthood, after all, this is the age when a person’s hormones bloom, emotions change and body morphs dramatically as well.
One must make sure that these teenage years are handled carefully so that the child can learn the apt social skills needed to interact in society and develop a solid foundation to be a vital part in its functioning. This should be done discreetly, lest the teenager rebel as is their wont.
One of the ways to manage teenage years and all the pent up energy that these adolescents have is to involve them in some sport of their choice, thereby channeling their energy positively. They should also be engaged in some form of social work so that they develop empathy and become better persons. Basically, taking part in constructive, positive activities is the best way to handle this challenging phase of life, thus also learning the importance of responsibility, and taking the first steps towards a better, well-rounded life.