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Skipper L Harvey, PsyD
September 17, 2014

Adolescent Concerns

Adolescence is a time of active growth and development – physical, sexual, social, and emotional. While some teens present with few difficulties during this stage of their life, others struggle. Although this article does not include all of the concerns of adolescence, it does include some of the more prevalent issues that may lead to other problems such as drug/alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, and truancy to name a few.

Negative Peer Pressure

As an adolescent, making decisions on your own is sometimes hard enough without the added pressure of someone trying to persuade you to follow their lead. Some of the reasons your teen may give in to peer pressure are to be liked, to fit in with a particular crowd, to avoid being teased or bullied, or simply out of curiosity. Your teen needs your support to make good decisions so keep in mind that giving in to peer pressure is often times not so much that they’re rejecting you as it is that they are trying to establish their own identity. Help your teen learn from their mistakes by staying calm and keeping the pathways of communication open as they develop their own decision-making processes.


Teen stress is on the rise as adolescents are faced with an increasing number of challenges that may include relationships with peers, new demands at school, developmental challenges, family issues, and social media. The coping skills, or lack of, that teens use to manage these stressors can have significant short-term and long-term consequences on their physical and emotional health. Stress is how an adolescent’s body reacts to a challenge and it does this by triggering the nervous system and specific hormones. While the stress response prepares a person to react quickly and enhance performance under pressure, it can cause problems when it overreacts or is activated long-term.


If you’re the parent of a teen, the words “whatever” and “I don’t care” probably sound all too familiar. While it may be difficult at times, encouraging your teen is the key to motivation. And remember, what motivates you may not motivate your teen. He or she is their own person. Try to stay focused on your teenager’s accomplishments instead of their failures and help them set small, specific, and realistic goals while celebrating small successes along the way. This will give your teen the confidence, courage, and motivation to continue when they feel like giving up.

Anger Management

Anger is a normal emotion that we all experience as part of being human. It is also an emotion that is very powerful and when not managed effectively can result in extreme consequences. Because of this, it’s important for adolescents to learn anger management skills so they can safely convey their feelings without resorting to inappropriate communication or acting out behaviors. The more your teenager learns to communicate their strong emotions, the less likely he/she will be to act out when intense feelings arise. 


Recent research has found that while verbal and physical bullying decreases as children age, cyberbullying actually increases with the American Academy of Pediatrics calling cyberbullying the “most common online risk for all teens.” Cyberbullying is the use of a computer, cell phone, etc. to harm or harass another person/persons in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. A cyberbully may be someone your teenager knows or an online stranger. The perpetrator may act alone or solicit the involvement of other people who do not know your teen.


Self-esteem is defined as a confidence and satisfaction in oneself. It is basically an individual’s core belief that is reflected in their actions. Although self-esteem can fluctuate from time to time depending on happenings in one’s life, there is an overall consistent pattern of either a healthy or unhealthy view of oneself the majority of the time. As with most things in a teen’s life, the foundation of self-esteem is largely established in childhood with parents having the greatest influence over an adolescent’s overall view of self. Criticizing your teen does not teach them how to change their behavior or make better choices, while praise and encouragement will communicate your expectations more clearly.


Self-injurious behaviors are typically an individual’s way of expressing and coping with problems that are causing significant suffering and emotional pain. As strange as it may sound, hurting oneself actually makes one feel better. Many tweens and teens that self-injure hide their behavior from others, including parents, because they feel ashamed or believe that no one will understand the reason for their actions. This in turn makes them feel even lonelier, worthless, and trapped which creates a complicated cycle of unhealthy coping mechanisms and stressors that is likely to continue without professional help.


Teens who suffer from depression frequently present with symptoms of sadness and/or irritability beyond what is typical given their stage of development or presenting situation. With this, keep in mind that just because an adolescent is experiencing feelings of sadness or irritability as the result of a life event or stressor, this does not necessarily mean he/she is clinically depressed. However, if the symptoms become persistent, academic performance begins to decline, and social or family life is negatively impacted then it may be time to seek help from a licensed mental health professional before symptoms worsen.


Anxiety is the most common mental health concern for children and adults. Research has shown that teens afflicted with an untreated anxiety disorder are at a higher risk for poor school performance, do not engage in social experiences with peers, and are at an increased risk for substance abuse. They may find themselves consumed with symptoms to the point that they cope by avoiding places and activities. If you feel your teen may be suffering from anxiety to the point that his/her social, academic, emotional, and/or behavior functioning is being negatively impacted it is important to seek help from a licensed mental health professional.


About Dr. Skipper

Dr. Skipper is a Florida Licensed Clinical Psychologist who works extensively with children, adolescents, and families to provide therapy and psychoeducational assessment services.

She received her doctorate degree from the Florida School of Professional Psychology.  Dr. Skipper has worked with children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings which include mental health clinics, residential settings, drug treatment facilities, and schools.

Through the integration of a variety of empirically-based treatment approaches, Dr. Skipper assists her clients by providing new skills and empowering strategies to build distress tolerance, enhance awareness and communication, facilitate insight, and challenge maladaptive relationship and thinking patterns. She employs an active therapeutic stance to facilitate long-lasting, positive change. 

Dr. Skipper’s background also includes a B.A. in Elementary Education with 11 years of experience in primary education. 


Disclaimer: The above information is not intended to provide professional advice or diagnostic service. If you have any concerns about Adolescent Concerns or other health issues, please consult a qualified health care professional in your community.