Thursday, June 24, 2010

When adolescents feel inferior

By Dr James Dobson

Imagine being depressed and miserable over the shape of your nose, or the texture of your skin or the colour of your hair.

Dissatisfaction with one's body is an experience that most adolescents live with every day. If you were to ask a hundred teenagers what they're most unhappy about, 80 per cent of them would describe some minor physical imperfection with which they're stuck.

They're either too tall or too short. Or they feel fat or too thin. Or that they hate the freckles on their nose. And most teenagers have heard about these perceived flaws from their peers – who often judge human worth strictly on the basis of physical attractiveness. At least a portion of the anger and frustration usually associated with adolescence can be traced to this vicious system of values that runs amok during the adolescent years.

In my book Preparing for Adolescence, I recommend that parents begin to teach a different system of values in the period immediately prior to adolescence. Make sure your kids understand that everyone feels inadequate between 13 and 18 years of age. And that the journey through this stressful time is simply a part of growing up. You can help diffuse the adolescent time-bomb if you take a few hours to brace kids against its blast. To not tell a 12-year-old what's coming is like sending him on a roller-coaster ride without knowing what's going to occur on the journey downward.

From TODAY, Voices - Tuesday, 08-June-2010

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