Mental Health (13-21)
Psychological, philosophical and sexual issues emerge as you move into young adulthood. What do I want to be? Why are my parents such losers? Am I old enough for sex? What’s it like? Am I into guys or girls? Why do I prefer Internet sex to hanging out with people? The list is endless.
Adolescence is a time for discovery. That may include testing limits and risk-taking behaviour. Some girls do this too, but clearly a much higher proportion of males discover drugs, fast cars, bullying (either as the bully or the bullied), extreme sports, Internet addiction, steroid abuse, criminal activity, and more. Depression, anxiety, social isolation and peer pressure are also common in teens.
Do you find school is a major issue? That's because most schools are geared to a feminine style of learning (sugar, spice and everything nice). Recent work in education indicates that young boys in particular tend to learn best while standing around with friends, shuffling their feet, and making noises. Boys drop out or flunk out of high school at about three times the rate of girls. Poor school performance, or academic insecurity is a major issue for all but the smartest, most well-adapted youth.
Sex, of course, is perhaps the most major issue of all. It usually is throughout life. At this age and stage it may include experimentation, gender identity issues, as well as sexual, physical, and psychological abuse.
Some things you can do for your own sanity and self-respect:
- Try to be yourself. Recognize your talents, likes and dislikes. Do you really like movies or would you rather be out camping?
- Learn new things and meet new crowds. It will help you decide where you might want to be when you grow up. Do I want to set the world on fire or am I happy just to have a good time? Am I into guys or girls? What kind of husband do I want to be? What kind of father do I want to be? And thousands of other questions, often with no sure answers.
Be sexually responsible:
- Be safe. There are a lot of nasty critters, like HIV and herpes.
- Respect your partner.
- If a condom breaks, be sure to tell her (perhaps the lights were off). The morning after pill (MAP) is an option that she might want to consider, but she can’t unless you speak up. If you get caught up in the moment and forget to use condoms, it’s the same deal. Discuss the MAP with her, but remember, it’s the woman’s right to decide about her own body, just as it is your right to decide about yours.
- If you tend to be troubled, anxious, angry, violent—even mildly troubled—consider getting a therapist through your school, your family or friends. If you find yourself starting to get worse, seek help fast or go to the emergency immediately.