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  • Tarshi Mack

Teens’ Social Struggles – How They Affect Their Adulthood

Updated: May 27


Lack of human touch in today’s socially distanced world has wreaked havoc on all of us. On the other hand, adults and older people in isolation have many responsibilities to shoulder. Teens, on the other hand, are having a lot of trouble building meaningful connections. Interaction over social media is still a viable option. However, it does not make up for face-to-face communications and human touch.

According to a study published in the journal of Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection, social distancing has had a unique effect on teen and adult behavior and cognition. The study revealed that peer interaction is a vital aspect of adolescent life, and without it, one’s mental health and self-concept construction get affected.

Parents and Social Changes

Family relationships are of utmost importance when teens are transitioning into adulthood. A key change they go through is the negotiation period where they strive for independence and autonomy. This is where parental monitoring comes in. Due to the pandemic, parents are more closely supervising their children to make sure that there are no signs of depression. Rules are set in place to create a routine that closely resembles what teens had during their school-going time.

In this situation, manipulation is not the key to giving them what they want and neither is ignoring them. You need to strike a balance between giving them space and getting involved with what they are doing.

Troubles Teens Face When They Reach Adulthood

According to a study conducted at the University of Virginia by Professor of Psychology Joseph P. Allen, teens struggle to build a connection with their peers while making sure that they are not swept up by negative influences. During this age, they want to build strong relations and assert their independence, and at the same time not deal with deviant peer pressure.

The study continued for 10 years, starting at the age of 13 and ending at the age of 23. The information about the teens was gathered from various sources, including the teen themselves, peers, and parents. Specific aspects of their life were monitored, such as their social life and romantic interactions with their partners.

The results revealed that teens who had difficulty connecting with their peers in adolescence faced the same problems in adulthood. Next, teens who didn’t resist peer pressure and gave into minor deviances, such as vandalism and shoplifting, were at high risk of substance and alcohol use.

On the other hand, teens with desirable companions with empathy could control their impulses and see things differently. They had humor and built more positive relationships in adulthood. With a little bit of autonomy from their peers, teens could keep themselves away from negative influences and excel in their future.

The study concluded that in adolescence, social competence is not straightforward. It involves conflicting goals and negotiating challenges between autonomy and peer acceptance. Parents need to teach their children how to stand up for themselves at a young age. Only then will they grow up to be a healthy and mentally stable adult.