Youth Counselling In Singapore For Issues Faced By Teens
It is not uncommon to hear students grumbling about stress from school or other issues in their lives, no matter what level of education they are at. Before we jump to the conclusion that our youth are a “strawberry generation” and are unable to withstand pressure, let’s explore some reasons why students in Singapore are faced with so much stress and anxiety.
Some of the common issues that youths may face include:
The fear of failing is real. Many students have it ingrained in them that in order to get ahead in life, failing in school is not an option. They believe that academic failures have serious consequences, such as not being able to achieve the expectations set out by society and parents.
Generally, students suffer from a variety of fears. These could be fear of:
- not doing well academically, or as well as their peers
- not getting into JC/Poly or doing a course of their choice
- being left behind
- not making it in life (such as missing out on a promising career)
- being compared negatively and not gaining their parents’ approval
Fear of failing in life
It is difficult to accept failure because our culture has always celebrated success and condemned failure. From the time we enter primary school, a lot of emphasis is placed on achieving academic excellence. As a competitive society, we are obsessed with the idea of perfection, and anything short of that seems “unacceptable”.
The fear of the future being uncertain may even result in an individual creating negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Excessive worrying can cause anxiety, which may manifest itself physically, affecting day-to-day life. Common issues faced by youths who constantly worry are sleep disruptions or having difficulty falling sleeping. Without proper rest, life then becomes increasingly stressful.
Relationship problems and handling tough breakups
Most youths experience infatuation in their first relationships, which can sometimes be a more consuming emotion than love. Thus, it can be challenging for youths to cope with breakups, as they have invested so much into their relationship and might not have other things to grasp. When a teen is romantically involved with someone, they are being overwhelmed by endorphins and feelings that they are experiencing for the first time. It can feel devastating when a breakup occurs and could even result in mental health issues such as depression.
When infatuation is coupled with inadequate sex education, teenage pregnancy may arise. In general, teenage mothers tend to have higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation. The reactions of their loved ones to the pregnancy can result in feelings of guilt, shame, and loneliness. This is especially so if their family’s reactions are negative such as feelings of anger, disappointment or even abandonment. The stigmatisation in society could also lead to their peers ostracising them. The lack of support from those around them, such as their family and closest friend, could result in feelings of hopelessness. Teenage mothers may also experience post-traumatic stress disorder after birth.
Self-harm occurs when individuals intentionally hurt themselves in order to cope with painful or intense emotions. It is generally an indication that an individual is in emotional distress. Some of the reasons why people self-harm includes:
- Wanting to “feel something” because they tend to feel emptiness or emotional numbness
- Wanting to express feelings of hopelessness or seek help
- Attempting to control or stop negative feelings
- Feeling like they should hurt themselves due to feelings of guilt or shame
Some of the triggers that could result in youths engaging in self-harm may include feeling rejected by their peers or adults, issues with family and more.
Engaging in risky behaviours such as drugs and excessive alcohol
Teenage years are fraught with uncertainties, poor self-esteem, and the dread of rejection. Many youths will begin to engage in risky activities such as drugs or alcohol in order to feel “cool” and fit in with a social group. Others may turn to drugs or alcohol because they are looking for a thrill. Often, they may be battling something mentally or emotionally, such as depression or anxiety and feel the need to replace their negative feelings with substance-induced pleasure.
Low self-esteem and eating disorders
There are several factors that could contribute to youths developing low self-esteem. For instance, bullying, peer pressure or being a part of a social group that brings others down may be damaging to an individual’s confidence.
Body image is another major factor that can contribute significantly to youths’ self-esteem. The portrayal of female bodies being objectified in the media may lead to feelings of inadequacy and disempowerment. Moreover, the unhealthy comparison of their own bodies to photographs of perfectly posed celebrities on social media, coupled with negative comments made by peers or family, can result in youths practising unhealthy behaviours such as fasting and self-induced vomiting in an effort to lose weight. This could lead to the development of body dysmorphic disorder and result in severe eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and more.
Abuse (sexual, physical or emotional)
Whether sexual, physical, emotional, or a combination of all of the above, abuse can leave victims feeling ashamed and guilty. In some cases, a teenager may believe that they did something to warrant the abuse. Other times, they may feel unworthy of respect, care, and affection. Abuse can lead to severe anxiety, depression, and trauma in youths. When left untreated, these issues could interfere with their daily lives, making it challenging for them to function healthily.
Issues with parents and family
Each time a youth experiences family turmoil or emotional distress, it takes a toll on their mental well-being. Parenting styles play a huge part in the development of anxiety-related disorders in youths. For instance, overbearing and authoritative parents can dampen a child’s self-esteem. On the other hand, uninvolved or negligent parents who spend little time raising their children or parents dealing with mental health conditions, substance abuse and other difficulties may be unable to provide their children with the guidance, attention and love they require. This can result in youths feeling abandoned, isolated, and depressed. Traumatic experiences such as witnessing violence at home or having parents go through a divorce can also have adverse effects on youths.
It is no secret that youths have raging hormones that may contribute to them having trouble controlling their anger. However, it is important to note that there is more to anger than anger itself.
Anger is an emotion that is easy to see, but it is often just the tip of the ice berg, and many other issues and emotions may be hidden beneath the surface. Some of these underlying emotions can include shame, fear, hurt, feeling like they are not accepted or loved, humiliation and more. Anger can be caused by unresolved past traumas, being bullied or falsely accused, being compared to other by their parents, neglect and more.
There are serious repercussions for being angry as a teen, regardless matter how kind or loving adults react. The teenager feels alienated and withdraws from his parents or other caretakers when they are angry. Even if it is self-inflicted, the anger may make them feel abandoned and lost, which could manifest into serious issues if not resolved. Thus, it is crucial to seek teenage counselling or anger management therapy in Singapore.
Psychotherapy intervention for issues that youths face
To help teens overcome the problems that they face, youth counselling can be beneficial. At Emotional Wellness Counselling, we offer youth counselling services in Singapore to help teens navigate and overcome these issues.
Our counselling for youth begins with helping them identify the fears in their lives by gaining insight into the individual’s struggles. This could be in the form of exploring the comments they have received from significant people in their lives, such as their parents, teachers, tuition teachers, and peers, or delving deep into analysing the individual’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours. These negative beliefs and past hurts may be difficult to erase as they have been ingrained in the subconscious mind. Specialised therapeutic techniques during our youth counselling sessions such as EMDR, Schema and Inner Child dialogue can help resolve them.
With Emotional Wellness’ youth counselling services, you will learn to enjoy the journey of being a teen and not let these negative issues overtake your life. You will learn to drop your past shame, guilt, regret, future anticipation, fears, doubts and inadequacies. Our Singapore certified counsellor and psychotherapist is experienced in counselling for youths and has over 15 years of experience under her belt.
Let your life be full of radiance, joy, confidence, freedom and boundless expressions of your creativity, inner beauty and strength with our youth counselling services in Singapore.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, video, and other material in this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.