Category: Help & Hope for YOUth Series

Alcohol Abuse

Do you know?
Adolescent alcohol use and abuse has become a devastating epidemic.

According to the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019, among adolescents and young adults (aged 10–24 years), alcohol-attributable burden is second highest among all risk factors contributing to disability-adjusted life years in this age group.

Alcohol consumption in adolescents results in a range of adverse outcomes across several domains and includes road traffic accidents and other non-intentional injuries, violence, mental health problems, intentional self-harm and suicide, and other infectious diseases, poor school performance and drop-out, and poor employment opportunities.

Though it all begins, of course, with experimentation. A preteen or teen discovers a bottle of wine in the refrigerator or is induced to sample beer at friend’s house. Many young people, after such experimentation, find their curiosity satisfied and thereafter abstain from alcohol. Others, However, continue to drink, sharing a six-pack of beer in a friend’s car or sneaking a few swigs from the bottle of champagne in the refrigerator. Some of those become problem drinkers, occasionally drinking to get drunk, perhaps even driving while intoxicated. Still others succumb to alcoholism.

Complex problems rarely have simple causes, and alcoholism is a complex problem. Mental health and health care professionals differ as to the primary causes of alcoholism, but the following are generally acknowledged as factors; physiology, background (parental models, parental attitudes and cultural expectations) and outside influences (dysfunctional family environment, peer pressure and stress from social problems)

Many people assume they know the effects of alcoholism: drunkenness and debauchery. Such an assumption, however, is not only incomplete, but also incorrect. A drunken young person is not always an alcoholic, and some alcoholics are seldom visibly drunk. There are, however, some effects of alcoholism that can be generally applied as anguish, confusion and disorientation, loss of control, depression, low self-esteem, arrested maturity, guilt, shame, remorse, alienation and isolation and despair.

A young person who is struggling with alcoholism is in acute and urgent need of help. Even if the youth has not progressed far into alcoholism, even if he or she does not perceive his or her own need of help, a parent, caring adult or the youth leader must wisely and diligently seek to bring help and healing. The following suggestions in this article will assist you.

Parental Divorce

While India has one of the lowest divorce rates globally, estimated to be around 1.1%, its exponential growth in past two decades (number of divorces doubled over the past two decades) is disturbing especially when one considers the effects of divorce upon youth.

While some mental health professionals believe that a divorce (and the naturally associated separation of a child’s daily life from one parent) is more traumatic at some ages than at others, there is certainly no good time for a young person to endure the divorce of his or her parents.

Youth may respond in multiple and varied ways to the news of their parents’ divorce, including denial, shame or embarrassment, blame or guilt, anger, fear, relief, insecurity and low self-esteem, grief, depression, alienation and loneliness, and other effects (like academic problems, behavioral problems, sexual activity, substance abuse, or suicide threats and attempts).

As parent, teacher, youth leader or caring adult, you can help an adolescent or preadolescent cope with the tragedy of divorce by implementing the following plan discussed in this article.

Sibling Rivalry

A Guide to Help Youth with Sibling Rivalry For years, Sabiha and her older brother Kamal were best friends. They played football and cricket together. They went bicycling with each other. They were much closer to each other than either was to their older sister. That all changed, however around the time Sabiha turned fourteen. […]

Runaway Youths

Do You Know?
There is a pattern to running behavior among teens.

At least half of all youth who run away from home, stay within the town or vicinity in which they live, many going to a friend’s or relative’s house. Most runaway episodes seem to be poorly planned, reflecting impulsive behavior, and most runaways return within a week. Generally, the length of time gone from home increases with age. However, the more they run the further they go, and the longer they stay.

It’s not always possible to predict or anticipate running behavior in teens. The wise parent or concerned adult must be alert to the possible causes of running behavior (abuse, alienation, rebellion, a perceived lack of control, and fear) and seek to address conditions that may contribute to such behavior before the situation reaches a crisis point.

In addition, because most teens run to a friend or relative first, it is sometimes possible to prevent further running behavior by addressing the reasons for such behavior as soon as its shown to be true.

Some of the following suggestions given in this article may help a caring parent, leader, teacher, or youth worker to reach out to a teen who has shown or is showing signs of running behavior.


To some parents, teachers and youth workers, the phrase “teen rebellion” may seem redundant. At times it does seem that adolescence is synonymous with rebellion.

Teenage rebellion occurs for many and varied reasons. In some cases, it is simply an awkward expression of an adolescent’s stumbling progress toward adulthood. However, in many cases adolescent rebellion also stems from a number of roots, among which may be a poor relationship with parents, an effort to communicate, a need for control, a lack of boundaries and expectations, an expression of anger and aggression, and the absence of an honest and vulnerable model.

As has been said, all adolescents are likely to rebel in one way or another. Rebellious thoughts and behavior are not only common, but they are also natural. Such rebellious tendencies can even be beneficial in helping teens to grow toward independence and their parents to adjust their expectations and practices. However, prolonged rebellion can be both dangerous and harmful to both parent and child.

Counseling rebellious and delinquent youth is a very difficult, slow and often frustrating task. Success might be marginal at best. Though attempting to help and guide a rebellious youth is indeed a challenge, the sensitive and discerning adult may be able to offer help in the following ways discussed in this article.

Single Parent

Is your teens and preteens experience bouts of extreme loneliness…feeling friendless, helpless and alone?

Single parents- and their children- face monumental challenges and obstacles, some that are confronted immediately and other that develop over a longer period of time. Among these are: financial struggle as well as the child’s academic problems, behavioral problems, to name few.

Whatever the circumstances leading to the establishment of a single-parent home- whether it’s the death of a parent, divorce, something else- some of the effects that are likely to be felt by a young person include shame or embarrassment, guilt, rejection, anger, insecurity and low self-esteem, and withdrawal.

The circumstances that led to divorce, the divorce process itself, and the conditions that commonly follow a divorce often constitute three “strikes” against an adolescent or pre-adolescent’s sense of self-worth and emotionally a sense of rejection persist.

The sensitive teacher, youth leader, or parent can help an adolescent or preadolescent adjust to and cope with single-parent situation by implementing a plan discussed in this article.

Inattentive Parents

Is the teen in your life starved for attention. affection and a sense of parents’ interest?

Middle-class and Upper-class families often suffer from “locomotive lifestyle” in which parents resemble a speeding locomotive, racing the clock while frantically striving to meet the demands of their career, social and personal life- while their kids end up feeling like the scenery that gets passed by blurred and barely noticed at all.

In today’s fast-paced world, both parents sometimes feel pressure to work full-time jobs, and some youths are left to fend for themselves after school, sometimes well into evening. Such times can leave a young person feeling lonely, afraid, and can also give opportunity for unwise and unhealthy pursuits.

A young person whose parents seem unconcerned or inattentive is likely to experience hurt, frustration, anger (sometimes resulting in bitterness and rage), as well as feelings of insecurity and loneliness. Reactions such as these may prompt many and various effects like low self-esteem, poor scholastic achievement, poor peer selection, poor social skills, inability to bond with others, rebellious behavior, drug and alcohol problems.

A teen who is hurting because of parental indifference or inattentiveness is likely to be in desperate need of an adult who will show interest and offer support; such care and concern will never replace the attention the youth desires from Mom and Dad, but it can certainly help, particularly if the adult responds to the youth in the following ways enumerated in this article.


A Guide to help Youth with Rejection Mrs. Tiwari cried softly; her daughter’s dairy lay open in her lap. She hadn’t intended to read it, but the dairy seemed to beckon her as it lay unlocked on Preeti’s desk. She recalled how different Preeti seemed recently, and she hoped the dairy would offer some clues […]

Peer Pressure

Few things strike more fear in the hearts of parents and teens alike, than the possibility of peer pressure.

Teens face severe pressure to act in certain ways, to talk in certain ways, to dress in certain ways, to join certain groups, and to try certain things, and any deviation from what is considered the “normal” or popular thing to do can result in ridicule and rejection.

Srijeet, a sixteen-year-old of junior college put it this way; “My friends want to do things that I know are not right, and it’s hard not to go along. I guess this means my friends aren’t good for me, but knowing that doesn’t make it easier. No one likes to be the odd-man-out.”

Jagruti, a vivacious fourteen-year-old chimed in, “I know it’s stupid, but I end up doing things I’d never do by myself. I get caught up in the excitement and just don’t think.”

And fourteen-year-old Jisha says, peer pressure caused her to do “things I’d never do by myself.”

For peer pressure promises acceptance and approval to young people, but it is an empty promise.

Learn more about Peer Pressure, its causes, effects and suggestions you can offer to your teen on how to counter peer pressure.