Adolescence, although a time for exploration and the excitement of freedom and gaining maturity is also a time of struggle when teens work endlessly to identify self and come to terms with forthcoming adulthood and separation from family (Berger, 2008). Generally, adolescence is a time during which teens experience less confidence which can leave room for low self-esteem, depression, and other emotional conditions. It is also a time when adolescent individuals are prone to choices that may not benefit them and may add to the cycle of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and more seemingly insurmountable challenges. According to many, the sobering effects of self-awareness can cause clinical depression.
Successful prevention includes ongoing parental guidance and influence, and positive peer support and close relationships which help adolescents identify self and deal with cliques and other social challenges. Peers additionally help adolescents with self-esteem issues and easing maturity. Relationships with peers are crucial during this time, but parental guidance and ongoing communication and maintaining positive relationships with peers of both sexes and adults is crucial as social support provides comfort and reassurance. Berger's (2008) example of therapeutic foster care that provides intensive care giving to young troubled adolescents provides close monitoring by a foster parent who mentors the individual and builds a relationship with the child and other adults in the child's life. Through this relationship, delinquency is lessened.
Berger (2008) mentions massive ad campaigns in Florida and California for which teens helped to design the publicity. These campaigns cut adolescent smoking in half. Programs like these need to be carefully designed to avoid generational forgetting. In any program, designing a social network on which the individual can rely for support is ultimately necessary.
Berger, K. S. (2008). The developing person through the life span (7th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.