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In fact, most adults agree about the kinds of things that are important for adults to do with young people—encourage success in school, set boundaries, teach shared values, teach respect for cultural differences, guide decision making, give financial guidance, and so on (Scales, Benson, & Roehlkepartain, 2001).
However, fewer actually act on these beliefs to give young people the kind of support they need.
Much has been written, both in the lay press and the scientific literature, about adolescents’ mental health problems—such as depression, suicide, and drug abuse—and about the serious problems that some adolescents experience.
The purpose of , however, is not to describe these problems or the therapeutic strategies to address them, but to address them in the context of adolescent development, with a focus on preventing these problems and enhancing positive outcomes even under adverse circumstances.
The truth is that adolescents, despite occasional or numerous protests, need adults and want them to be part of their lives, recognizing that they can nurture, teach, guide, and protect them on the journey to adulthood.
The physical changes that herald adolescence—the development of breasts and first menstrual periods for girls, the deepened voices and broadened shoulders for boys—are the most visible and striking markers of this stage.
It takes time to listen and relate to an adolescent. This report also indicates that adolescents whose parents are more involved in their lives (as measured by the frequency of eating meals together regularly, a simple measure of parental involvement) have significantly lower rates of “problem behaviors” such as smoking, alcohol or marijuana use, lying to parents, fighting, initiation of sexual activity, and suicidal thoughts and attempts (U. Adolescents will not simply “open up” to adults on demand.
Effective communication requires that an emotional bond form, however briefly, between the professional and the adolescent.
Efforts are made to move to a new way of understanding and working with adolescents in the context of larger systems (Lerner & Galambos, 1998); although working with adolescents and families is critical, systemic change is sometimes needed to safeguard adolescent health.
Also at the heart of is the theme that today’s adolescent needs one thing that adults seem to have the least surplus of—time. Council of Economic Advisers, teens rated “not having enough time together” with their parents as one of their top problems. A crosscutting theme, regardless of one’s professional role, is the need to communicate effectively with youth.