For Youth, by Youth
Despite all having been teenagers ourselves once upon a time, we as parents often struggle to connect with our children when they enter adolescence. Will Smith, as the Fresh Prince, put it simply: “Parents just don’t understand.” Even if parents remember how they felt when they were young, it can be difficult to recognize unique challenges a new generation faces.
Child health experts noted this in a C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll by the University of Michigan. Survey responses showed that, “1 in 7 parents reported their teen ha[d] withdrawn from family since the start of the pandemic.” Many anxious parents have been working to find tools to support their youth through the pandemic and beyond. However, sometimes the best support for a teen is not an adult, but rather fellow teens who can truly empathize with their peers. Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark, M.P.H. explains, “Some teens may worry that their parents will overreact or not understand what they’re going through. Teachers and school counselors may also have limited time to talk with students in the middle of other responsibilities.” Most parents seem to realize their own limitations with teenagers. In fact, over 70% of parents surveyed agreed that peer support is vital to teens in offering both a better understanding of the situation than adults may have, as well as increasing the likelihood that youth will open up about their current situations.
Noting this important piece of teen development, programs that support peer-to-peer interactions for a variety of communities abound in Clark County. Here are just a few of these fantastic local organizations.
Read the rest of this article in the full digital issue below.