The Truth About Teens and Their Unhealthy Tendencies

a group of teens

Teenagers are tricky to deal with. No matter how much you guide them, they’d still abandon the healthy habits they developed during their childhood. They’d start staying up late, snacking on junk food at midnight, or worse, trying out vices. It seems that all the healthy routines you’ve taught them in the past have become entirely useless.

Of course, not all teens are negligent of their health. Depending on how they are raised, some will stick to their healthy habits, because it’s all they know. But in most cases, health-consciousness is the last thing you’d expect from a teen. They’re more focused on enjoying their youth.

But while it’s great to let your teens discover who they are and who their true friends are, we can’t let them go astray, especially if it will cost them their good health. Unhealthy habits don’t just destroy a teen’s future; it ruins their bodies, too.

Why are Teens Tempted By Vices?

One of a parent’s worst nightmares is their teen getting into drugs. Even if you, their school, and the media show them the harmful effects of drugs, there’ll always be a teen who wouldn’t listen. They are so curious that they’d only believe the facts once they’ve experienced it for themselves.

A teen trying out drugs, cigarettes, or liquor isn’t a bad person — keep that in mind first and foremost. Before judging them, try to get inside their head; consider that you were once a teen, who also had impulsive tendencies. And you probably experienced peer pressure, too.

Peer pressure is the top reason teens get into vices. When their friends get into certain habits, they feel encouraged to join in the fun. They think that copying their friends’ actions makes them truly included in the group. In some cases, even if they’re not initially interested, their friends will persuade them. And saying “no” is never easy, even for mature adults.

Some teens also turn to vices when they’re bored or stressed. If you’re often absent in their lives, consider if that might be the reason your teen started adopting self-destructive habits. The emotional high they get from alcohol, smoking, or drugs might be your teen’s only “escape.” So be more active in their lives, even if you’re busy. Your teen wants your attention more than you realize.

Teens and Their Unhealthy Eating Behaviors

Many teens eat a lot that it takes several helpings of a meal for them to be full. But this shouldn’t be a major concern. As children begin puberty, they naturally feel hungrier, urging them to eat more. That’s because their bodies are undergoing a major growth spurt. They need lots of energy to support that growth, and food is the perfect source of energy.

It’s also normal for them to change their eating habits. They’d consume fewer fruits and vegetables, and favor fatty and sugary foods more. That change, however, isn’t caused by internal factors, but rather by their environment. Again, peer pressure plays a role in this. If they often hang out with their friends at fast-food restaurants, they’d develop a fondness for unhealthy food.

teen eating popsicle

Encouraging Teens to be Healthier

People tend to become more sedentary in adulthood, owing it to their hectic work schedules. But physical activity is essential for health, no matter your age. Start your teen’s fitness journey as early as you can. By the time they’re already independent, they’d be used to their fitness routines and continue them of their own accord.

Kids aged 12 to 14 can start with body-weight exercises such as squats and push-ups. But they shouldn’t try lifting heavy weights yet. They’re most susceptible to injuries during these ages because of their growth spurt. So, ensure that their exercises aren’t straining their joints in any way.

For teens 15 years old and above, it’s fine to lift weights, but not without supervision. They can also try endurance sports such as a marathon or triathlon.

As for their diet and lifestyle routines, consult a health coach on what’s best for your teen. The definition of a health coach varies depending on how they earned their credentials, though, so be careful in choosing one. Some people call them personal trainers, nutritionists, or life coaches. Assess your teen’s needs first before matching them with a health coach.

Generally speaking, a health coach helps a person draw out the good habits and strengths they already have. In other words, they bring out the best in you. They won’t force you to change, only encourage you. And for a teen, encouragement is crucial. Force them, and you’d deal with their rebellion!

More importantly, though, try not to worry too much about the behavioral changes in your teen. As long as they’re not being self-destructive, they’re doing just fine. Teens just normally detach from adults and their child-like ways. All you have to do is be active in their lives, and not question every little thing they do. The safer your teen feels with you, the more encouraged they’d be to stay healthy.

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