My Advice for Adults Helping Teens Cope with the Storm and Stress of Adolescence

Dreaming of a hot summers day. Ah, the aspect of dreaming. The reality of summer will or already have hit every teenager in Ireland. We are sun-burned just from the notion of thinking about it! It makes our heart beat every time, making us feel like the adolescents that we are. The mouldy dark cloud that looms on us however, hang on us for one hundred and sixty days of the year. Stuck like glue, adults need to flick this cloud from over us so we can run free and be like hippies, “so we can like, enjoy ourselves dude!”

Most teenagers don’t wish to give up their time to do chores around the house. It takes long enough to complete the dishes to an adequate standard, just in time to watch your favourite television show, before mother says, “one last thing before you go”. How annoying and frustrating for teenagers like me that just want to have our own time to catch up on television, or socialise with friends. The sun shinning brightly, not a cloud in the sky, not even raining! The only negative is that you have mother running you up and down the stairs like a crazed person. “Do the dishes!”, “clean your room!” and “go to the shop and get a two litre bottle of milk, please.” Well at least she said please. Personally, I’m glad when my mother sends me out to the shop to get milk, because at least then I can say “hey there mister blue sky!” Hanging out with your friends and playing sports outside is important for adolescents, plus it’s healthy. Adults, you need to give us teenagers some “me time” and stop treating us like free labour!

The sick churning feeling you get before an exam. We’ve all felt it, whether adult or adolescent. Examinations can be tough to deal with. For some teenagers it can add a lot of stress to their daily lives. As an aspiring adult myself, I have often felt the butterfly moment before an exam, but I deal with it. So do others. For some though, it can get to the point where they purposely miss school to avoid the exam. Some do it for the “craic”, others because they are genuinely afraid. These “others” need to be recognised as people that need support so they can learn, progress and fear not what is only on paper. These exams remind me of fears so many children have, bed time. They are afraid of what lurks in the dark although they are told nothing is there, they still fear the unknown. You can relate such problems to the exams faced by teenagers. They too are afraid of what could happen, although at the end of the day, it’s only a piece of paper. Your health is always more important. Advice for adults, help teenagers prepare, adapt and learn to cope with these affairs, so they can have a healthy life, and healthy marks!

Studying can be a stressful time for adolescents. The pressure is usually immense and the burden of studying seven subjects is eye twitching. We all know how intellectual Cheryl Cole is. Right? Well, Cheryl has a good motto that goes along the lines of “too much of anything can make you sick, even the good can be a curse.” Teenagers are under the impression that they must study for hours on end to achieve fantastic marks. Well this is not the case. Sticking your heads in a book for five hours is not good for your body or health. To add insult to injury, you’ll wake up with a smashing headache and feeling like an air head! More needs to be played on the side of adults to help teenagers study more effectively as this stereotypical way of studying is actually beginning to harm adolescents physically and mentally.

Bullying is a common practice in all schools around Ireland and the rest of the world. “More than a quarter of Irish teenagers say they have suffered school bullying” according to statistics published by the “Irish Independent”. It is almost impossible to hand over advice to adults without mentioning the topic of bullying. In my own opinion, I bet that nearly every teenager has been involved in bullying whether as a victim or as the emotionally deprived “badass” who thinks they are indestructible. Not enough is being done by adults to help teenagers cope with bullying. Almost nothing is done by adults to combat bullying in the school environment. It’s something you see day-in and day-out in schools around the country. It’s all good and well sticking up posters saying, “stamp out bullying” or “lets bully bullying out of school” but what’s this achieving? Is this crime of picking on feeble teenagers being reduced? Well, the answer is no. A zero tolerance attitude needs to be taken by adults to get it in the thick, insecure minds of bullies that this type of behaviour is not welcome, nor shall it be tolerated in society. Teenagers that are being bullied and are resorting to unthinkable measures, to the degree of suicide because of severe depression.

Have you ever felt “down in the dumps?”, low-spirited and emotionally disconnected from the world? Even once? Well, according to “UNICEF Ireland”, close to “One in five young Irish people report being unhappy to some degree”. This must be upsetting to parents of Irish teenagers as they fear for their child’s happiness, but there is even more chilling evidence that says, Ireland’s youngsters are the most depressed in Europe. Anecdotal evidence from “CBT Ireland” says that “Aware” claims “four hundred-thousand people experience depression at any one time in Ireland, and “one in ten adolescents, aged thirteen to nineteen, experience a major depression”. This shocking statement really drives forward how teenagers are easily affected by certain events like, death, bullying and stress. Depression is slowly consuming more teenagers every week in Ireland, and if depression in teenagers are not detected by adults and treated quickly, more and more and even more teenagers are at risk of taking their own lives.

I’m sure everyone has checked themselves out in the mirror before, whether boy or girl, man or woman. Some enjoy their reflection a little too much while others grab a glance before leaving for school or work. Where’s the harm in that? There’s nothing better than standing at your own reflection salivating at the unquestionable beauty that is being portrayed back. If my audience didn’t get this already, well I was being sarcastic. Self-image is an issue teenagers are facing today. Teenagers are looking at the mirror as the eye of a little god. Shows such as “beauty and the geek” are putting tremendous pressure on the young to look and act a certain way. High street stores are sexualising children from as an early age of seven into wearing clothes you would normally only see at a gentlemen’s choice of place. A television show on “Channel 4” called “The Sex Education Show” stated that leading clothes stores such as “Penny’s” and “Matalan” are selling items unsuitable for young girls to be wearing. This is important as these chains are subconsciously setting the trend for the young generation, then in a couple of years time who knows what they will be wearing! This problem is all because of adults. The blame is on you lot! You are dressing your children in a way that in a few years time you’ll be roaring at them to change their clothes. The confidence of teenagers have waned in comparison to a decade ago, so adults, stop and think. Is this suitable for my child?! Later on during their adolescence stage, will I be roaring for something more suitable? The answer will most probably be yes. Help adolescents grow up confident and respectful of self image, as we both know, if people are not happy with their image, drastic measures may be taken to change their look.

You only go through adolescence once. Your one opportunity to do everything you want without judgement or perception. Adults, as the old saying goes, “let kids be kids”, except let us teens be teens. Your job is to make sure we make the right choices in life, not to spoil the craic we’re having. Adolescence is a great time in our lives although we have to cope with the storm and stress of adolescence. In the words of the great Shirley Bassey, “This is my life!”

(Luke Mac an Bháird)


The Importance Of Laws In Our Society

The importance of laws are paramount to the survival of our society as we know it. Without laws, the society in which we live in today would be far different as we struggle to remain in control of our future. The bullying few, would decimate our society into either of two forms, an anarchical society where people do as they please, or a society on the brink of extension due to the lack of civil order. What I will explain to you in this article will, I hope, make you see sense in the importance of our laws in the society we live in. To be against the importance of laws in our society would show one to be ignorant and naïve. I will without a doubt, prove that statement I have made to be correct.

Protection against violence is something that most of us take for granted. We have a strong legal system that is put in place to protect us from people intent on physically harming us. Physical violence can often lead to murder, rape, torture and other life-threatening situations. The safety of society is key to the continued success of a particular race. Laws are there to protect people, it won’t actually stop a person with no moral compass, but will in general stop an aggravated person from committing potential life-threatening violence as the consequences alone, deter them from carrying through what their mind wants them to. One cannot dispute this as protection laws have been successfully implemented in most continents around the world. The international homicide rate for Europe in the year 2004 was at five point four percent. In Africa however, where protection laws are either non-existent or not widely regarded, their international homicide rate was at twenty percent. There are many different tribes and traditions in the African continent which means that people in different areas will adhere to different laws. The problem with that is, the African continent is a lot less connected with each other in comparison to Europe and some laws will conflict another which would be disputed rather than resolved therefore not providing a strong legal system that protects its people. This statistic shows the importance of laws in our society as it helps to protect the us against people with immoral intentions.

What would you do if you walked into a supermarket in your local area and saw dozens of young children under the age of fourteen mopping floors and carrying heavy goods around the place? After the horrific scene fizzles in your mind, the spark will ignite in your head to get those children help. Here in our society of four and half million people, the Irish state is completely and utterly against the exploitation of our rights. That is why we have stringent laws in place, both nationally and internationally to protect our human rights. As a whole we respect those laws, although there are a small minority that disregard peoples human rights like for example in the Britain where four travellers were arrested for slavery offences. The importance of the law here shows that these people will be punished as a result of their actions. In other countries though where human rights laws are on paper only, not in practice, evidently show the importance of law as states like China disrespect human rights and subject children to child labour. A popular case regarding this issue was brought up in February of 2010. As reported by “The Daily Mail” and other international newspapers, it had been discovered that technology giant “Apple” had children working in buildings that supply “Apple” products. A report carried out by the “Associated Press” stated that “at least eleven under age children were working at factories, many of them in China, which produce Apple components in the last year”. Without mincing words here, China don’t follow laws when regarding child labour. It is a fact that has been proven time and time again. The Chinese government don’t even publish statistics on the extent of child labour within the country. Independent organisations must dig up the atrocities themselves. Their complete abandon of child protection laws are evident as “The International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated that of the 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen work in developing countries, sixty-one percent are in Asia”. It is internationally recognised, although cannot be proven because of Chinese secrecy, that most of the sixty-one percent of child labourers are in fact working in Chinese sweatshops. The fact of the matter is that nobody wants to be subjected to inhumane activities such as slavery. There was a time in Europe when international law was broken and peoples rights smashed. As a result of that, nearly one hundred million people died. Nobody wants another World War two, that’s why the importance of law in our society must be respected and adhered to.

Respecting human rights promotes the common good within people. People who respect law, understand its significance, and abide by it, generally have better and more fulfilled lives. Those who respect law can move freely around whereas those who break it are punished in most cases with their freedom being taken away. The Buddha made a speech in which he said that “set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy”. He shares the same idea that the common good often results in a better healthy lifestyle for people. Laws help to promote the common good by setting out a line of laws that prohibits persons from infringing on those that may cause harm or offence. No one would like to live in a society where people only have self interest at heart. That has been proven with the fall of our last government.

The laws of the land are there to protect not only us but our property too. It is upsetting for me when I hear about frail elderly women and men being robbed at gun point and families being kept hostage in their own house while criminals, thief’s, degenerates steal the things that they worked hard to get. The law is there to keep peoples conscious at a level where they understand the repercussions of their actions. That is why here in Ireland, where the law of the land is generally respected and followed, it is expected that with the advancement in technology and the rising of prices that there will be a rise in petty crime and robberies. But here in the Emerald Isle, crime was at a relatively low seventy six thousand, eight hundred and forty only last year as stated by the “Central Statistics Office of Ireland”. To put that into perspective for you, the level of criminality in neighbouring Scotland was estimated to be at one hundred and four thousand. I think it’s fair to say that our justice system is doing pretty well. The peoples revolution in Libya had brought international attention. As believers of democracy, we waved them on in their pursuit of a democratic state. Well, as expected the western media is going to be pro-rebels which I completely understand, but the level of criminality that has occurred during their pursuit of democracy has been appalling. Houses of innocent people have been raided, people have been robbed on the streets, others shot dead and then stolen from. This is a prime example of lawlessness which strengthens my argument about the importance of law in our society.

Laws in society lead to the progression of society. Laws allow for the comfort of education to be taught. It enables technology to grow through the distribution of patents and regulations. Without laws protecting these vital services and advancements, peoples right to learn would not exist leading to “social default” within society. The health service operates under strict laws which helps both the patient and nurse. It provides the nurses and doctors with safe knowledge over the use of certain medical equipment. Lawless states would not have these rules and regulations therefore putting society at risk because doctors, nurses, teachers and many more professionals would be giving out their own “dosages” which they felt would be appropriate which is why laws are important to have in society.

Having laws within our community keeps society ordered. The wide range of laws keep people from dumping wastes that could be deathly like toxic waste into our water systems. If no law prevented this, many people would die as a result of toxic water. Laws help to prevent the spread of disease as informed people would not risk putting themselves or others into trouble. In America alone, the “National Centre for Health Statistics” reported that in the “1990’s, degenerative diseases accounted for more than 60 percent of all deaths”. The lack of laws that were in place to help these people, many died without the support of the government. The implementation of laws in accordance with other states prevents total and utter destruction of our society. The so called “Mad Dogs” of our society are prevented by law from committing atrocities like firing a nuclear missile. These set of laws help to keep our society ordered which is important for our world.

The importance of laws in our society are absolutely key to the safety of our lives. They are there to protect our rights as human beings, to promote the goodness within ourselves. To deter criminality with the punishment of imprisonment or worse. Laws are important to the progression of society where education and technology are protected so that they can flourish. The laws within our community help to keep our society ordered without turning us into Stepford wives. It is unfortunate that we take laws in our society for granted whether or not we intend to break them. It is important that I stress that laws don’t limit us, but empowers us to lead a life of justification. As I said earlier, to be against the importance of laws in our society would show one to be ignorant and naïve. Through my comprehensive answer, I have proved that statement correct. More importantly however, I hope that I have convinced you, that laws within society are paramount to the survival of our race.

(Luke Mac an Bháird)