Extreme and deviant behaviors in teenagers

When children enter their teenage years, they go through many physical, mental, and social changes which affect their personality in different ways. Mowadat Hussain Rana, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences says that they can express strong feelings and intense emotions at different times. At times they may behave decently while other times they may be rude or get into conflict with parents. Extreme and deviant behaviors in teenagers is also common.sni

They can indulge in risk taking behaviors like rash driving, smoking, drug abuse, law breaking, violating domestic rules, getting into fights with family members or fellows, says the Professor.sni

Causes of These Behaviors

A pertinent question here would be that why do children of this specific age group fall prey to extreme or deviant behaviors? Experts believe there are many reasons to it. Family environment comes first. When a child sees extreme behavior at home between his parents, sisters and brothers or other relatives, he keeps absorbing them silently.sni

Environment

Besides this, streets, school and playground environment can also affect them. Unfortunately, most homes in our society have people with extreme nature. Moreover, people on streets, markets and roads also exhibit such tendency. They drive in a rushed manner and have less tolerance.sni

Observing Models

According to Dr Mumtaz Fatima Jafari, a psychotherapist from Islamabad, a child learns by observation and then tries to act the learned behavior. Individuals that are observed are called models. In society, children are surrounded by many influential models, such as parents, characters on children’s TV, friends within their peer group and teachers at school. These models provide examples of behavior to observe and imitate, for example masculine and feminine, pro and anti-social etcetera.sni

Targetting Weaker Ones

Misbehavior with women at home is another thing considered normal in our society. If a mother is beaten or abused at home or treated like a commodity, she stores resentment in herself. Then she tries to find a weak object for releasing her anger and depression. And in many cases children become the victims. When children suffer from these things they also retaliate.They express their anger on weaker objects like pets or younger siblings.sni

Mental, Sexual or Physical Abuse

Children who suffer rejection, humiliation, physical, mental or sexual abuse enter adolescence with a depressed and negative personality. Since they have been suffering from a sense of weakness they want to be powerful so nobody can harm them. And they start spending their time with people or groups who make them feel secure and protectedt. These people or groups usually give them a sense of strength and help them during any problem.sni

How To Deal With It

Parents can play a great role in bringing up their children in a positive way. They need to be vigilant in picking up signs in their child that may go on to become problematic for them and their child. If you notice your child not behaving normally, then listen to him carefully and try to understand the problem. If a child expresses extreme behavior, do not isolate him. Many parents get angry and stop talking to the child or threaten him. This is the worst way to bring the child back to normal.sni

Take Help From Child’s Friends

Parents should come close to him. His friends and age fellows should also be asked for help. It is the nature of a child that he listens to his age fellows more than his parents, so his friends’ help for the purpose is important. If the situation is out of control then parents should seek professional help. But rehabilitation centers will not be of much help as there are other issues associated to them.sni

Teacher’s Role

As far as the role of teachers is concerned, they should keep an eye on such children who demonstrate violent behavior at school. If a child is bullying his fellows, they should take it seriously and inform the parents.sni

Co-curricular activities can also help teenagers utilize their energy in a positive way. Sexual and anger instincts can be expressed through games and physical activities. When a society does not have avenues for these impulses then they are suppressed. And later on these suppressed instincts result in extremism and criminality.sni

Become Good Role Models

Unfortunately we just tell our children to be honest and kind to others. But we do not demonstrate these behaviors for them to follow. Our society lacks good role models. Our role models usually are film stars who are shown fighting and murdering people. Such models and their actions penetrate in a child’s psyche and he tries to act like them.sni

Dr Mumtaz emphasizes that we should introduce our children with peaceful and loving models and should ask them to adopt their way. Nevertheless, parents are the biggest role model for them. If they are extreme either in their views or actions, there is a chance that the child will adopt them.sni

Parents and the society need to realize that treating their children in a positive and sensible manner can go a long way in building a better society. Moreover, media should not glamorize violence, the government should maintain law and order in the country, and take stern action against the monger of hate, intolerance and violence. We should behave decently at our homes, streets, and markets so that our children can follow our footsteps.sni

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