Everyone has ups and downs in life and these can be even harder to cope with when you are a teenager. This is natural though as you are going through many changes in your body, your emotions and how you are thinking about life in general. It is also an exciting time. You probably have more freedom and have more involvement in decisions about your life than you did when you were younger. You are moving towards adulthood, when you will be making more important decisions independently. In the meantime you will have many questions about yourself and the world around you as you grow and develop.
You may be going through some difficult issues or you may just find that sometimes, everyday life can be a bit tricky. Hopefully this website will give you some of the information that you might be looking for. If you need more information, check out the Finding Help section, with names and contact details of useful organisations, websites and helplines for young people.
Teen Life and Issues
It is important for all of us to keep an eye on how we are feeling in general so we can make changes if things start to get on top of us. Life can be pretty stressful at times so you need to make sure you look after your overall well-being.
Well-being relates to all aspects of your life. It can include the thoughts in your head and how your body feels, as well as how you feel at home, at school and when with friends or other young people. Here are some things that are important for your overall well-being:
- Eating properly and getting regular exercise.
- Getting enough sleep (about 8 or 9 hours a night).
- Finding a balance between study time, sports or other commitments and time to relax and unwind.
- Being safe in your surroundings. This means living free from abuse, bullying and violence, including watching someone else, like a friend or family member, suffer from violence or abuse.
- Having a family or guardians that support and guide you and give you important life skills.
- Having responsibilities and independence that are appropriate for your age.
- Praise and encouragement.
- Receiving extra support with difficult issues such as illness, bullying, loss of a loved one, or any form of abuse.
- Freedom to express your culture and ethnic background.
- Opportunities to explore and develop your varied interests and talents.
- Opportunities to reach your potential at school, college or work.
- Opportunities to explore moral, religious and philosophical matters.
- Having someone who cares about you and is there for you when you need them.
- Having an adult who can be a mentor or role model in your life.
- Teenagers have rights, just like everyone else.
- Teenagers experience many physical and emotional changes in their lives.
- Well-being means looking after yourself and having opportunities to grow and develop.
- There are useful tips to help with the stresses of teenage life.
- There are useful websites and organisations to support teenagers.
The Rights of Children and Young People
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (which Ireland signed up to in 1992) provides many rights to all children and young people in order to protect them, promote their well-being and help them to develop their unique potential. These include the right:
- To be safe.
- To be protected and live free from violence, abuse or harm (this includes witnessing violence and abuse).
- To be brought up by their parents in a family, unless it is not in their interests.
- To express their views and to have them taken into account in matters that affect them.
- To have decisions that will affect them made in their best interests.
- To be treated with dignity, respect and fairness.
- To be free from discrimination, bullying and harassment of any kind.