Adolescence can be a difficult time, even for teenagers who seem extremely well-adjusted. Physical and hormonal changes are hard enough to deal with, but when you add feelings of isolation and loneliness to the mix, it can make the whole process that much worse. Sadly this is reality for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens. But a new study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing shows positive attitudes from family members towards LGBT teens reduces their risk for depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and often results in the formation of healthier relationships in adulthood.
Sounds like good— if not a tad obvious— information for parents of LGBT kids, but as pointed out by Scott Leibowitz, MD, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Department of Psychiatry, it’s important knowledge for any adult who interacts with kids, not just the parents of openly gay or transgender children.
Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet— even Twilight’s Bella— all flirted with the concept. Throughout history (both real and fictional) many adolescents have felt so victimized by a world outside their control that they’ve harbored thoughts of self-harm. Though the causes tend to differ with age, sex and culture, it seems the stresses of teenage life—and some of their more troubling coping mechanisms— have been around for ages. But a study by a researcher from Cornell University shows that one reaction to stress and feelings of helplessness is more prevalent among young teens than many people may realize. According to the study, cutting, the act of marking one’s body through self-inflicted scratches and lacerations, is practiced by as many as 12 to 37 percent of kids during early adolescence.