Research Paper (postgraduate), 2008
15 Pages, Grade: 1.5
A. Opening Statements
B. Thesis statement
C. Importance of topic
D. Road Map
II. The Cases That Lead Teenagers to Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse
A. Stressful Events
B. Peer Influence
C. Failure of Parents to Take Their Children Away From Harmful Activities
III. Possible Effects of Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse to Teenagers
A. Sexual Abuse or Molestation Against Teenagers
B. Teenage Pregnancy
C. Commission of Crimes Against Other People
The family is the basic unit of society. Families are composed of parents and their children who live in a community. In the case of the United States of America, there are myriad challenges to families that affect teenagers. The common problems that beset teenagers are drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual molestation and teenage pregnancy. Research findings state that in the year 2008, 35.6% of students had had six or more drinks of alcoholic beverages on at least one occasion (Dew, 2009, p. 1). In addition, 70% of eleventh grade students have had at least one drink of alcoholic beverages during their lifetime through the influence of friends and family members (Dew, 2009, p. 1). Hence, the problem of alcohol abuse has escalated through the years.
The problem on drug abuse has increased through the years since according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 9.5% of teenagers aged 12 to 17 who are currently drug users nowadays (Aldworth et. al., 2007, p. 45). These problems are results of the weakening of family values and ethical standards which make teenagers deviate from the norms. In other words, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual molestation, commission of crimes and teenage pregnancy create challenges for families.
The problems of teenagers involving drug abuse and alcohol abuse are primarily caused by stressful life events, peer influence, and failure of parents to take their children away from harmful activities. Besides, drug abuse and alcohol abuse might lead to sexual abuse or molestation and teenage pregnancy as well as the commission of violent crimes.
The need to solve social problems like drug abuse and alcohol abuse makes it imperative to study the cases that lead teenagers to deviate the norms in society. The knowledge taken from the research paper is also useful in framing correct solutions for the problem.
Who has written about the subject (who has informed your paper):
Dinkmeyer (1990), McKay, De Guzman (1990) and Temke (2006) are authors that have written about the influence of parents on their children. Hobbs (2008) and Pasch (2003) are authors that have written about peer influence and peer pressure on teenagers. Regoli (2000), Wattenberg (2003), Henderson (2008) and Hendrickson (2001) are other authors that have informed this research paper.
The cases that lead teenagers to drug and alcohol abuse include stressful events, peer influence, and failure of parents to keep their children away from harmful activities. This paper will discuss the reasons why teenagers become victims of drug and alcohol abuse which might cause sexual abuse or molestation against them, and teenage pregnancy despite the presence of their respective families and attendance in formal schools. After that, a discussion on the linkage of teenage drug and alcohol abuse with the commission of violent crimes will be given. It will also discuss the course of action for the treatment and intervention of teenagers who have fallen prey to drugs and excessive intake of alcoholic beverages as solution to the problem.
The primary cases that lead teenagers to drug abuse and alcohol abuse include stressful life events, peer influence, and failure of parents to take their children away from harmful activities.
Stressful events in life cause trouble to teenager who attends school or not. Stressful life events may include divorce or separation of parents, low grades in school, and poverty. Divorce or separation of parents can affect the emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of a child. The primary concern of parents who are divorcing is the response of their children and their ability to handle the situation to become healthy and happy despite the problem (Temke, 2006, p. 1).
It must be remembered that the effects of divorce on children depends upon their age and gender. In this case, adolescents feel anger, depression, guilt, fear and loneliness due to divorce of their parents (Temke, 2006, p. 2). Other teenagers are forced to hold mature responsibilities like taking care of their siblings and or earning a living for the broken family. The pressure of choosing one parent over the other is also stressful for a teenager.
Teenagers are irreparably damaged due to divorce of their parents. The situation makes teenagers think that they are too powerless to handle such family change. Family relationships are affected by the decision of parents to opt for divorce instead of saving the marriage which makes children feel guilty and depressed. Drug and alcohol abuse is often the means of coping for teenagers to ease the pain of having a broken family.
Moreover, the most common effect of divorcing parents is the inability of teenagers to cope with the changes in their family (Temke, 2006, p. 2). As a result, teenagers react negatively on the situation by resorting to drugs or alcoholic beverages. Hence, parents who are divorcing must help their children to adjust to the situation through proper communication and unconditional love and care. Divorcing parents must not neglect their children despite existing change in family setting. When their children grow up and become teenagers, the social stigma of living with a broken family will haunt them and make them walk astray.
Another stressful event in the life of a teenager is having low grades in school. Although this problem is related to lack of confidence, parents must not take it for granted. Studies mentioned that working memory deficits of a teenager may trigger some learning difficulties and behavioral troubles linked to impulsivity, difficulties in focus, and hyperactivity (“Working memory, psychiatric symptoms, and academic performance at school”). Depression may also cause low performance of teenagers in school. It is also considered the gateway of resorting to drugs and alcohol abuse.
Teenagers who got low grades in school can resort to drug abuse and alcohol abuse in order to ease their pain due to low morale and lack of self-confidence. Drug use is viewed as deriving from failing to make good in school activities and assignments (Regoli & Hewitt, 2000, p. 268). In short, some teenagers who are unable to gain success in academic matters may choose deviant modes of adaptation to deal with their failure.
In addition, poverty may also cause stress to teenagers. Logically, inability of parents to provide enough resources for the physical and financial needs of a teenager is unacceptable but existing today. Some teenagers are forced to be exposed to environmental toxins and family violence, suffer instability of residence, and fewer learning experiences due to poverty (Gunn & Duncan, 1997, p. 2). Others are forced to work while studying just to make both ends meet. Due to lack of proper education, teenagers who belong to poor families experience difficulty in making themselves financially stable. As a result, some teenagers are involved in illegal activities like drug pushing which makes them mingle with people who are considered bad influence for them (Gunn & Duncan, 1997, p. 2). If teenagers are exposed to illegal activities, resorting to alcohol abuse and drug abuse cannot be avoided. Therefore, stressful events like poverty, divorce, and lack of proper education must be abated or lessened in order to prevent teenagers from resorting to drug abuse and alcohol abuse.
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