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  • Writer's pictureYen Yee

Understanding Youth

International Youth Day is celebrated annually on the 12th of August. There are usually activities and events organized on this day to promote the role of youth and their effort in contributing to the global society. To help them to grow and strive for greater success in developing the global community, let us get a better understanding of what youths look for and what go through their mind at this stage of life.

Intimacy and romantic relationship

Youth are usually referred as individuals between the age of 15 and 24 years old. Individuals at this age group hit puberty and start to develop interest in romantic relationships, though they are not necessarily sure about developing serious and long-term relationship. They also struggle to manage their sexual feeling and emotions. However, they are curious to explore the feelings and the meanings of love and being loved. They would want to know about how to deal with those emotions and urges. This makes the adults around them to play an important role in helping them to understand the topics related to sex and romantic relationships. Open communication by facilitating youth to talk about these topics encourages their learning in intimacy and romantic relationships.

Anxious about the future

Youth are often uncertain about their future. They are in a constant search for their interests that inform their choice of studies, careers that suit them, and even goals in life. The good news is that there are many opportunities out there for youth to explore and gain better understanding of what they want in life. Many have reported seeking counselling services for self-exploration and to discuss their confusions in life. Many also seek advice from their adult role models to gain a direction in life, and assistance in their decision making process. Therefore, it is important that adults play the role of a mentor to provide as much support to youth in exploring themselves and their future.

Development of self-identity

Youth is the time where they develop their own individuality. They start to develop their own ways of thinking, values, and principles, and these shall be respected. Adults are to support the youth by allowing them to go through their own journey of exploration in developing their own identity. Youth also look forward to receive support from the adults, such as receiving compliments when a good decision is made. This fosters independence among youth and develop their confidence in problem solving.

Eager to belong to a social group and to be connected with people

Being socially connected is one way of gaining approval. Youth look for connection in a form of social relationships and they feel good about being recognized as part of a group. For example, youth constantly look out for the current trend in fashion, social media, and the most recent famous café in town. Engagement with the latest trends forms connections and increases the likelihood of being accepted into social groups. As such, peer influence has the potential to lead youth into inappropriate behaviors or high-risk activities such as drugs and alcohol abuse, gambling, and unsafe sex, or they could lead youth to practicing healthy behaviors such as playing sports, volunteering, and exercising. It is important to guide youth into taking responsibilities in ensuring their own health and safety, and to lead them towards developing healthy social activities.

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