Childhood and Adolescent Sexuality
The topic related to childhood and adolescent sexuality I have chosen is the LGBT youth. The empirical article selected was Recommendations for Promoting the Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adolescents: A Position Paper of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. In this article we see the health risks and implication faced by the LGBT community and recommendation to promote better health and wellbeing among this community.
LGBT Adolescent Sexuality and Risk Factors
Adolescence is that period when an individual is living childhood behind and transitioning to a more mature stage, during this period adolescents begin to discover their own identity and dealing with the transition is not an easy task. Unfortunately the first issue an adolescent must deal with is that parents may react negatively to their nonheterosexual preference (Ryan, C., Russell, S. T., Huebner, D., Diaz, R., & Sanchez, J. 2010).
LGBT faces more challenges than their heterosexual counterpart; these challenges are not only with family members but with society in general. Most LGBT young people are healthy and well-adjusted; however, LGBT teenagers who exhibit high-risk behaviors are usually reflecting reactions to social stigma and non-acceptance by society.
One of the main challenges that LGBT adolescents have to face is their emotional and mental health wellbeing. Evidence suggests that adolescents who have non heterosexual attractions and sexual or romantic relationships, or those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual are more likely to experience depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and to make suicide attempts. In addition, there has been a link that correlates self-harm, and perceived discrimination in adolescents (Almeida, Johnson, Corliss, Molnar & Azrael, 2009).
In addition to adolescents’ emotional and mental health wellbeing, there is the risk of illicit drug use. The lack of coping skills in adolescents can drive them to use drugs or alcohol to better cope with rejection and negative behaviors. It has been documented that the use of drugs was higher in the LGBT population than the rest of youth population (Kelly, Davis ; Schlesinger, 2015).
Counseling parents and LGBT Adolescents
Studies suggest that LGBT adolescents are coming out of the closet at younger age than in previous years. Due to this it is more likely that this community is served by providers in many different setting. It is also important to not that this provides many opportunities to recognize LGBT youth at risk and to provide appropriate services (Reitman et al, 2013)
Counselors working with adolescents who are LBGT must be sensitive to the feelings of uncertainty, rejection and fear that these young people experience. Providers who work with teens should be trained to recognize the adolescent’s external stressors, which may increase risks, and provide supportive counseling to promote self-acceptance and healthy growth (Reitman et al, 2013).
Providers can help families understand the need to reduce rejection and help them creating an environment that will promote positive behaviors and general well-being. In addition to helping family members promote adolescent’s wellbeing, is also important to help clients identify supportive communities (Doty, Willoughby, Lindahl ; Malik, 2010). Studies supports that there is a link between sexuality related social support and mental health among LGBT youth
Childhood and Adolescent Sexuality