Teenage well-being

The effects of teenagers' well-being drop are more than just 'grumpiness' - they're broad and far-reaching.

As an organisation we're focussing on the wide-ranging effects that neglecting teenagers can have.

The Good Childhood Report 2013 reveals some telling findings on this subject.

Well-being dips for teenagers

Teenagers are having a particularly hard time. Well-being declines steadily from early teens until age 16

Levels of well-being for all aspects of The Good Childhood Index drop from age eight, and are often at their lowest during the first few years of adolescence.

This indicates that young people in their early and mid-teens are worse off than other children. Fourteen and fifteen-year-olds are faring the worst.

What is adolescent neglect?

Neglect happens when a child's needs are not met by those who are responsible to care for them and enable them to flourish.

We often underestimate the number of older children experiencing neglect at home, encountering neglect by professionals and institutions as well as by our wider society. What's more, the impact of adolescent neglect is underrated.

This widespread failure to understand, acknowledge and address fully the neglect experienced by adolescents means that too often their poor treatment goes unnoticed or is dismissed.

Meanwhile this neglect blights their experience of adolescence, stunts their capacity to flourish later in life, and in some cases results in serious harm.

Family relationships are important

Children in families with high levels of support and low levels of conflict are more satisfied with life.

As we saw in the previous chapter, family relationships are one of the three main areas of well-being.

Harmony, parental support and autonomy-granting are fundamentally important to children, and these aspects of family life contribute to young people's well-being.

When this support and harmony are lacking, children's well-being and overall life satisfaction suffer.

Why we're fighting adolescent neglect

We have extensive experience of working with vulnerable older children and young people, understanding their instability and needs, and championing their strength and potential.

Our programme of work allows us to address adolescent neglect, ensuring that adolescents' needs are met. These include needs for safety, support and nurturing. We also must repair serious harm done to those who have experienced neglect throughout their adolescent years.

When this support and harmony are lacking, children's well-being and overall life satisfaction suffer.

Our goals

For young people who are vulnerable to adolescent neglect, we want to ensure that thousands are better supported in their families so that they are protected from the harm of neglect.

We also are working to see that the thousands of very vulnerable teenagers in care experience positive and protective attitudes and behaviours. These young people - whose lives are affected by professionals and institutions - should never feel dismissed, demonised or blamed.

There are also thousands of older children whose lives have already been harmed by neglect. With them, we need to build emotional and psychological resilience and well-being, recovering positive mental health.