Young people and their problems

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  1. What influences young people?

In human society, values, goals and the way people think keep changing constantly. People are hugely influenced by the time in which they grow up and live.

Each of us must have heard our parents or granparents say something like: “In my younger days, the world was a totally different place..” or “I would never have done this in my younger days…”

Children and young people are influenced by:

  • family background

  • upbringing

  • education

  • social status

  • society: parents, friends, community, church, television, newspapers, by everything we are surround by

  1. What are the young people of today like?

Most young people are self-confident as they are taught an independence assertiveness these days.

They have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, or what their parents want them to achieve.

The one thing most young people desire is independence, for they are constatly forced to abide (znášať) rules imposed on them (ktoré na nich kladú) by their parents, school, sports coach, etc.

Uncertainty, the processes of searching and exploring are perfectly natural for young people in all times.

They have access to all the modern inventions that make their life easier. They

are used to saving time by using their computers:

    • the Google, Yahoo, ICQ search engines to find whatever

    • Internet banking

    • on-line shopping

    • communication via the Internet: Messengers- Skype, MSN, AOL,YM,

ICQ, videoconferences, etc.

Young people prefer to wear brand name clothing, like Nike, Addidas, Dolce and Gabana, Puma,etc., and more and more of them are dressing in sexy and extravaggant styles. Girls and boys are careful about their make-up and hairstyle. They use cosmetics-deodorants, cologne, aftershave water. The idea that a real man smells like tobacco and alcohol is completely out-of-date.

3.What do young people think about friendship?

Friendship is genuinely important for all young people. They like to make friends with people of their own age with similar hobbies, and unless you are a true loner, you mostly have a lot of friends.

Every one has his or her best friend whom they confide in. (rieši svoje problémy)

A true friend is someone who listens to you, gives a helping hand or advice, but - most importantly – will never betray you. Betrayal is something young people take very seriously.

Questions for you to answer and write a short essay (250-300 words)

Is friendship important for you?

Do you have your “best friend”?

How long have you known him/her?

What do you have in common?

Can you describe his/her personal qualities?

Do you believe in horoscopes?


social being

share your happiness with

feel blue

keep on sitting next to each other for the following nine years

stop seeing each other so often

If we have done something naughty, we woul never have given it away. (Keď sme niečo vyparátili/vyviedli, nikdy sme to neprezradili.

imaginative when cheating at school

fair in spots

talkative, outgoing, loyal, sincere, moody, get upset on a minor problem (rozčúli sa kvôli maličkosti), calm down (ukľudniť sa), generous, reliable, punctual…

sign (znamenie), If all horoscopes were right and their descriptions fitted, there would only be twelve types of people, which is impossible.
The more materialistic approach to life of today’s youth can ruin family life and family values. The desire and search for more and more money (the love of money) has already resulted in much lonelines, depression, drug or alcohol addiction and even suicide, as well as in many irresponsible sexual relationships and complete family break-ups.


The word drug comes from the Dutch word droog meaning thirst.

The most frequently classification used is into soft and hard drugs.

4. What are soft drugs and what are the symptoms and consequences associated with them?

SOFT drugs include: cigarettes, marijuana, hashish in cannabis, caffeine in tea or coffee.

Symptoms are varied: red eyes, tiredness, joking, philosophizing, uncoordinated movements, constricted pupils (zúžené zornice).

Consequences: cancer, depression, anxiety (úzkostné stavy).

  1. What are hard drugs and what are the symptoms and consequnces associated with them?

The classification of drugs according to the influence they have is as follows:

psychedelics LSD, ecstasy, substances present in cannabis / sometimes describes as hallucinogens

stimulants - cocaine, metamphetamine, nicotine, caffeine etc. – stimulate physical asa well as mental abilities of the organism, cause addiction

opiates heroine, morphium – reduce pain or depression, cause addiction

organic solvents (organické rozpúšťadlá) – toluen, alcohol – different effects, harmful to tissues (tkanivá) and organs

dance drugs – LSD, ecstasy – psychedelic as well as stimulation effects

Hard drugs often include illegal drugs only. Legal hard drugs only includes alcohol, but when the nature and addiction potential is taken into consideration, nicotine must be labelled as a hard drug too, it is found in tobacco.

Its influence on the central nervous system has been found to be very similar to that of genuine hard drugs.

HARD drugs include: heroine, cocaine, alcohol, amphetamines, diluters (riedidlá) and adhesives (lepidlá), sedatives…


Alcohol: red eyes, aggressiveness, good mood, uncoordinated movements

Adhesives: red skin around mouth and nose, hallucination, appearance reminding of alcohol addicts

Sedatives: tiredness, bad articulation, slow reactions sleepiness

Amphetamines: aggressiveness, influx of energy (prílev energie), lack of appetite, fluctuating mood (premenlivá nálada)

Opiates: glassy eyes, euphoria changing into apathy, lack of appetite, constricted pupils


  • Sniffing (šňupanie) often results in harm to the airways (dýchacie cesty) and lungs. Overdose (predávkovanie) even leads to death.

  • Taking pills deteriorates the function of the brain (zhorší činnosť mozgu), and overdose leads to unconsciousness.

  • Heroine is harmful to the brain, liver, addicts are often nervous, may contract HIV – the cause of AIDS – and overdose may result in death, too.

It is advisable to look for any change. Teenagers may:

  • start dressing or behaving in a new way

  • even leave home suddenly

  • also get out of touch with long-time friends

  • look for new friends who have similar interests and face the same problems

  • spend a lot of time locked away in the toilet or bathroom

Read further information about teenage alcoholism and reasons of taking drugs:

  1. What is love and what does it mean for young people?

The young fall in love very often. They are full of ideals! They are very sensible to things good and bad. Disillusion and refusal may often be much worse for them than might seem. Sometimes, people let down by love (poznačení sklamaním v láske) may have bitter memories for the rest of their lives.

  1. What challenges are there for some young people at school?

Some teenagers think about school and teachers as a necessary evil. They reject anyone`s authority and fail to realize that they are responsible for themselves and the way they behave.

It is at the stage of life their future starts developing, and what is ignores now is difficult to catch up with later (dohoniť).

  1. What problems do young people have in relation to their parents?

Parents often plan out their children career without knowing what the young person feels. Parents often fail to understand that their children have their own dreams and visions, be it of their future or just their hair style, clothes or friends.

Parents have their ideals and children are there to fulfill these ideals. When the young stand up for their opinions, arguments may break out. And with both sides holding firmly to their positions, problems grow in size (sa stupňujú), and this may lead to (vyústi) the teenager wanting to get independent as soon as possible.

Parents usually rely on their experience and intelligence when solving inconveniet situations. As adults, they think that they are mature enough to do anything, but they want to protect their children as long as possible. Their children, on the other hand, feel their freedom is being limited and try to revolt, using various ways of protest:

    • ignoring parents

    • doing the opposite of what is expected

    • telling lies

    • and/or pretending obedience and respect to parents

Is it your case as well? Is there any generation gap in your family? How do you get on with your parents?
Children about parents:

    • are too conservative, stick to traditions, say how different young people are today

    • don`t give us enough freedom, interfere too much

    • are always critisicing young people, don`t like our clothes, hairstyles, music, aour friends

    • say we are lazy, easy-going, not willing to work hard

    • underestimate (podceňujú) us, don`t respect our individuality

    • would be satisfied if we spent all our leisure time on studying or helping them

    • don`t give us enough pocket money

Parents about children:

  • don`t respct the older generation, think they don`t need any advice

  • are rude, impolite, badly behaved, use bad language

  • are only interested in music, fashion, their friends

  • don`t study enough, don`t think of their future

  • spend too much time with their friends

1. Have you ever heard any of these complaints in your family? Which ones?

2. Choose the complaints which you consider unfair and explain why.

3. Do you often get cross with your parents? What are the most common cause of conflicts in your family?

4. Describe the most serious conflict you have had with your parents so far. How did you solve it?

  1. What do young people think about their future?

Another important thing that young people have to deal with is choosing their future jobs and careers.

At the age of eighteen, people officially come of age and are expected to take care of themselves – at least to some extend- and to arrange what they need. They should be determined (odhodlaní), independent, responsible and able to live (zariadiť si život) without complicating other people`s lives. Is it possible at all?

  1. How to spend a happy youth?

It must be lived to the full (naplno): gain as much experience as possible, have as many interests and activities and friends as possible, young age is a crucial period of life.

At older age (na staré kolená) you will have nice memories. By the way, another proverb goes approximately like this: “Experience gained at a young age will prove useful at a later stage.” (Čo sa v mladosti naučíš, na starosť ako by si našiel.)

+ Role models and examples (another school-leaving exam topic)
Proverbs: A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.

Curses come home to roost. (Kto druhému jamu kope, sám do nej


Young People and Society
Teenagers (13 to 19 years old) are a special group, they are not children any more, neither are they adults. They are strongly influenced by their friends, reasonably influenced by their parents and partly influenced by their teachers, but there are also youth culture influences that may be important.
Teenagers spend most of their time

  • at school or studying for the following school day

  • in their leisure time they like getting together with friends, listening to music, playing computer games and going to parties and discos.

Most of them live their parents, have to help in the house and are given some pocket money to spend on some electronic gadgets, cosmetics and small luxuries.

Those teenagers who want to have their own money try to find a part-time job, especially during school holidays.

Working in the afternoons or at weekends could be very useful, it may help teenagers to prepare for their future (adulthood).

In the USA, but also in other European countries leave their family at the age of eighteen and live with their friends in rented flats. Parents usually do not object because it is better than any parent`s advice.
Young people between twenty and thirty are a bit different.

Most of them

  • have finished schools

  • have found a job, so they earn their living (zarábajú si na živobytie)

  • have to find a place to live

  • get married and have children so they become more aware of social problems (be aware of – uvedomovať si)

  • are more concerned about ( be concerned about – znepojovať sa, byť znepokojený) the world-wide problems of poverty, diseases, the pollution of our environment, racial discrimination, nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and terrosism

  • fight for equality and human rights

  • work for charities

  • help disabled and homeless

  • collect money for starving people in Africa and Asia.

Only a small number of youth join radical youth movements (skinheads, antiglobalists…).

European Union Programmes which promote cooperation (prehĺbiť spoluprácu) and exchanges in education and training:

  • SOCRATES – offers students an opportunity to study abroad and learn about life in other countries

  • LEONARDO da VINCI is aimed at vocational training policies and programmes through placement for young trainees, young workers and university students. It also includes vocational training (praktický odborný výcvik), lifelong learning, university enterprise (podujatia) co-operation and language skills.

What are the advantages of international programmes for young people?

What do you know about The European Social Fund? It makes a major contribution to vocational training in Britain including the government programmes involving TEC`s (Training and Enterprise Council – rada pre odborný výcvik a podnikanie) and LEC`s (National Vocational Qualification – odborná kvalifikácia) and employers.
What do you know about The Employment Community Initiative? It is financed by the Structural Funds and targets groups that have specific difficulties in the employment market. It helps unemployed and unqualified young people up to the age of twenty.

Another option for young unemployed people is to become self-employed with the help of some organisation which offers grants and loans to set up their own business.

Many young people in Europe take “time out, or a year off “ after school or college and before taking up their university place or starting their job training programme or career. This is the time

  • to broaden their horizons

  • to experience life away from home

  • to do new things

  • to develop new skills

  • to become confident (sebevedomí) and independent

Roleplay the situation after reading the following instruction.
Student A: You are in your final year of secondary school. Your parents want you to apply touniversity, but you have decided to “take a year off” and spend one yaer abroad working and travelling. Talk to your parents, give reasons for your decision, state positives/negatives it may have.
Student B: You are strongly against your child “taking a year off”. You think a university education will by very important in the future and are afraid your child would not want to study after such a long break. Moreover, it would be difficult to revise all the knowledge.


Children are a vunerable group and have been exploited in many ways by adults. They have been the targets of violence, sexually abused, economically exploited, neglected and generally abused by society. For the most part, children have been seen as the property of their parents, guardians and even employers. For a long time, they didn’t have a voice especially in deciding their own futures.

In the early 21st century, half of the world’s population are children and the world has woken up to the fact that they should be protected.

Children’s rights:
The right of the child according to Convention on the Rights of the Child:

    1. the right to live

    2. to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

3. to medical care

4. to free education to develop child’s personality, talents and mental and

physical abilities to their fulliest potential

5. to the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit

of understanding, peace, tolerance, , equality of sexes, and friendship among a

all people

6. to live and respect the natural environment

7. to live with no discrimination (race, colour, sex, language, religion, political

or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth)


  1. Peter,18: My friends sometimes take drugs. I know I should not do this but I always conform and I am unable to say no. I feel I must take drugs more and more often. My parents know nothing and think everything is all right.

  1. Dana, 16: I am pregnant. I live only with my father and he wants me to go to university. He is aggressive and nervous at times. How shall I tell him? I`m frightened!

  1. Robert, 19: I live on my own in my own flat. I have a good job and many friends. Alcohol is my problem. I took up drinking after my girlfriend left me. When I go out, I have a small drink to raise my spirit, but then I cannot stop. Some people think I am addicted to alcohol. But I only drink when I go out.

  1. Do you know anyone who would risk their lives just because nothing is interesting for them?

  1. Why do young people try taking drugs? Do you know anyone who is addicted to drugs? Where to find information and advice on this issue?
Vocabulary: find a therapist/a psychologist/treatment in a treatment centre/

a drug abuse centre, to enter a detox programme

  1. Can you say something about your own problems?

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