- Politics and Social Issues
Today's Teenagers And Their Problems
Remember When You Were Teens Too
The Kids Are Not Alright
Joseph Priestley, a very wise man once said that like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves. Our society's teenagers are a reflection of what world we have created for them. If you belong to an older generation, you are probably blaming the generation before you for the world you lived in growing up and how it molded you into the person that you are today. The same can be said for our future leaders.
Every generation faced its own set of problems growing up. For today's youth, there are several and to understand what makes teens tick we have to look at these things.
There's more focus today on being successful than being happy. Granted, this has always been the problem of teenagers around the world for countless generations but today's youth looks like they are having the worst case of it. It is common to see kids who are very good at school and everything related to it like sports and whatnot but still be depressed.
While too much focus on being successful has its drawbacks, there is still a silver lining. There is such a thing as delayed gratification. A student who does well in school gives him or herself a great chance at getting into a great college. Top schools are very competitive to say the least and having a perfect GPA is one way for a teenager to punch that ticket to that dream college.
On the flipside again, (I like flip-flopping), this delayed gratification thing can be very bad too. Today, you defer your happiness for a chance at a dream college. Then after that, you sacrifice happiness again to find that high-paying job and keep it. Next would be aiming for that next big promotion. One could end up delaying gratification until one day realization sets in that it's too late to enjoy life. It would be a great thing for teens today to find satisfaction in one's life today. Without being satisfied, it would be just too hard to keep going.
Zero-Tolerance policies in schools can be very detrimental to a teen's maturity in dealing with things. Zero Tolerance is a solution to an existing problem but by no means is it the ideal solution. It ends up being a case of "if you treat them like prisoners, they will act like prisoners". Instead of teaching teens how to overcome being bullied it gives them the feeling that they have no choice but endure all the bullying and bullying figures in the US are already alarming.
Paranoid parents can also be a huge problem for teens. Instead of having a healthy discussion with them or being honest with them, teens could lie to avoid serious talking to. The world is not a safe place but being paranoid helps no one. It creates an unhealthy environment for kids and teens to grow up in. As kids grow older into their teenage years, it would be a good idea for parents to show that they trust their kids and also trust that they have done well in raising them. Now, if parents can admit that they did not raise their kids well, paranoia just might be what they deserve.
Social media recording of cringe-worthy moments is enough to make grown-ups scared; imagine what it does for teens. There is no stopping the spread of social networking sites. Facebook and Twitter will be part of people's lives for the foreseeable future. Teens have to be always on guard in everything that they do and say. Nobody wants to end up on a viral video doing or saying something stupid. This surely represses their growth.
Massive student loan debt being the norm is yet another problem teens should be scared of. If you are not well off and you want to go to a good college, you have to borrow the money to send yourself to school. Then after graduating, spend years paying off that debt. Surely, this has got to be at the back of the mind of every teenager from a not-so-rich family.
The older generation is asking too much from teens. School alone is hard work for teens who surely want to have fun. Then their parents add more pressure by making them go to extra-curricular activities. Not because they the parents want their kids to learn something new but only because they want to live through their children. Hey kid, I always wanted to play Little League but my Pops would not let me, so you play it now so that I can see my dreams realized through you. So selfish!
Parents limiting their kids to a small amount of time spent on a computer are being counterproductive. The Internet is here to stay and you do not want your kids to be left behind. Don't tell them to go have fun outside as if it's the easiest thing in the world. Who would they play with outside when other kids are playing on their computers? There is a balance out there between physical activities and being part of their generation's trends. Find it and employ it.
While allowing them to moderate themselves online is a good thing to let them know what's okay and what's not, it would also be a good idea to have a talk with them once in a while about it.
They are not supposed to make the same mistakes their parents did. There is nothing wrong with this at first glance. But if you take a closer look, it eliminates things and places for teens today to explore and find themselves. There are no more healthy outlets for them to vent their frustrations and teen angst. It is easy to believe that telling them that this and that are bad would result to teens being better than the older generation. But it is eliminating experience as a teacher for these young ones.
Teens have sacrificed a lot to live up to the previous generations' standard of success. If they so much as ask for a break and do something they find fun, they are being chastised as being lazy and entitled. What's fun for them will never be fun for their predecessors but it does not mean that what they are doing are bad and will not help them in the future.
Remember that teenagers of today did not start any wars (yet), nor crash the stock market (yet), nor came up and instituted policies that negatively affected our daily lives (yet). But if their problems are not addressed, what can we expect from the future shakers and movers of the world?