What It Means To Be a Teenager Today

It’s challenging to picture what life is actually like from the perspective of a teenager in today’s world, not to mention our own teenager(s) and their personal perspective(s) relating to family, school, social circles and the future.

This month, we are delving deeper into what it means to be a teenager today, in a world more interconnected – and often disconnected – than ever before.

Standard Challenges

Every teenager, no matter the generation, faces a few of the same changes, from puberty and hormonal changes to societal, parental, financial and educational pressures. While struggles with drinking, smoking, bullying, underage sex, peer pressure and sleep deprivation are not new to the life of a typical teenager, the way in which today’s generation perceives – and handles – these stressors has altered over time.

Teens often feel overwhelmed when faced directly with change, which only gets more complicated as they near graduation and begin to feel the added pressure of getting accepted to university or choosing a career path. Help your teen feel understood by giving them the freedom to be honest and communicate about their feelings, even if it means suppressing your initial instinct to disagree, punish or chastise.

New Challenges

While technology has spurred millions of opportunities for educational advancement, it has also created a far-reaching range of issues among pre-teens and teenagers.

Low self-esteem and body image issues are at an all-time high – especially in girls – as social media feeds fill the minds of growing teens with endless images of perceived perfection. While magazines, music videos, movies and TV shows used to be the primary source for ’celebrity culture,’ today it is only a simple click away on one of several apps. Cyberbullying and social media use overall have lead to an increase in negative emotional health issues, while cyber addiction has lead to a decrease in positive social behaviours, interactions and relationships among classmates, family members and friends.

What can often look like apathy toward standard topics of conversation at home may, in fact, be a learned behaviour from too much time and energy spent keeping up – or stressing over – their online presence. The competitiveness of today’s teens is somewhat clear when you consider the growing cost of living versus shrinking job opportunities compared to previous generations. Often an ideal online presence can replace the amount of effort they expend in real life, which can lead to depression when the two don’t match up, resulting in what feels like an identity crisis.

In addition, while sexual – as well as gender – fluidity and identity is more acknowledged than ever, it can still create much stress when it comes to determining their own personal preferences, thoughts and feelings on the subject.

Though teens today are more well-informed on worldly issues, they are also living in a sort of ‘suspended adulthood,’ with a growing number of recent graduates unable to afford to live on their own or move away until later in life.

Theory of Mind

Lastly, a 2009 U.S. study concluded that teenagers struggle relating to other perspectives – whether emotional, intellectual or visual – until their later years, and often into adulthood. So if it seems like your teen just can’t relate to anything you’re saying, perhaps it’s because they haven’t yet mastered this ability.

Teenage years are abundantly challenging for both adolescents and their parents. If you need a bit more help with how to deal with teenage behaviour problems and how to interact with your child as they transition into adulthood, get in touch with us today on 0418 869 061 or follow the link for more info on our Parental Guidance Workshops.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.