Editor’s Note: Our Resident Teen Expert Ezekiel Carsella is 13 years old and currently working on his new series “Animal Conflict Series.” He has some insightful points to make about the business of growing up. He reminded me of some things that I had forgotten. After you’ve read his post, skip on over to Animal Conflict Series and give it a Like. Show a young author some love!
Adults and teens: They don’t understand each other and they never will.
A teen will never understand the value of a hard day’s work just like an adult will not understand the necessity of shopping at Hollister when there are perfectly good clothes available at Sears. I find it interesting that adults regard teens as enigmas – weren’t you young once, too? We may be difficult to understand but we come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. If your last experience with teens ended with the 20th century, let me bring you up to speed.
It’s 2013 and not much has changed, teen-wise. These days, the typical 13-14 year old likely owns enough consumer electronics to open their own Radio Shack. Hollister is still hot, so is our XBox and if we haven’t whined our way into an iPhone then we own some type of smartphone. If you haven’t provided us with an iPod then we are likely plotting to call Child Services and report you for abuse.
We still socialize like you did at our age, only we have more options than you did with Facebook and texting. We still think school is pointless and use it for socializing rather than anything else. When we play sports we play wrestling, basketball or baseball. Going out is 75/25 in favor of having a gf mostly because of people around us. We’ll still read a book, only if forced to at gunpoint.
What Really Scares Us
Like many adults in our lives, teens practice the motto: ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’ Teens act like they have everything under control but really it is only a front … there are some things adults just don’t see. It’s like you’ve forgotten what peer pressure feels like. You act like it isn’t supposed to matter but you were once us … don’t you remember what it felt like when a bunch of people were ganging up and hatin’ on someone. Were you the one they hated on or were you part of the crowd?
Unlike adults, teens haven’t developed a complete support structure yet. We don’t like to admit it but we’re still very much dependant on the people we’re around for support and for identity. That’s not always a bad thing – if someone’s pushing you to join the baseball team or excel at another talent – that’s part of the village raising the child. But what if the village is pushing you to get drunk or high or be bad? It’s not like we can just reach in our back pocket and find a new village to join.
Then there is you … our parents. Not being understood by you is a killer. When we’re trying to tell you something and express ourselves and you don’t understand … that’s one of the worst feelings in the world. If you don’t get us, who will?
I’m going to break this up into a two-parter – stay tuned for the exciting conclusion: “What Matters to Teens – What We Really Wish You’d Understand”