Why Teenagers Suffer – Opinion



Art by EHS Senior Diana Romero

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” This quote was written by Socrates in 430 B.C. Though written over 2000 years ago it shows a trend that we still seem to follow even in today’s society. Every born generation has been inclined to be disappointed in the generation that follows. We seem to always create a distorted memory of ourselves in our teenage years as slightly better than reality, viewing ourselves as possibly better than our substitutes. What’s important is the major amount of unsurety teenagers experience. It’s very rare to understand yourself fully in those years. Erik Erikson was a great psychologist who gave this experience a name: an identity crisis.

Erikson says teenagers are more unsure of themselves and their environment than at any other time in life. They experiment with newfound social muscles to further pave a path for themselves, which given the perspective of their parents can come off as them wasting their potential, being a failure, and even being a disappointment. Now more than ever there is an even bigger expectation set for children which leads to unhealthy behavior.

Within the last 25 years society’s rate of technological expansion has become exponentially more advanced. Job opportunities are different, cost of living is higher, and the wiring in our phones is smaller. We are surrounded by changes that have launched our way of living. But yet why do we hold the same expectations for the children as we did decades ago? “The schooling system has stayed the same for years, only changing small things about it. Even school rooms tend to look the same as they did 100 years ago,” said Jeremy Anderson, A 16-year-old sophomore. Even teenagers can recognize this issue of the seemingly perpetual schooling system. When parents believe their child’s only chance of adulthood success is decided by their placement in school it puts them in an academic bubble where the letters on their report card become a value label for themselves. This pre-built path created by their parents disallowed them to express themselves using the new opportunities that arose in the last decade. 

Teenagers are developmental beings that still are in the process of figuring things out and learning how to act in society. But what happens is while they experiment with these things they begin to get described by their parents as “lazy” or “stupid”. When your kid is missing school or unmotivated to excel academically it isn’t because they are dumb. When your kid refuses to act and behave the way you want them to it isn’t because they hate you. When your kid is trying to find their place in the world it’s because it’s who they are in the moment.

From first glance you may assume that children nowadays are self-indulgent; have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love talking in place of exercise. If you think this way you must remember who also felt the same way in 430 B.C. (Socrates).