Challenges Facing the Twenty-First Century Teen

modern life, stress, economy, recession,Emily is a 13-year-old from Eastvale, CA. She loves to write, cook, and volunteer at her local animal shelter.


Most of the times when teens complain to their parents saying “You just don’t get it!” parents think they are being dramatic. Truth is a lot of the time we are right because the world today is entirely different from when they were growing up. Yeah, the essentials have not changed, peer pressure, and bullying but they have been taken to a whole new level. It seems like every time you turn on the news another controversy has arisen that has the potential to affect our lives, especially regarding the economy.

According to the U.S. department of Labor 48 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed, which is absolutely frightening. This hurdle however, is the least acknowledged by teens because until we start looking for a job ourselves it does not affect us, which has both positive and negative consequences. On the bright side ignorance really is bliss – until reality catches up, with a bombshell or two. This is something parents need to be prepared to handle.

While most teens are busy ignoring the economy we are consumed with our social lives because thanks to cyber-bullying it takes a lot of time to prevent ugly rumors from spreading. People are more courageous when they do not have to directly face a person and words hurt whether they are spoken aloud or written out. The best way for parents to help deal with the stress of bullying is to simply listen. Don’t automatically reach for the phone to contact the school or other ways to resolve the situation because that completely disregards their opinion.  Sometimes all teens want is to rant for a while and by not overeating it shows you can be trusted.

As you already know, teenage years are a journey of life in which you discover yourself. Today, it is harder to do than ever because there are so many opinions all claiming to be the truth. Media influences what we wear, listen to, and should look like. Peer pressure challenges anyone who comes out and decides to be different, calling them wrong for expressing themselves. Parents are responsible for combating this by encouraging their kids to be original and to accepting “unusual” behavior as long as it is not harmful. For example, weird hair is not going to hurt anyone and it can always be changed; make up can be removed, and writing creepy poetry doesn’t mean they are depressed.

The best thing parents can do for their teens is to be there. Let them rant away and only offer advice when asked. Society has changed so much and so I hate to say it but parental advice is not always valid since parents may do not always what their kids are going through.  Twenty-first challenges are like no other and this generation is the first that has to enter adulthood sentenced to these struggles. Many teens will be the first in their families to fight these battles and so they need the support now more the than ever.

Photo: flikr image from laughlin




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