I have met a lot of adults who complain about the young generation. Most people find it difficult to accept that life on earth — from being easy — has now become challenging. Nowadays, mere survival requires enormous effort.
Irresponsible, forgetful, careless, jealous, greedy, inane, insane. These adjectives, we hear almost everyday from parents of teenagers. From their point of view, their teenage children are useless and can’t do anything right. Parents nowadays accuse teenagers of whiling away their time in front of television watching useless programs or surfing the internet, killing time.
There’s something they need to understand though. The period between 10-20 years is the most difficult part of a modern child’s life. Difficult, not only to the child but also to those around him/her. That is the age a child begins to look at himself/herself as an individual. That’s when a sense of self-importance arises. We feel the transition from a child to a person in society. That’s when we desperately try to break through the chains of childhood that our parents and society had restrained us in.
It’s like taking the first step out into the world after a lifetime in prison. Everything and everyone seems strange. It feels like a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon. As a child, we’d have thought everyone we met were good and everyone was a part of a larger family. It’s during those pre-teen years that we figure out that our childhood fancies, were indeed fancies and everything we thought we knew of the world was wrong. It’s when we meet the jealous, the ruthless; the deceiving, and the unfriendly that we realize how wrong we had been all along. It’s hard to accept.
It feels like forcibly being thrust into a group of snarling and unfriendly wild dogs. Suddenly the picture of the ‘beautiful world’ starts to crumble. We see the world for what it really is.
In days of yore, children were either forced into adulthood before they could come out of their cocoon or our society wasn’t as bad and corrupted as it is now. There wasn’t much difference between the family children knew and the society they would soon get to know.
Now, however, things have changed. It’s like balancing two worlds that are in complete contrast with one another. The change, in itself, is a hard-to-bear reality. That causes depression. And to add to the helplessness, the usual duties of school and homework come in harder than ever before.
That’s the age we feel a sudden urge to experiment on relationships; that’s when we learn to make friends of strangers. Making friends with others who feel as insecure as us is easier said than done, we find it difficult to trust anyone; we view even family with a doubtful eye. Inexplicable emotions run amok in our minds and we won’t feel confident enough to confide in anyone.
Bottled up insecurity, frustration, fear and emotions threaten to break out as depression. When they do break out, they result in desperate mood swings. That’s when the rest of the world calls us ‘irresponsible’ and ‘incapable of doing anything right’. These accusations make us feel as if something is indeed wrong with us.
Naturally, we look up to our family for help. Parents are the only ones we trust and if they have problems of their own, that would be a huge let down for us. Of course, there are some families who make efforts to try and understand.
We find it nearly impossible to rest. To overcome the chaos within us, we look for alternatives. And, with some help sometimes, we do find them in drugs.
Most teenagers who do drugs only do it to relieve themselves of the stress of the outside world and try to rest. I am not justifying the use of drugs, but merely stating that they honestly believe that drugs can help them clean up their scattered emotions. Those who escape the claws of drugs turn to the option of suicide to escape the harsh realities of life. It’s only a moment’s foolhardiness and luckily, some come out of it as coming out of a reverie.
Me saying all these might sound odd because I talk for teenagers in general. Of all things I’ve said, I have felt almost everything myself and I am pretty sure other teenagers feel it too. I realized I wasn’t alone when I read Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Letters. Reading letters from fellow teenagers around the globe, inspired me to muse on my teenage life, and this is what I came up with.