10 March 2016

Thousands of articles are written in an attempt to explain the thoughts and actions of teenagers based on science. We took a different approach and interviewed teenagers ourselves, no science involved.

Teenagers are the mystery that even Sherlock Holmes himself couldn’t solve. An enigma that maybe should remain as one. Hundreds of scientists and specialists try to pick apart and explain why teenagers have seemingly random and bizarre behaviour. Yet all this research is mostly science based, with little or no input from teenagers themselves.

Despite popular belief we are not moody, unsociable, drug taking teenagers, a stereotype that is rarely seen these days. Teenagers are known for their impressionable minds and strong opinions, an often underappreciated trait we carry. Stereotypes are one of the biggest problems teenager face and no matter how hard we seem to try it is an evidently difficult task to overcome them and prove that we are not all the same. The amount of stress teenager’s face is often underrated and dismissed when compared to the task adult’s deal with every day. But this does not make them any less to the teen themselves; small and immature problems to adults can completely alter a teen’s life.

We decided on of the best ways to understand the actions of teens would be to understand what was most important to us in our lives.

“Exams should be the biggest thing in my life right now, yet I find myself finding a battle to prove I am not a troublesome teen and to get my opinion heard across not just the school but the country. Adults have started to dismiss our opinions as if they are not important but they forget that in the future it will be us that make the changes. It will be our voices that are heard not theirs!”

This was an opinion expressed from a student as Longbenton who is stressfully awaiting their exams that begin in May. The adolescent expressed a popular thought between teens; the feeling of being underappreciated and dismissed by adults. Teenagers are often seen as rude and disrespectful towards adults. But is that due to parenting, disobedience or can it just be explained with the changing world we live in?

Another common stereotype adolescents deal with is the thought that we don’t respect the opinions of adults, a statement which is very controversial between adults and teenagers themselves. Many adults believe we don’t respect our elders or appreciate them.

“This is not true! We do respect the adults in our lives, whether it is a teacher, parent or grandparent. We just don’t show it in the way they used to.  Times have changed since our parents were children so they need to understand and adapt to the world we live in, we are children of a different generation so that means we are different. One of the worst things of being a teenager is being accused of not being respectful but we are! I don’t always listen to what my parents tell me but they would have done the same when they were children. They have to let me learn my own lessons by making the mistakes myself or I will never know. Just because I don’t follow their advice doesn’t mean I don’t respect them. Adults need to stop being so judgemental, it’s our own life to live, not theirs to control.”

Maybe teenagers aren’t actually disrespectful but they are just different to the adults who think it? Not all teenagers are troublesome but not all are straight A students. We are all individuals that are going through an extremely complicating time and we have to be given some freedom and trust to allow us to grow as a person.

All of the articles and books published may be having a negative effect on the teenagers that adults don’t actually notice. They wouldn’t like to all be grouped together under stereotypes that are out of date and rude, so why do they do it to teenagers? The published books that claim to tell you why teenagers act like they do are science based. An abundance of scientific reasons will not explain to a parent why their child may be depressed or stressed! Personal problems that severely affect these teenagers are just dismissed as if they are minuscule and unimportant. A book explaining chemical imbalances and changes in the brain will explain why these changes biologically happen, but they don’t explain the emotional impact that they have. The inside of a teenagers mind is a mystery to the teen themselves, so why are adults so eager to understand it? If the child cannot understand it what it to say the adults will understand and sympathise in a way that is deemed acceptable.

Adults constantly try to explain why teenagers do or say things which they cannot accept themselves. Should the adults really try to attempt to understand them or should they just accept them? Why don’t they follow the idea to not fix something that isn’t broken? Adolescents aren’t a new species nobody has ever seen. You can’t just study us as if we are completely different to you; we aren’t a danger to you. Adults were once teenagers; they know the struggles we face so why the stereotypes are still the same. These stereotypes can ruin a person’s life, no matter the age.

Any attempt to understand teenagers should be stopped. We aren’t that different. We aren’t that unique. We are just young people, living in complicated and changing worlds who are just trying to find out who we are.

Tags: BBC School Report