People say that kids and teenagers have it easy these days. They have most/all of their bills being paid for by their parents, food that is provided for all three meals of the day, a roof over their heads, and let’s not forget the constant evolution of technology that becomes more and more accessible as time goes on. This may seem like “the life,” but teenagers struggle with other things that seem to go unnoticed.
Right now our society is very social media oriented. Everything that anyone does is posted on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site. Even celebrities have fallen into the trap of constantly posting with their supposed “busy schedules.” Social media may be a means of business for them, or just a way to communicate with their fans, however what these celebrities do not realize is just how much influence they have.
Teenagers log onto their social media sites and see celebrities posting certain things, so they go ahead and try to emulate those with thousands of followers, hoping to be like them. Young people want to look, act, and almost embody the mind of their favorite celebrities. This leads to unconsciously developing complexes of them not being good enough, to obsessions with the goal of being like somebody, to a breaking point and some type of problem with their mental health.
Why is there such a big stigma of doing what celebrities do? The concept of peer pressure is something that doesn’t really go away. During the “coming of age” period in one’s life, one feels the need to want to fit in, but it’s basically a contradiction of society’s new stigma of being “different.” How can one be different if they are looked down upon for doing so. It’s almost as of teenagers are being told to think outside the box, but within the lines of a bigger box surrounding the original one.
Teens all over the world also struggle with expectations form their parents. Almost every parent wants their children to strive for greatness, even if that strive takes a little push from them. However, what if that push turns into a shove into the wrong direction. Millions of kids around the world struggle with the burden of meeting their parents’ expectations. Whether it be academic, athletic, social, whatever, it is important for parents to let their children come into their own.
I’m not saying let them grow without any values or morals, but if parents are telling their children what to do and how to do it for everything in their life then two things are going to happen when they go off to live on their own. Either the child will see the unlimited possibilities and turn into a wild child without a care in the world other than self-satisfaction, or they will be so scared that they don’t have anyone to tell them what to do, that they will not be able to function and shut down.
Parents, I know that you may see your children every day and think that everything is okay. Just know that they might be fighting a mental battle with themselves everyday while trying to balance everything you taught them, everything that society is teaching them, and everything that they are learning on their own. Experience is the best teacher, so let them fail and learn their own lessons. Just keep in mind that you can’t always be so hard on them. You have the ability to control your aggression toward your children. Unfortunately, society pounds on them as hard as it can, every single day.
Khara Vassell graduated from Gulliver Preparatory High School. She is now a sophomore at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and is a member of the varsity soccer team. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.