5 Things Teenagers Wish You Knew About Them

Dear reader,

Hi.

If you’re a teenager reading this, I feel you’ll relate.

And if you’re not a teenager, then I sure hope you’re taking notes.

To begin with, the word ‘teenager’ instantly brings to mind mirror selfies and Tiktoks, doesn't it? 

We, teenagers, are well-accustomed to the notions society loves to stifle us by. While many of these notions do hold, a larger part of them don’t. And somewhere, somehow, the world fails to see that. 

You’re probably wondering: Do I have a point or is this another classic “confused adolescent rambling” I’m boring you with?

Fortunately, no. 

My words here have a clear direction, thought process, and purpose.

This, coincidentally, can also be said about a lot of adolescents out there.

I’m aware that we’re perceived as distracted, confused, self-centred, and aimless individuals with a penchant for recklessness and rebellion. Adults complain of catching tartars once children hit the magical age of 13, and everything seems to spiral downhill.

I have grown up listening to adults say- “Negativity is stronger and it stays longer.” These words have never resonated with me more than they do today. The fact that everybody only focuses on the negative, and difficult parts of adolescence is saddening. Like everything else in life, there are two sides to the coin. I know that focusing on the good won’t magically negate the bad, but it certainly will take a lot of the heat off us, and encourage the bad to be good, and the good to be better.

Tired of society’s misconceptions and coloured views of teenagers, I seek to bring forth a side of teenagers that’s always overlooked. Despite being a sixteen-year-old, I’m actively working toward my future, and I know that many others like me are also ambitious, driven, and dedicated. 

With that being said, here are 5 confessions from today’s teenagers to you:




1. We Love Social Media, But It's Not the Centre of Our Universe.

Although this one may be a hard pill to swallow, it's true. We, teenagers, are heavy social media users, with some even bordering obsession.

Yet, it isn’t the main focus of our lives. Social media, for the most part, is just an avenue for us to enjoy creative content, catch up with the world, relate to others like us, and of course, have a hearty laugh when a video manages to tickle our funny bone. 

Several of us use it productively. The bottom line is, even if we don’t use it productively, it still doesn't make up our entire selves. We’re more than the reels we watch, the selfies we take and the posts we like, you know?




2. We May Seem Too Occupied with Our Physical Appearance, but There’s a Reason.

There’s no denying that teenagers are fixated on aspects of their physical self, be it the way their hair looks or the number of pimples scattered across their faces. 

Adults complain of being tired of this bodily hyper fixation that teenagers cannot move past, but, trust me, it's a heavier cross for us to bear.

The reason behind our obsession with bodies has largely to do with science. Hormonal changes within the human body are amplified during adolescence, and it takes a great deal of time and effort to understand these changes and live with them.

I’m a person who really cares about how my body and face look. Comments on my body, intentional or not, affect me. Many teenagers like myself struggle with self-esteem and body image issues, and it’s difficult to snap out of it.” – Anonymous.

Media too plays an enormous role in building our self-esteem and body image. What I’m really trying to say is that the next time you find yourself frustrated with a teenager’s monomaniac obsession with their body, don’t invalidate them.

The important thing to know and remind teenagers’ is that their worth does not rest on the size of jeans they wear or the percentage of body fat they have, and while it may seem like physicality is the make or break point in their lives right now, it won’t always be. 

People will look beyond their countenances and appreciate the kind hearts, intelligent brains, and loving souls that lie beneath the exterior. 

It isn’t easy to believe this, but we’re trying.




3. Family always matters.

Whoops, looks like I’m unscrewing a whole bottle of unswallowable pills at this point, but it's high time. Films and Netflix have successfully led the world to believe that teenagers do not care for their families, but that's a bald-faced lie.

“I don’t know if this is super rare for adolescent-parent relationships, but my relationship with my family has been amazing. There are times that we don’t connect and face problems because of differing opinions and the age gap, but I’ve always had a great bond with them.” - Pia Oza, student, 16.

Pia’s words refute the general perception of parent-adolescent relationships. Some of us have wonderful bonds with our parents, as shocking as it may sound.

The sight of parents and teenagers screaming at each other has become very common these days. It isn’t the complete truth, though. Sure, we fight; we fight a lot if I daresay. 

But when everything’s said and done, we still need our families. Fights, disagreements, and disappointments are by-products of any relationship. I’m privileged enough to call my parents the pillars of my life, but I know many cannot. 

Which, if anything, further proves my point. Every teenager needs their family. Familial relations are highly contextual, but the simple fact remains that a teenager cannot do without their family’s love, support and affection.




4. We Do Not Enjoy Faltering, and No, We Aren’t Trying to Sabotage Our Lives.

I’ve no doubt that regardless of age, you’ve either heard, thought, or said that “teenagers are hellbent on destroying their lives.” Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t actually trying to sabotage our lives.

Do we like making our decisions? Yes.

Are those decisions always right? No.

Does that mean we shouldn’t be allowed to? Of course not.

Making mistakes isn’t a hobby for us. But what we do like is the freedom and space to make decisions by ourselves and learn from them. We should be held accountable for our actions, shown the path ahead, and allowed responsibility for our choices. After all, we all want to succeed in life and carve an identity for ourselves. 

“So far, my goal in life is to get into a good college, study well and get a great job. Obviously, my goals will change with time, but I ultimately aim to live an independent life without having to rely on anybody else for the things I want.” - Eshannika Mishra, student, 16.

We know that we won’t always have the right solutions to everything, but we do have the power to figure it out. And that's not to say we can do it without guidance. 

We are the future, you know? We are where it begins.” — Pia Oza.

Pia, a talented writer and one of my biggest inspirations, perfectly exemplifies what I’m trying to convey through this article.

 As she says, we are where it begins. We, teenagers, are beings with dreams and aspirations. Sometimes circumstances don’t allow these dreams to take wings. 

Yet, we’re trying. 

Pia, Eshannika, and millions of other teenagers, including myself, are working tirelessly, because the best way to predict your future is to create it, right?

Our path is undefined. We may err, and we most certainly will fail, but we shall always bounce back.





5. We’re a Work-in-Progress and We are Trying to Change.

As a teenager, I understand that we aren’t the easiest to deal with. I won’t try to hide the fact that we can be incredibly confusing, stubborn, and bothersome. We don’t always listen to others even if they’re right, and we can be foolishly headstrong about our opinions.

But what everybody who’s not a teenager now needs to remember is that they were once in the very boat that's rocking us along now. Teenagers don't want to be sympathized with, or given everything they ask for without a debate. No, not at all.

What we want is respect. We know the world won’t always agree with our opinions, but we’re willing to find a middle ground. We crave both; the freedom to be responsible for our choices AND the opportunity to deal with the consequences. Don’t make our decisions for us, teach us how to.

“Adults should know when to deal with teens firmly, and when to let them relax. Reading too much into our actions even when they’re perfectly safe, and trying to control us simply because of moral and generational differences can cause conflicts. The right balance should be struck between protectiveness and freedom.” – Nishita Bajaj, student, 16.

Let teenagers stumble, let them hurt, but most of all, let them get back on their feet again.

Adults never forget to remind us of the fact that we’ve barely seen life. So, I’d like to remind them the only way we can see life, is if they let us.

Teenagers, for the most part, know where they’re going wrong, what's causing it, and how they can change, and the ones that don’t can always figure it out. A little faith can go an astronomically long way.

All we ask from the world is to be like the gentle river that urges us forward, not the immovable mountain that blocks our way.

Written By: Sana Shaikh

Edited By: Nidhi Jha