Continuing the Conversation about Teenagers

Teens_wordcloud.png

Continuing the discussion from our Inspire! Event on Teenagers, we asked for people in attendance to reflect on their Teenagers years (current and past). The word cloud grouped the responses.
Here were the answers:
Reflections on Being a Teenager (now or in the past)

  • Academics are key

  • Finding identify

  • Overwhelmed

  • Feeling like friends were forever

  • Working, studying and more

  • Thinking I knew everything about life

  • Slumber parties

  • Strong lasting friendships

  • Counting on family for love and acceptance

  • Cars

  • Thinking I know everything but finding out I know nothing

  • Stress

  • Expectations

  • Failure/fear of failure

  • Fear of being unsuccessful

  • Freedom

  • Low stakes

  • Best experiences of my life

  • Stress

  • Support

  • College

  • Fun

  • Over-extension

  • Theatre

  • Expectations

  • Searching for independence in the wrong ways

  • I really don’t care

  • Fighting

  • Weed and alcohol

  • Friends and family

  • School

  • Losing friends to gangs

  • Social media

  • Fun

  • Getting locked up

  • Drama

  • Image

  • Fear of missing out (FOMO)

  • Drug abuse and made up excuses that it helps

  • But honestly marijuana has helped me through a lot

  • Took parents for granted

  • Drug use

  • Why can’t I be like everyone else?

  • Stress

  • Pressure to succeed

  • Learning how to deal with new struggles

  • Fear of failure

  • Money

  • Responsibility

  • Family

  • Fit in

  • Keep to yourself

  • Not be too loud

  • Poor

  • Ugly

  • Fat

  • Lonely

  • Not being good enough

  • Insecure

  • Family

  • Sexual abuse

  • Trauma

  • Drug abuse

  • Stress

  • Taken from family

  • Physical abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Money

  • Unsure

  • Faking it

  • Judged

  • Friends

  • Too busy

  • Confusion

  • Stress

  • Misunderstood

  • Hitchhiking on a lonely road

  • Alone

  • Friendships

  • Active – but often uncertain

  • Friends – but sometimes cliquey

  • Trying out behaviors and attitudes

  • One teacher who cared

  • Would not do it again

  • Confused about my place and direction of my life

  • Performance

  • Bullied

  • Naive

  • Teased

  • Stress

  • Abuse

  • Pain

  • Disappointment

  • Sadness

  • PTSD

  • Depression

  • Peer pressure

  • Bad friends

  • Drug abuse

  • Self harm

  • Best buddies

  • Family

  • Love

  • Being part of a team

  • Amazing teachers

What’s better about being a teenager today?

  • Access to information, greater knowledge

  • Cell phones

  • Stories being shared

  • Entrepreneurial opportunities

  • Technology

  • Support in school for different abilities

  • Social awareness, cultural sensitivity and diversity, openness to differences

  • Less stigma regarding mental illness

  • Available help


What’s harder about being a teenager today?

  • Overexposure to unhealthy elements

  • Pressure to solve the future

  • Peer pressure

  • Academic and social pressures

  • Substance access, pathway and abuse

  • External fears

    • School shootings

    • Being out at night

  • Parental micromanaging and over-protectiveness

  • Date rape

  • Exposure to pornography, more violent pornography

  • Gang activity

  • College expectations and cost

  • Normalized and desensitization to violence

  • Teen pregnancy

  • Lack of sex education


How are adults part of the problem?

  • Minimizing problems

  • Solving instead of listening, rescuing

    • Teens don’t learn to solve problems and gain confidence  when we feel we need to fix it

  • Over-exaggerating issues

  • Not being glad when issues are brought to us

  • Helicopter parents

  • Stuck in our own generation

  • Not being culturally sensitive ourselves

  • Unrealistic expectations

    • Want teens to act like adults while being treated like a kid

  • Hiding our own humanness, conflicts, faults

How can we be part of the solution?

  • Transparency – share our own insecurity

  • Talk as a 2 way street and with empathy

  • Listen

  • Understand teens are capable, remember their creativity and resourcefulness

  • Research information and be informed

  • Be with your teen when they are hurting

  • Pass mileages – mental health, school

  • Teach independent living and life skills earlier, including money management

  • Dive into resources and refer to them

  • Work our own stuff out: therapy, self care, get help

  • Don’t act out ourselves

  • Recognize acting out as a sign of hope

  • Keep asking what we can do to help

  • Town Hall with Teenagers as topic and as speakers