The Troubled Teen (Life’s Mid-Semester Exams)

Everyone tells you it’s hard being a teenager. As soon as you get into high school, you can practically feel the world start to twist and bend, trying to squeeze you into a stereotype. In school, you may be a nerd, or a cool kid (there’s a whole spectrum of those now), or the quite type, or the science kids who don’t mix with the business students. (Yes, science geeks, you’re just too cool to hang with them.) Then there’s kids with weird hobbies – the girl who bursts out into song, the guy who’s always remembering the girl that got away, the over-efficient teacher’s pet, the one who always insists she didn’t study, and then gets the best grades in class.

Then at home, this process only continues. It’s as if all the forces in the world have banded together to fit you into another all-encompassing¬†stereotype: teenager.

Now when you mention something you don’t like, you’re being dramatic. When you complain about the food, you’re being picky. When you tell someone to just please leave you alone, you’re being moody. It’s as if you have this disease and everyone around you has aced its terminology. The media (Confessions of a Drama Queen, Easy A, Mean Girls, She’s All That – case in point) has played such a large role in this that now, as soon as little Whatshername turns 13, her parents start to sympathize with themselves! This self-sympathizing illness overtakes a parent’s brain with record timings. They now view her constantly as such:

Mom and Pop

It’s not like she’s going to listen to us anyway. Has she ever once cleaned her room? It’s obvious she’s going to run to do the first stupid thing that she thinks of. Oh my god, why is my life so difficult? Urgh, I just hope she grows up soon.

The emphasis is on growing up – getting rid of that pesky teen age as soon as possible. When you’re a teenager, you’re not responsible, caring, loving, intelligent, practical or capable. God forbid you be any of those things. You just can’t be. It is beyond the realms of comprehension. Those kids only exist in the movies (A Walk to Remember, the kids who get slammed into lockers in those high school teen flicks).

Now here’s my hypothesis:

With all this negativity being hurled at us as soon as those birthday candles are blown out, we poor kids have entered the battle zone, and we’ve got to fight for survival. It’s a psychological thriller. Most of us are too lazy to sit and analyze with the silly adults are acting all crazy, so we send our brains to Autopilot Mode. Now, Autopilot tells us a couple of things:

1. (insert name of parental figure here) is being irrational. He/she never listens to me, so why should I listen to them?! Okay, let’s just do everything opposite to what she says.

2. I’m hungry/I want to watch a movie/I want an iPod.

Cool Kid

Now, it’s the first point that usually causes all the problems. Granted, Autopilot isn’t the smartest idea, but hey, it’s just our way of self-sympathizing. So what happens now? We teens start to rebel by expressing ourselves in the wrong ways. Teens generally (this is the word that started the self-sympathizing plague) get so tired of whatever criticism, etc they face at home that they start focusing on life through a single lens: fun maximization. This is where all the trouble starts. Now it’s just a matter of drawing lots. Once you’ve got those fun-focused lenses on, even the best of kids is just a pebble’s throw away from (the first thing that comes to everybody’s mind) drugs, the wrong group of friends, bunking classes, and generally doing anything that would annoy everyone over 30.

What’s a poor kid to do?