Posted by: CeCe | February 10, 2012

Why being a teenager sucks

Since I’ve been writing so much heavy stuff lately, I thought I’d do something a little more light-hearted.  For those who don’t know, I have several teen-age nieces and nephews, all of whom I absolutely adore because they’re all amazing people.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’m growing older and I’m not able to be as close to them as I’d like, because let’s face it, there’s a huge chasm between adults and teenagers, and sometimes it’s all but impossible to traverse.  The truth is, as an adult, almost everything we say to teenagers is wrong somehow.  If we don’t talk to them, it’s because we don’t like them or we’re just awkward.  If we do, we often come across as being over-bearing, condescending, or just plain weird.  There are some things that never change.

So here’s why being a teenager sucks:

1)  You are expected to behave as an adult, and yet are still treated like a child in many respects.  You’re supposed to “be mature” and make mature decisions, and yet many times your decisions are made for you due to age restrictions and curfews.

2)  When you have an opinion, people tell you that oh, you’ll change your mind when you get older, as though you’re too stupid or naive to make up your own mind now.  The truth is that while some of your opinions and tastes will change, who you are at your core will not change.  I still hold some of the opinions I held as a teenager now, even though I haven’t been a teenager for more than ten years.  I also still like my music loud enough to burst my eardrums and I would totally wear the same stuff I wore as a teenager if I wouldn’t feel stupid.  I miss my rock t-shirts, baggy pants, and wallet chain.

3)   You are saddled with insecurities and weighted down with the expectations of society at the same time.  The expectations don’t change, but as a teenager, it still matters.  And in fact, it keeps mattering until you hit about 25-27, which is when you start to understand that even if you’re perfect in every respect, it will never be enough.  There will always be someone or something better.  That’s sink or swim time:  Either you let it get you down, or you become secure in your own skin.  But that’s a long way off.  Right now, what matters is that your car isn’t as nice as John’s, your hair isn’t as pretty as Nicole’s, you can’t swagger like Joe, and the guys don’t worship you like they worship Jennifer.

4)  People will tell you that these are the best years of your life.  They’re not.  Sure, in some ways being a teenager and living at home is nice because you don’t have to deal with bills, taxes, employment, and the stresses of marriage and kids.  But that doesn’t mean that your teenage years are the best years of your life.  You still have to deal with school and all the stress that comes with it, the insecurities, the meanness of people your own age, the condescension of adults, the alienation and frustrations, the curfews, and the rules.  Once you become an adult, the only rules you have to worry about are the laws of the land and the expectations of society.  While in some ways these are constraints, in other ways, you’re a lot more free.  If you want to stay out all night drinking or whatever, you can (though you may not want to if you have to work the next day).  You can stay up as late as you want.  You can play your music as loud as you want as long as the neighbors don’t complain.  You can have beer in your fridge and liquor in your cabinet if you want.  You can smoke in your own house.  You can vote.  You choose what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and how much.  If you don’t want to go to church, you don’t have to (though your parents may be very disappointed in you and may make sure they communicate such every time they speak to you).

5)  It is so hard to know who to trust.  Anyone your own age may betray you to get an advantage in the popularity department.  Any adult in whom you choose to confide may report your activities to your parents.  If you tell your school counselor, the results may not be exactly positive.  I have a story about that which I won’t share here, but I may tell my nieces and nephews what happened… when they’re 25.  Sorry guys.

6)  No one takes you seriously.  Unless Even if you display some serious signs of being a bona fide genius, people won’t take you seriously, because after all you’re a teenager and teenagers don’t know anything.  Everyone knows that.  Even though you’re formulating the person you’re going to be as an adult, and even though at least some of the opinions that you hold as a teenager will still be valid in your 30s and maybe later (I’ll let you know when I get there), no one takes you seriously.  Because you’re a teenager, and for no other reason.

But here’s the thing.  Some of your adult family members may take you seriously.  Sure, they’ll try to guide you and advise you, because that’s what adults do, since we’ve been there, done that.  You may not like being told what to do, or even having suggestions made, but the truth is, those who love you want to save you from making the same mistakes they made, even though the mistakes are yours to make.  The unfortunate thing is, many of those mistakes can lead to regret and permanent consequences (like, um, death), and that’s what adults are trying to save you from, but it’s so hard to tell you that, because it involves telling you more about our past than we feel comfortable telling.

Anyway.  My point is, being a teenager does suck, and many adults understand that.  Don’t think that just because they’re adults and you’re not that you can’t talk to them.  You may be surprised.



  1. This was so heart warming. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it.

    • Thank you, Sarah, I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

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