ALL THAT MATTERS TO A TEENAGER
'I cannot have my own beliefs; society doesn't give me this lease
And these societal norms are depriving me of my mental peace'
According to Jean Piaget, children construct their minds and grasp the moral and cognitive values in response to the social environment around them. Teenagers, 'the young adults and the grown-up children' are the manifestation of all the information they collected as children. A teenage boy suppresses himself and prevents himself from expressing his fears and insecurities because he has been taught not to cry when young and this "boys don't cry" attitude remains with him throughout his life. Boys are expected to keep all their problems and pains to themselves as they are supposed to be dealing with them all by themselves or else they are weak.
A teenage girl is timid, shy and conscious stricken during those 5-7 days of the month when even though she is suffering from a lot of abdominal pain and going through random mood swings, she is not supposed to have that red spot on her white skirt. She is not supposed to be talking about her periods to anyone and if someone comes to know what she is going through, she must just go and die out of shame. Where did all this come into a teenager's head from? Well, then, a teenage boy should not have had the first important cry of his life because he is not supposed to cry and hence probably the crying boy should never be born. And having ovaries is a curse? Well then, this curse blessed the entire world with all the living people we have now. Thus, a teenager wants to have a sense of security in his/her life. He wants to live a life without any fear of the judgments that the society would pass if he didn't abide by its beliefs. The boy wants someone to share his thoughts and feelings instead of just keeping them to himself and suppressing his emotions. The girl wants someone to comfort her and handle her mood swings instead of leaving her all alone to deal with it and asking her to hide something universal.
We all encounter people saying that adolescents need love. This love need not be the love of the opposite gender but is firstly from the parents. If the adolescent receives all the love that he/she needs from parents, the world is a happy and secure place for him/her. But in the opposite case, the child develops feelings of self-doubt and has trust issues as he/she finds it hard to trust anyone he meets. Many times, adolescents are witnessed complaining about being treated like a baby and the other times they are infuriated due to lack of support and communication. At the teenage, the child desires acceptance from the world in addition to the acceptance and love of the family. He wants the person he/she likes to like him/her. If the thing is two-sided, they start expecting certain things from each other. A girl may not want her best friend to treat other friends in the same way he/she treats her. Taking the same example, teenagers may lookout for someone who calms their souls and put their insecurities to rest.
Wanting acceptance from people around, the teenagers get self-obsessed and mold their behaviors as if there exists an imaginary audience. A girl may get worried because of the pimple on her face and the boy may be upset because he doesn't have a fully grown beard. Girls may want to rock the latest fashion trends whereas the boys may want a masculine body. Teenagers do so for acceptance, sometimes not by society but perhaps by a particular human and we do find them hitting the beaten track sometimes.
The coming generation in today's world needs to understand that happiness at the individual level lies beyond the stereotypes and beliefs which are being followed and carried forward by us just because we have been told to. The fundamental notion of happiness and acceptance lies in understanding and supporting each other through the things that the society perhaps is shameful about - be it a boy who is crying due to a severe mental breakdown or a girl who is going through massive pain during the first two days of her period. At this particular age, acceptance and understanding is frequently less asked and anticipated from parents. Teenagers feel that their friends are the ones who can relate to their problems with ease and hence can understand then better. A girl may turn to another girl who will understand her better than someone else. A boy will better understand another boy’s emotions when he is expected to stay strong and quiet about his grief. But sometimes, similar sex people too are less expected to provide support as the commonality in problems yields way to peer pressure and belittling of personal issues. Understanding of the opposite sex is something that is then desired but due to orthodox families and strictness of parents, this acceptance remains wishful thinking for some. But if life provides an opportunity for the latter to happen, we must respond in the desired way. If a boy cries in front of a girl, the boy may expect the girl to be supportive enough to handle him through his rough times and if a girl talks about her problem, she expects the boy not to judge and restrict her like the society and perhaps her own parents. Be it a boy or a girl, the problems though are different, but both of them long to be understood.
Academics, career decisions, etc. will all be sorted if a teenager is well - mentally and psychologically. Thus, all that matters to a teenager is love, understanding, acceptance, support, and care. All these attributes are complementary to each other and they put a teenager's insecurities to rest and his dreams to flight.
A teenager knows what's wrong and what's right,
His/Her own beliefs and societal norms sometimes do fight,
He/She is confused and helpless but he/she wants his future to be bright,
His/Her pillow knows the truth for he/she cries himself to bed every night.
But he/she knows that someday he/she will find,
Someone caring, understanding and kind,
Who will guide him/her in the dark blind?
The one who will bring peace to his/her mind."