If you were to ask a parent about how they feel about teenagers you will probably hear something along the lines of: “ugh, good luck!”. And parents aren’t the only ones who think this way, surprisingly, the majority of the world is doubtful of teenagers. But why do they feel this way? We are the future aren’t we? It’s not their fault that they feel this way though, a stereotypical teenager is lazy, moody, tired, pessimistic, and hopeless. But isn’t this idea a little outdated?
Today’s teens are breaking records for academics and creativity. But those aren’t the only things that we are above average in, we are also one of the most anxious generations ever. With this new development we have learned some scary facts, one being that students today have anxiety levels equal to those of psychiatric patients in the 1950’s. Frightening huh? Well how can we expect anything else when students are usually getting only around 7 hours of sleep when they actually need a full 9 in order to be a functioning student? This is a widespread problem that no one is talking about. Schools are starting as early as 7:30am meaning that students have to be waking up at 5:30am if they want to get to school on time. But then they would have to be going to sleep around 8:00pm, but how can they do that when they have around an hour of homework every night, on top of an hour to eat dinner, and any after school activities that are now being demanded by colleges across the nation? Not to mention the fact that our bodies release melatonin differently, an average adult will begin to feel tired around 9:00pm but teenagers shouldn’t start to feel tired till around 11:00pm. This means that a teenager waking up at 6:00am is the same as an adult waking up at 4:00am.
Not to mention the fact that for 5 days a week we are expected to sit in classrooms for hours learning information that isn’t being absorbed by the students anyways due to their lack of sleep. But when we talk to our parents about how we hate this we are often told about how much worse it is to be an adult with a desk job. They wake up early in the morning, go to work, sit at a desk for hours on end doing monotonous work and they have to do this nearly everyday. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
With issues like this it’s no wonder that there is an entire market making money off our our daily struggles (Fidget spinners). But when did we allow this to become okay? When did we allow scammers on ebay to make money off of a generation of anxious, sleep deprived teens? But that’s not to say that this isn’t partially our fault, after all we are the ones buying these little hunks of plastic thinking that it will solve all of our issues and make us happy. Oh, and there you go, that’s another issue. Happiness, the ultimate goal, the thing to outrank all success, love, and money, because as long as you’re happy none of that matters. But the problem with that is that families often expect the most out of their teenager: sports, straight A’s, close friends, and good behavior. But this is a lot of expectations to live up to isn't it? With only 24 hours in the day, when do we have time to be happy?
It's no wonder that today's teens are tired, anxious, and a little moody. So next time you hear a student complaining about how tired they are, maybe cut them some slack, because maybe, just maybe, it’s not their fault. Because they are living in a world that expects the most, while it gives them the least.