This weeks Teenage Spotlight is brought to you by Kai at It’s OK to be a glow stick! Thank you Kai for participating! If you are interested in participating please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey! I’m Kai and I’m 17. I live in a small village in the UK with my parents and siblings. I go to college as a full time student and I’m studying the psychology and development of children and young people. I aspire to be a counselling psychologist for young people in the future, as I think its a hugely overlooked area of the healthcare profession. I blog mostly about day to day life for me personally, expressing my view and opinions.
I’d like to say thank you to Stephanie for giving me this chance to appear as a guest on her blog. I feel privileged and this is a great opportunity for me. Thank you.
So, I was asked whats the difference between being a teenager in 2016 to 20 years ago?
This is only my personal view and perspective and I can only speak for myself and how I feel, everyone is different!
I always picture in my head that life 20 years ago was all high contrast colours (because this is what the older films tend to be like vision wise) and slow motion. I know that that wasn’t what life was like but that’s how I’ve always imagined it. From what I’ve heard from my parents music was a relatively new thing and because of this it was huge! My step dad said when he first started work saved for 9 months so he could buy himself a radio. 9 months?! That’s crazy!
Money has changed a lot over the last 20 years. 20 years ago, £10 would now be the equivalent to approximately £22.89. In that 20 years money has more then doubled its value. I remember my mum saying she used to save her Mars bar money for a whole week and be able to afford a new pair of shoes! There’s no chance that saving my chocolate bar money today for a week would get me anywhere near buying a new pair of shoes! I find it quite amazing if I’m honest.
I hear stories from my parents and I know It’s already been said before but my parents could get away with a lot more then I could now, 20 years on. A recent conversation I’ve had with my mum is that she was engaged at 17 which I found quite a shock, because I’m now 17 and I know for a fact that she would completely flip out should I come home saying “Mum, I’m engaged.” It just wouldn’t happen would it?
Technology has also improved dramatically and everything is in HD. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this though as I think it a bit of a given to say that technology has improved haha.
I will never be sure of exactly what it was like to be a teen 20 years ago, obviously because I wasn’t here.
I am however here, now. Being a teen is 2016 in many ways isn’t easy. We’re still growing, we’re still learning. We’re faced with so many overwhelming options/decisions and expected to have answers to questions about the rest of our lives. We’re still learning who we are and what we want.
I get told all the time that I’m too young to know such things and I’m being unrealistic when I make big decisions for myself. Maybe its just my parents, I don’t know.
Nowadays in the UK it’s law that we stay in full time education until we are 18. LAW. Even if it wasn’t law, if I suddenly told my parents that I was quitting college and starting work I’d get told something a long the lines of ‘you cant throw away your education, you’ll regret it in the future, do you really want to be having to pay of debt for the rest of your life?’ Well, no. I don’t but just because I leave college it doesn’t mean this would definitely happen right? I’m not suggesting anyone should quit college or school, because, it is law, remember that guys! But I do think that if school/college is really that bad for you ie you’re being bullied or similar, then you’re never going to get anywhere or learn in that environment are you?
My mum barely showed up at school half the time, she just about scraped through her exams which I believe were O levels back then (?) she started work at 16 and has never been back to education since. My mum is one of the smartest people I know and I’m not just saying that because she’s my mum, she is honestly super smart! I think this says something about education. I mean we’re expected to sit in a classroom all day for 5 days a week because the rest of our lives depend on it, being told this just adds to the pressure!
I’ve just noticed, I’ve compared myself with my mum a lot haven’t I? My mum and I don’t have a great relationship for multiple reasons which I wont go into. Its just a kind of personality clash I guess?
My mum isn’t and never has been very good at understanding feelings other than those of her own. She’s also not very good at understanding that as I’m growing up my interests are changing. Now I’m 17 my Mum still thinks I want a bunk bed just because I wanted one when I was 7. When I explained to her I no longer desperately want a bunk bed she looked heartbroken.
I think most parents, mine especially, find it difficult to accept the fact that society has changed a heck of a lot since they were teenagers and it will continue to change! We all need to learn to be open and accepting of unfamiliar things. Just because it didn’t happen 20 years ago doesn’t mean it can’t now and I think not being willing to accept this only makes it harder.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a parent, I am certain its incredibly difficult and to all those parents out there, I think you’re amazing just for wanting to be parents!
If I could give my mum a message or any other parent who is struggling with the fact their child is becoming an adult I would tell them to give us space, understand that 99.9% of the time we are feeling overwhelmed and confused, understand that we might not have the same interests that we did when we were 7. Ask us how we feel but be aware that half the time we don’t know the answer. Please never assume you know how we are feeling. Believe us when we tell you big things about us. Trust us to make decisions for ourselves, even if it goes wrong, never blame yourself for our mistakes, we will never learn unless you let us make our own mistakes. Most importantly, love us, show us, don’t just tell us.
This is only my experience and my thoughts, thank you all for reading!