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October 15, 2015

TBT: Teens on Display

TBT screamfreeAdolescence is just one big walking pimple.
(Carol Burnett)

I can remember the first time an adult helped make sense of my maddening experience of being a teenager. It was a school counselor who simply asked me what is what like being on stage all the time. Now, I was never involved in drama or theatre, so I asked her for clarification.

“Don’t you sometimes feel as if everything about you, from each individual hair to everything about the way you walk, is onstage for all the world to see?”

“Yes, that’s exactly the way I feel.”

“And everyone’s ready, at a moment’s notice, to criticize everything about your appearance, your words, your choices?”

“Yes! That’s exactly it! How’d you know?”

“That’s the way every teenager feels.”

She was right. And now, 25+ years later, with everyone holding a mass social media organization in their pockets, teens feel even more onstage. And we parents would do very well to remember that. This is why our teens have so much anxiety about clothes! So much anxiety about acne! So much anxiety about who they’re seen with!

And this is also why we as parents need to refrain from adorning all of our walls, background screens, and Facebook pages with nothing but our kids’ mugs. Home should be at least one place where our teens can simply be, without having to always be on display.

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