Teenagers are generally portrayed in a clichéd way. Don’t you think so? Ever since I became one, I felt so uneasy about the way teenagers are portrayed. I researched a lot and found out that there are more myths about teenagers than those daily tv soaps of saas-bahu.

Our teen’s behavior is uncannily similar our own and that’s what the fact is.
Surprised? Not if one remembers that ‘young adults’ are just what it says on the tin: adults.

Myth #1. Teenagers are irresponsible.

Oh yes? Like nearly everyone, teenagers behave as society expects them to behave. That’s pretty simple. If you are working as a teacher, you dress like a teacher, behave like a teacher and even think like a teacher. If you are an undergraduate, you dress like an undergraduate and often misbehave like one. Your age has nothing to do with your sense of responsibility.

Myth #2. Teenage is ‘just a phase’.

Life is a roller coaster with ups and downs, forwards and backwards. Everyone is moving at different speeds. You may seen a little boy behaving like an old man or an adult behaving childlishly.‘Teenager’ may be a convenient label – but choosing an item by its label is no guarantee that it fits. It’s not just a phase.

Myth #3. Teenagers are selfish.

No. No. Teenagers are no more selfish than anyone else. If some behave selfishly, it’s because they are spoilt. And why does that happen? Because in our society everything is judged by its cash value. Children are their parent’s biggest investment and it makes children more expensive than the house and car combined. There is no age of being selfish.

Myth #4: Teenagers are Cheaters.

As per a survey, young people are more critical of ‘cheating’ (ie moral) than older ones. Those who criticise teenage sexual behaviour often do so out of jealousy! teenagers behave as society allows. People don’t want their lives to be private. Society often intrudes in their lives and seize their private space.

Myth #5. Teenagers can’t be good parents.

Parenting skills depend on personality and upbringing. Older parents, having spent years thinking only of their own well-being, find it difficult to welcome a new and demanding individual into their lives. In the West today we frown on teenage parenthood. For most of human history this sort of thinking would have been seen as perverse.

Are we really any better than our parents?

Myth #6.Teenagers don’t want to Study.

Wrong. Like adults, some do, some don’t. Ok, teenagers don’t like being told what to read – but who does? And yes, they’re tech-savvy enough to handle a wide range of media. But I know they still read books because they write to me (mostly kindly!) about mine!

Myth #7. All Teenagers behave the same way

True, young people tend to be more open, straightforward and impetuous than older ones. Does this mean all of them – or even the majority – behave the same way? Of course not.

Take two extreme examples: a middle-class student, with little serious responsibility other than for their high school and college grades, and a girl married at 14 and parent of three children by the age of 18. The lifestyles and attitudes of these two teenagers couldn’t be further apart.

Myth #8: There have always been teenagers.

Of course there have always been people aged between 13 and 19. But the word ‘teen’ didn’t appear until 1899, and the use of ‘teenager’ was almost unheard of before the 1950s. But we love putting people into pigeon holes. As soon as ‘teenager’ had been invented, it was seized on by all kinds of 20+ experts – and we’ve been stuck with it ever since.

Myth #9: One can generalise meaningfully about teenagers.

This should be pretty obvious by now. The age at which people are thought ‘young’ changes over time and between cultures. And the way younger adults behave has also changed through history and according to community values.

But as we’re stuck with the word ‘teenager’, what do we do? We could use it in a non-judgemental way just to mean those aged 13-19. Or, better still, we could ditch it altogether and take people for what they are, not how they’re labelled.

Myth #10: Teenagers are a group.

Rubbish. A 16-year-old wins a gold medal in the pool – she’s a ‘woman’. The same person is bullied at school – and calls ‘child’ line. They then beat up an old lady – and are now a ‘yoof’! At school or college they’re sometimes a ‘pupil’ and sometimes a ‘student’. In a bad mood they’re branded ‘adolescent’.

Do you have any other myths about teenagers you’d like to debunk, or examples of teenagers changing the world or challenging stereotypes?


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