If we gave birth to teenagers who then regressed, I truly believe the human population would quite literally face extinction.
The only way we, as parents, can mentally and physically deal with the onslaught of adolescent hormones is because we still remember the halcyon days of teeny tiny cute babies and toddlers that once gave us unlimited and unconditional hugs and melted our hearts with their toothless smiles.
Teens are basically selfish, moody, rude, ungrateful and quite terrifying beings. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day I could quite happily get in my car and drive as far away as possible from the evil beasts that dwell among us.
There are of course reasons for their mutation. They suffer from stress with school pressure, peer pressure and society pressure. They have negative body issues and self-esteem problems. Then there’s drugs, alcohol, sex and mental health issues all lurking in the background, not to mention cyber bullying.
It’s a jungle out there. And it’s overwhelming some days.
Delving into their mind is like stepping into a Salvador Dali painting. It’s surreal, misshapen and a bit scary and I have no idea what’s going on or how to interpret it.
But we’ve all been there. I recall I was a bit of a bitch. I was sulky and just wanted to hang out with my friends and disown my parents. I felt nagged at and misunderstood. So I get it.
The problem now is that today’s teen has a different lifestyle challenge to my 80’s teen era. They say life was simpler then. It was definitely a less complicated time. But does that make a difference or does it just make it different?
“I was made to walk 10 miles to school every day in two foot of snow, beaten with a cane by the headmaster, then sent home to bed with no supper and a good hiding. But I turned out all right.”
But did you Sharon? Did you really turn out ok? Or is that why you now have a twitch, down anti-depressants with your wine at lunch and lick the window every Tuesday?
I guess we did get more exercise. We walked or biked everywhere. Today the school run is like a NASCAR rally outside the school gates so Maria doesn’t get too tired, cold or wet.
There were no mobile phones of course. We had to literally talk to our friends face to face. We didn’t converse with emojis or pouting selfies. If we had bad hair or spots we couldn’t filter it out. It was real. It wasn’t fake.
We saved up to buy records. There was no Spotify or free downloads. We patiently made our Best Top Ten tape during the Charts on Sunday armed only with the pause and record button and a pencil.
There was no social media. You didn’t share your life with the world, you dodged the bullies or if all else failed you fought back. No one hid behind their keyboard or profile photo.
Life was a bit tougher then. But you know it’s still tough now. In a different way.
There’s no escaping the technology in existence today. We never missed what we didn’t have. And maybe kids don’t fully appreciate what they do have, but they are also bombarded with the negative aspects of an intensely high-tech world.
Phones; Youtube; Netflix; Instagram. Yes they can choose not to use it (or limit their use), but it’s there. Didn’t we just love our Walkmans or hunt down the kid who had Pacman at home.
Teens today have mobile phones. Like we had phone boxes and a 10p piece. Like my parents just had a curfew.
Teens today have unlimited music and movies. Like we rented a video from Blockbusters. Like my grandparents listened to the radio.
Teens today hang out in Whatsapp groups. Like we hung out at the roller disco. Like my grandparents were already working.
Evolution. Advancement. Development.
Although my teen era was so very different to the teen era today, sadly hormones don’t seem to alter much. Teens are still the same underneath the plethora of gadgets and gizmos.
Selfish, moody bastards.