Listen To Your Teen

Adults, Quit Stereotyping Teenagers

They're real people with real emotions, and you need to treat them as such.

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"You're only acting like that because you're a teenager."

"She's just at that age, you know?"

"I'm so tired of your teenage attitude."

Do any of these sound familiar?

Well, they do to me. When I was a teenager, I couldn't go a single day without hearing these kinds of stereotypical phrases from an adult.

It was like I was of a different species for 6 years of my life.

Everyone talks about the "dreaded teen years" which are thought to be the "terrible two's" on steroids.

It makes teenagers sound like a group of monsters when they're just human beings going through a crucial time in their development.

It doesn't help that teens are horribly stereotyped in movies and TV as being moody, rude, disrespectful and rebellious all the time. To viewers, it's as if they have no other identity.

Yes, I'm aware puberty plays a role in teen emotions and behavior. I was there once.

Between changing bodies, acne, weight gain, mood swings, peer pressure and feeling extremely self-conscious, I can understand how some behavior can be attributed to "the age".

But I think there's more to it than that.

The "teen years", or any "years" for that matter, will bring hardships.

Whether you're 13 or 30, being in love can feel like you're floating on a cloud, and breakups hurt.

Stress, whether it comes from a school project or a work project, is hard to deal with.

No matter how old you are, there are some things life just doesn't prepare you for.

Teenagers need love. Why don't adults know how to show it?

Adults, when your teenager is acting up, how do you handle it?

Do you talk to them in a calm, level-headed way, or do you blow up at them?

Do you listen to understand, or do you listen to judge?

Do you even listen at all, or do you dismiss their feelings (that all humans have) because they're "just at that age"?

Do you ask them about their life, interests, classes, hobbies, opinions, and feelings?

Do you set aside time to spend with them?

If someone asked me if anyone ever tried to get to know me at that age, my answer would be a solid "no".

Don't even get me started on the whole "teens are looking for love in all the wrong places" ordeal.

I understand why people get involved with things and people that are harmful to them.

When you're being judged for everything you do, constantly having huge amounts of pressure put on you, not understanding what's going on with yourself, it can be very scary.

Sometimes people just need to escape.

This can be prevented. Talk to your teens. Ask them about their lives. Provide them with a safe, judgment-free environment. Let them know you care.

If you don't want your teens looking for love in the wrong places, you need to show them love in the right places.

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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