"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.