Times have changed since I was a young girl growing up. I didn't have a phone, I didn't have as much access to the internet as people do now and I guess it just was an all around different time. The other day, my little sister turned 14, and I can't help but notice all the differences between how she's growing up and how I did. This isn't specific to my little sister, of course, but in general, young girls today have a whole new system in which they operate, and some of it is discouraging to see.
I work at a library, so I see the people who walk in and out of there every day. I see how they act, I hear what they say and overall, I can see how they interact with others. Almost every pre-teen/teen has a phone in their face, which makes them distracted from the real world around them. How can you focus on one thing when you're constantly distracted by another? I didn't get a phone until I was in eighth grade. I didn't have as much access to the internet as they do now, so I wasn't constantly worried about what everyone else was doing. Now, young girls are always looking at images of celebrities and other public faces, and seeing what they're doing/acting, and it's impressionable. For some reason, young girls this they have to live up to these expectations in order to be liked by boys or anyone else. When I was a pre-teen, I wasn't worried about boys at all! I was reading, watching Disney Channel or drawing.
I guess you can say I'm more conservative. Conservative in the sense that I don't want everyone else to see my nooks and crannies mostly because I don't like seeing them myself; I'm old fashioned. When I was younger, I wouldn't be caught dead in some of the outfits these girls get away with. My mom wouldn't let me out of the house, either, for that matter. I was perfectly content with my t-shirt and Converse. Now, I'm all for wearing what you want and blah blah blah at an older age, but I think when you're a young girl, it's different. There's no reason a 14-year-old should be dressing in super short shorts, or some kind of belly top for any reason. Even the young girls on TV dress that way, which makes it worse. They go on YouTube and learn how to do their makeup, which is great, but they shouldn't expect that they need to look that way in order to be beautiful. It's not their fault, it's what they think society wants them to wear, and they think that's what will get them a "boyfriend." Why they're even concerned about getting a boyfriend at 14 is a whole other story, but still. I'm not even going to get started on "relationship statuses" of pre-teens/middle schoolers, because that's a whole other story in itself as well.
When I was younger, I was disciplined a lot differently than my little sister is now. Many kids these days don't care about getting in trouble. They do what they want, not all of them respect authority, therefore they could give a care about consequences. Again, working at the library, we've had our fair-share of teen riff-raff. They've talked back to us, laughed when we've tried scolding them, called us names. It's ridiculous! Many young teens don't have respect for themselves or anyone else, for that matter. If I was say to a teacher or anything, I knew I was going to the principal's office. They still might do that today, but the difference is they don't care. It doesn't change how they're going to act or anything of the sort. It just makes matters worse. So, then what do you do?
There's also a work ethic that people that age should start developing, but I don't even see that! They're used to getting things from their parents, so why should they do anything other than that? I started working when I was 16. I didn't wait. I knew I wanted to make my own money and do my own thing. A lot of times today, young teens just want to have fun. Yes, I understand that they can't work until they're 16 legally, but in the meantime, they could be mowing their parents lawn or watching a younger sibling or cousin, something like that. They're just lazy. They spend their time in the virtual reality of the internet and social media, that they can't see reality. They have no clue what reality is, and they think they know everything when they can recite someone else's opinions about something that they saw online. They just talk with no recollection of what they're actually saying, and they say what everyone wants to hear.
I see my 14-year-old sister talk about all these friends she has that I've never met. She never hangs out with them, I've never heard of them until the day she brings them up in some conversation. What is that? Hs the definition of friendship changed as well? She has maybe seven "friends" but not one "good friend." She doesn't hang out with people, and I don't understand that, either. When I was younger, we would walk around the neighborhood and ring the doorbell of a neighbor and play. Now, they rarely make the effort. When they do hang out, they talk about boys or the latest middle school gossip that no one should care about at 14.
My point in this article is that pre-teens/middle schoolers are growing up too fast. They see how people seven years older than them act and how they look, and they think they need to be like that even though the life of a person who is 18 to 20 years old is completely different than that of their own. They shouldn't even be compared as similar at all! They're using slang that no one cares about, they're drinking coffee, doing who knows what with their friends and it's just scary to see. I just don't want my sister to feel she needs to be like everyone else, which is something that is common for young people. I don't want her to think she needs to conform to their likes and dislikes and their opinions. I wish I had the luxury of having no responsibilities, but it's just not realistic. She needs to be herself and realize that life is too short to grow up too fast.