10 Things That Are Misunderstood About Gen Z Teens

Op-ed

Teenagers are young adults who begin transitioning to become responsible adults. Teenage years are the most confusing yet simple years. Most adults don’t understand the perspectives of teens, and sometimes they perceive it in the wrong way. “They are so lazy and sleep all day!” cry the parents. On the other hand, teenagers just want to be understood. Obviously, neither side is 100% correct, because adults think they are right as they’ve lived longer and teenagers think they are right because they live in the present and have more knowledge about the real world. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things adults don’t understand when it comes to teenagers. What seems normal to adults, doesn't seem normal to teens and vice versa.

Due to the age difference, adults and teenagers don't get along naturally. Both generations have distinct perceptions of the real world that can be a little difficult to follow. Teenagers are still trying to figure out who they are, while parents and adults have already gone through that phase, but sometimes they forget what it's like to be young. That is the main reason why they don't understand each other. Below are 10 things that adults don't understand about teens.

1. Our lives are not stress free

Isn’t it frustrating when you come home after 7 hours of hard work and distress and you abruptly get told that you have nothing to stress about because you’re so young? We may not be working for hours to earn money to financially support our family or constantly worry about raising the kids, but we still have our own set of problems. Especially when parents and teachers put all the expectations on your shoulders to do good, you feel extremely overwhelmed and lost a lot. And the most important thing is, we also have a life that goes beyond the classroom and school. Along with that, we also care about our future and career.

2. We are not anti-social.

Teenagers always get told and encouraged to meet new people and expand their friend circle and at times, we are perfectly okay with doing that. However, sometimes we aren’t open to talking to new people. Nowadays, everything is virtual, including making friends. Teenagers spend a lot of time on social media and are able to find their own community.

3. We are aware of events happening around the world.

This connects to what I said in the previous statement. Since teens spend so much time chatting with their friends online, adults think we don’t know any of the current events happening globally. But we do. In fact, social media are often the place for spreading awareness and important news. We learn a lot from others and we can also do the same for those who don’t watch the news.

4. It’s not disrespectful to voice our opinions.

How many of you teens have been shushed violently every time we tried to explain our point of view because it was seen as “disrespect”? As we get older, we start to understand things that we didn’t know before. We also acknowledge things in our homes and environments that are wrong. When we try to explain ourselves, it is not to insult the adults but to feel heard and noticed.

5. We acknowledge your struggles.

Our parents give up their own dreams and lives in order for us to have a beautiful and successful life. While growing up, we often hear about those struggles because they talk about it often, which is good because it allows us to understand their struggles. However, sometimes they may say it in a manner that indicates that we are not appreciating them enough or being ungrateful. We are completely aware of the obstacles that they faced growing up.

6. Technologies are not only for social media.

Technologies have a lot of uses for people of any age. Wanting a phone or a laptop does not mean we only use it for entertainment. We can use it for education and other activities. I mean, in the last 2 years, everyone has been working remotely and it shows how much can be done from behind a screen.

7. We are not moody.

Ah, the stereotype we get categorized into. Teenagers get treated like children and are expected to behave like mature adults but when we do so, we get called disrespectful or moody. It can be heard for teens to navigate the real world with the whole confusion of who they’re supposed to be. With all the expectations on our backs, it can get really lonely and depressing. So there are often changes in our moods that occur unexpectedly.

8. We understand how the real world works

Parents try to teach us morals and values that used to fit in the society they grew up in. But what they fail to realize is that that world no longer exists. Time has changed and so have people. We are actually dealing with a new society now. We meet different people at school, we learn new things, we socialize and we know.

9. The stigma around teenage mental health

There is a lot of stigma around teenage mental health. Just because we are young and naive, doesn’t mean that we do not get stressed or have anxiety. In fact, teens experience anxiety more than adults. As mentioned earlier, teenagers have to worry about their school, grades, and life outside of school, which often leads to severe anxiety and depression. Nonetheless, when they manage to pluck up the courage to talk about their mental health, they get told “You are so young, you have nothing to worry about”. Often, these teenagers grow up into adults who refuse any help from others because they never learned how to.

10. Needing alone time

Maybe this is the introvert in me, but alone time is an essential need that most teenagers have. Again, that doesn’t mean we are anti-social. Sometimes we just prefer to remain in a calm and laid-back environment with just ourselves. It’s quite soothing if you ask me. Socializing isn’t always fun and forcing us to constantly be with people can make us distance ourselves even further.

Teenagers still have a lot to learn in order to become stable and mature adults. Adults should allow us to make mistakes and guide us to the right path so the mistakes aren't repeated. Parenting a teenager is not easy. But it's not always because they are "difficult". Sometimes they just need a place to express themselves. Adults and parents can try to understand teenagers by showing empathy and compassion. After all, we are still young and have many things to learn.

Mehek Azra
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Mehek is a Junior. She is a cool introvert and loves to spend most of her time in solitude but she is very friendly. Mehek loves to read in her free time and uses writing as a medium to express herself. She also has a wholesome humor.