It is every kid’s dream to grow up and every adult’s dream to relive their childhood! It’s those in-between ‘teen’ years that cause confusion – are we children or are we adults? We are either too young or too old to do something! We are in our ‘highly impressionable’ phase and our decisions can change our lives for the better or worse, depending on the choices we make. And most of our choices are a direct consequence of the relationships we foster. But many times our choices end up getting us into toxic, destructive relationships…
Friendships: All teens are prone to peer pressure – we need to `fit-in’ and be part of that hip group. The `toxic’ factor enters as that teen perceived as super-cool – the one who smokes, does drugs and drinks excessively. There is a high chance that one will get pulled into this vicious cycle, just because we feel the need to `fit-in’ and then succumb to the peer pressure. These habits, caused by toxic friendships, are addictive and hard to leave once you get hooked, resulting in the destruction of one’s potential and future.
Romantic Relationships: Today, the concept of `love’ is very different from then when our parents were teenagers. It is every teen’s fantasy to fall in `love’ and be in a relationship. To teenagers today, `love’ is about attraction, going on dates and holding hands. But all hell breaks loose when the relationship goes south. Fights, spite and hurt takes its toll – both mentally and physically. Many can’t handle break-ups and end up living with self-doubt and depression which causes the person to even become suicidal.
Relationships with Parents and Teachers: Today, `survival of the fittest’ is the norm. Competition is extreme and one has to work hard to make a mark. Parents are more competitive than children! While some do not impose their ambitiousness on children, others expect 100% results from their child. Things get ugly when the child is unable to perform under such pressure. This toxicity is a two-edged sword – the parents feel they are lacking in something and the child just feels worthless. Add to that the rebellious streak of the teen, and we have a recipe wreaking disaster between the child and parents. On the other hand, sometimes, unwittingly parents end up moly-coddling children – whether they are punished in school, or having fights with friends, or insistent on material possessions, the parents will rush to their rescue and cave in to their demands. But this leaves the teens without any ability to fend for themselves.
All teachers want the best for their students. But sometimes, they end up pressurizing the students in the form of degrading their performance which may end up causing the student to lose all interest in studies and could also lead to depression or anxiety.
A teenager’s life becomes hell when both, parents and teachers, impose unrealistic expectations on them. Combine that with the need to `fit- in’ with peers and we just crack under pressure and our self-esteem hits rock bottom.
Academic Relationships: A few decades ago, if you scored 60% in their Boards, you were treated like royalty. Today, even a 90% is not good enough to get into a college of one’s choice. The education system is rigged and college seats are sold. To get into the college of your choice, you have to be either rich or extremely brainy. If not, you’re in for heart-ache and disappointment. Disillusionment in the education system’s injustices breeds toxic contempt and demotivates us from striving to achieve our dreams.
Relationship With Finance: One of the most important determinants of a teen’s happiness is money. A teens source of income is their pocket money. However, there are teens who earn their own money by working part-time jobs. Living in an increasingly consumeristic society, most teens are brand conscious and it is the tag on the clothes that matters most. Most teens overspend and this habit proves harmful for them in the long run. If teens indulge in good habits like saving and not giving in to impulse buying, we will be able to form a rewarding relationship with finances, which will prove beneficial for our future and our parents!