Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Three Top Fears Facing Teenagers Today

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We're going to try something new today: a guest blogger! I noticed a lot of other bloggers feature guest bloggers from time to time, and I think it's a great idea to spread the Internet real estate around, invite more voices into the mix. It will make this blog a lot more interesting, I think. So please welcome our first guest blogger EVER, Vanessa Van Petten! She offers a lot of insight into how teenagers think and why they act the way they do:

I have posted about the top 5 things teens worry about, but how about what teens fear? I asked a bunch of my teen friends and groups what they worry about most and summarized them here for you below:

1) Fear of Failing: I know, sometimes we act like we don't care. We act like getting a C on a test is no big deal, but usually this is a cover. We want to succeed and do well just as much as you want us to. We fear failing on an academic level, in our relationships, in our friendships and even on home projects. I think as a teen, our self-esteem and self-confidence are extremely delicate, so when we fail it is a real blow and we cannot recover as quickly as most adults.

2) Fear of Disappointing You: Yup, parents put a lot of pressure on us. Whenever I did badly on tests, I had to not only deal with my own disappointment of not doing well, but then announcing it to my parents and dealing with their anger/ disappointment/ punishment -- it's really rough. We also know that if you do not like our boyfriend/girlfriend, set of friends or art project, we also hear about it. If you do not like something we do, it feels like you do not like a part of us -- and that is something we fear.

3) Fear of Being Misunderstood: I mean this on many levels. Many of the teens I asked, said they feared friends not liking an outfit or the way they looked. They feared someone defacing their Facebook page and having gossip spread at school. They feared their parents over-reacting and freaking out about something they did. I call this fear of being misunderstood because, as teens, everything we do is about experimenting with our image, identity and persona. We want to perfectly portray who we are…yet, we do not even know that ourselves!
I think that parents can address these fears head-on with their kids. Ask them what they fear, bring these fears up -- even if they disagree with my list…at least they are talking to you about a deep subject!

Vanessa Van Petten is the teen author of the parenting book "You're Grounded!" She writes a parenting blog along with 12 other teen writers from the kid's perspective to help parents. Her work as a young family peacemaker have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, Fox 5, CBS 4 and much more!

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I completely agree with the third fear being misunderstood. I also work with teens and parents and the biggest fear for teen girls is having their friends not get them, and ditch them as friends because they aren't who they are suppose to be.

The girls often feel like they are walking on egg shells trying to be this or that. I try to help them understand that we can't be everything to everyone. Our personalities aren't going to appeal to everyone. So the best we can do is like ourselves and be ourselves and if others like us great if they don't, do our best to let it go.

I realize that this is harder than it appears. But what is the alternative?

If we concentrate on loving ourselves, just the way we are, others have a better chance of loving us that way too.

Debra Beck
Author of My Feet Aren't Ugly, A girl's guide to loving herself from the inside out.