I am the father of four very patient teenagers, two still living at home. They indulge my stream of dad jokes with a wry, sympathetic smile. My unfavorable comparison of their music tastes to the golden age of late-’70s classic rock is generally tolerated, perhaps with the occasional eye roll. But one day, their patience finally snapped after I delivered a particularly eloquent rant on how easy their lives were compared with my stress-filled adult existence. I wanted to swap!
My daughter and son staged what can only be described as an intervention. They sat me down at the dining table and explained just how stressful their lives were. It was an eye-opening experience.
Despite living with these young people and observing the ups and downs of their daily lives, I had still failed to grasp many of the sometimes subtle pressures — biological, social and psychological — that make being a 21st-century teenager so complicated. True, they may not have mortgages or dependents of their own, but that’s not to say their lives are always easy.
Here are just a few of the reasons your teenager’s life just might be more stressful than yours…