The lives of teenagers seem to be full of contradictions: the feeling of emptiness versus being full of emotions, the need of company versus social anxiety, possibilities versus doubts. For adolescents, when the landscape is blurred it is difficult to come to their senses. Furthermore, parents in their attempt to help, they tend to put more pressure on them. The question remains: how to become a useful guidance in this unprecedented era?
Given the situation, it is easy to blame technology and its apparently unlimited world that disconnects teenagers from their actual lives. And though it is a major cause of anxiety nowadays, its success can also be one of the worst consequences of this overwhelming era.
Taking a look at the previous generation’s way of living, there is a completely different overview. Life was planned in a straight line: choose a profession, study, start a job in a company, grow in that workplace, get married, save some money, get a house, start a family. Those were the aspects of life that they had learnt from their parents and for a long time that was the only way of living. But then again, they didn’t teach the same things to their kids. So, what happened in the middle?
First thing’s first: there is no such a thing as security when it comes to work and saving money. Companies do not give their employees the conditions to develop their careers and they do not keep them motivated: certainly, the pyramidal model is obsolete. Also, growing up does not mean getting better jobs or earning more money anymore. Many fields are not well paid and even in the privileged ones, you need some luck to be in a good position. And even then, you cannot escape from flexibility, competition and the difficulties that come with a web work system.
But there is something else. Enlightened by the promises of a better future, this generation’s parents wanted their children to believe in better possibilities. That is why they chose to raise them with the permission of doing “whatever they wanted to do” in terms of studies and professional careers. But, of course, they still expected them to succeed on their own terms.
Then again, putting ourselves in this generation’s shoes. How to achieve their parents’ goals by doing whatever they want? It is a lose-lose equation. In their minds, no matter the way of living they choose, they will, in the end, disappoint them. Also, it becomes very difficult for adolescents nowadays to know how to narrow their ideas when they are overstimulated by so many possibilities. That is where technology does play a role, since it works as a promise-window to other ways of living, dressing, and working. In that sense, technology is a constant reminder of what they are not doing, instead of just a guide or an entertainment.
Getting through anxiety with a disfavorable environment is not an easy task. It requires a lot of self-knowledge, company, safe relationships, patience and, in some cases, professional help. Nowadays, what this parents’ generation can offer is perspective and the best possible guidance, even though today’s issues are not the same as yesterday’s.
In this in-between generation, one thing is for sure: breaking rules and getting mental health is not simple. But with the tools gained, the path for the next generation looks indeed hopeful.