Teens in Troubled Times


High school life can be the best of times. It can also be filled with frustration and anxiety. Take rules like school dress codes. Trends come. Trends go. Teens follow the trends. Some even set the trends. We buy clothes for comfort and to look cool but those trends don’t always match someone else’s opinion of what’s appropriate and what’s not. These rules end up varying between administrators and teachers. There’s little consistency which leaves us even more confused and frustrated. One day you might get sent home for a mid-riffed shirt and the next, no one even notices. 


Why are rips in your jeans an issue? 

How are shoulders considered sexy? (who even came up with that?)

Why can the boys walk around with their underwear showing but a girls bra strap is inappropriate?


Let’s also consider other rules. Sure, most students will act like they don’t want or like the rules but there are some times when we wish the rules were more strict. Take lunch for example. We’ve got horribly long lines and extremely short time frames for eating. Students stand around in the line creating longer and unnecessary lines while some of us are stuck at the back of the line starving. 


Why are those that aren’t buying lunch allowed to just hang out in the line? 

Why aren’t they told to go sit down or at least get out of line?


Add to that the behaviors of some students – bumping, cussing, fighting. Not everyone acts like that but there are enough that do that mess everything up for the rest of us or make our learning difficult. That’s all on top of the everyday stress teens deal with anyway. We may be young but we have issues too. Some of us have dealt with abuse, domestic violence, come from single parent homes or foster care, struggle financially, maybe even wonder where we’re going to sleep at night or if we will even get to sleep. 


We fall asleep in class. We know it’s wrong but sometimes, we had to work long hours the night before. Maybe we chose to play games all night and are paying for it the next day. We don’t always make the best decisions but we are learning. We act out sometimes. Maybe it’s because of the violence we see in our home or around our friends. Maybe we don’t know anything different. We might be loud. We might be quiet. We might have trust issues. We might be afraid. Maybe we are hungry or sleepy. Maybe we miss our loved ones. Maybe we are struggling with depression, self-harm, eating disorders, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts. We are at risk for all of these and more. 


What do we do?

What can parents do to help?

What can the schools do to help?

Are there solutions?


What do you think?