What is the biggest misconception about teenagers today?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 October, 2008, 12:00am

Rachel Haslam, 17, German Swiss International School

Parents think they understand our feelings by using the notorious phrase 'We were young once too ...' I believe this is the biggest misunderstanding parents have about teenagers because it makes our feelings seem insignificant. Although much of our anxiety comes from the same things, it doesn't mean all teenagers feel the same way about particular situations. Just because our parents were teenagers once doesn't mean they understand or that our feelings should be ignored or dismissed.

Vincent Wong, 17, Wah Yan College Hong Kong

Adults often think teenagers are spoiled when it comes to food, clothing and gadgets. They think we are only looking for enjoyment. Adults also tend to think teenagers are not as hard-working as they are because we seem to be carefree. But what adults see is only a part of the story. This generation may have tremendous advantages, but we also have to resist temptations and concentrate on our work. Once teenagers have a goal, we usually work hard to succeed, just like adults do.

Yoon Hur, 17, German Swiss International School

The biggest misconception is that we still live in the same era as our parents, with no change in lifestyle. The familiar 'I studied very hard at your age, see how successful I've become' speech is definitely repeated too often. I understand the moral behind it, but can't help thinking of the many distractions they didn't have to struggle with when they were young. Facebook is one of them. Academic competition is fierce and straight As are not so much achievements as expected standards, especially in Hong Kong. I wish parents would understand we face pretty tough challenges too.

Benson Chan, 17, Wah Yan College Hong Kong

The biggest misunderstanding is that school life is enjoyable and fun. Well, that's not quite the case. Teenagers have to deal with problems like poor relationships with family, friends and boyfriends or girlfriends. Not to mention low self-esteem, stress from the exam-oriented educational system, and high hopes and expectations from parents and teachers. In short, a teenager's life is definitely not an easy one.

Marie Neirynck, 16, German Swiss International School

Adults have this common misconception about teenagers being too laidback. They tend to think we don't take enough initiative to prepare ourselves for the future. This is not true in most cases. Many teenagers I know go that extra mile to achieve things they are determined to achieve. Of course, as adolescents, we like to enjoy our free time by going out or pursuing personal interests. That does not mean we aren't serious about our studies and our future. Personally, I like to spend time cooking for my family and I love listening to music, but I make sure I work hard as well.