The Struggles of Being a Teen


Antonio Gulliem

Emotions of teens.


The stereotypical image of a teen is always seen as rebellious or troubled. The problem is, what about the overlooked side of these behaviors? There’s two sides to every story, how can this be any different to what teens go through? Teens are constantly fighting their own battles with pressure, mental illnesses, body image, etc; yet they are expected to keep up with society and be “normal”, healthy teenagers. 

The Struggles of Pressure

Pressure to Succeed

Students are often pressured to meet the expectations of success. This results in numerous negative things. Instead of this pressure helping teens, it’s doing the complete opposite. It discourages them from trying in school and overall makes it more difficult to succeed; not just in school, but also in sports. There’s multiple factors as to where adolescents get this pressure from: school, parents, and can even get it through social media.

Now social media gives teens the privilege of posting their success, whether it has to do with them graduating, getting some type of brand deal, etc. This results in comparing themselves to those people and completely ruins their self esteem. It makes them feel like they’re not worthy enough to ever have that type of success and eventually just stop caring and give up their dreams. Sometimes those people who post their achievements are seen as inspirational. Those people behind the screen who see them as a person to look up to, seem to have unrealistic high expectations of this person without even thinking about the fact that they’re actual human beings. The pressure social media gives people to seem flawless and perfect is absolutely horrible. Social media has become extremely toxic for society today. 

Getting pressured from school and parents adds even more pressure to adolescents. The expectations that teens are expected to live up to by schools and parents can become extremely stressful. Students are so desperate for the approval of their parents especially that they’re able to go to extreme lengths just to get this praise. Teens can go to extreme measures where they start to be dishonest and have unethical behavior. They start to cheat on tests or homework to seem like they’re getting perfect grades on things. Studies have shown that about six in ten teens have felt this pressure to get good grades. This type of behavior doesn’t just influence the way teens do school, it starts to happen outside of school too. Stealing or acting violently toward someone is caused due to the amount of pressure, and expectations adolescents are expected to live up to, whether it’s deciding a career path, or feeling like you have to get into the “best” school. These have slowly overtime become the main or common stressors that trigger this behavior. Mentally and physically this isn’t healthy for teens at all to have to deal with this amount of struggles. 

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure always ends up in causing unusual behavior and bad habits for teens. This pressure doesn’t simply happen in person, you can even get pressured online. Teens who give in to the pressure mainly do it to fit into the image society and people they’re surrounded by has placed on them. Adolescents feel the need to always have to fit in to be valued and accepted, the mere fact being that they feel like they would have bad consequences such as being made fun of. Friends are usually the ones that negatively impact on the behavior that teens endure as they keep getting influenced. Having friends around makes it more difficult to control impulsive and risky decisions that result in doing things teens aren’t so comfortable doing. Some of these acts can be getting pressured to try alcohol, drugs, skipping school, and overall putting health at risk while they don’t even know it. 


Mental Illness


Depression is a serious mental health illness. It causes a loss of interest in activities and a sudden feeling of sadness which can affect how teens feel, think, and behave. With depression teens can have emotional and behavioral changes which are the main symptoms of depression. Teens can start to feel hopeless, empty, sad, angry, annoyed, and worthless, when teenagers start to feel this way they tend to “act out.” They might have poor hygiene, weight changes, sleeping problems, and poor grades. Teens can also turn to alcohol and drugs to “help them” with their feelings which can also cause teens to self-harm and have suicidal thoughts. Depression can be caused by many things, some of the main things are childhood trauma, peer pressure, and academic expectations. More than 3 million teenagers deal with depression on a daily basis which can lead to serious problems. Teenagers often try to hide the fact that they have depression because they are trying to avoid it. Depression is a very common mental health issue and you would think that it can’t be that bad but it’s a horrible illness. 


What even is anxiety? What does it have to do with teens? Anxiety is being in a state of distress, nervousness, or uneasiness, of a certain situation with no certain outcome of it. This is an extremely serious issue that unfortunately is a common thing around the world for people to go through as young as being a kid to being an adult. Anxiety doesn’t go away overnight, it’ll stay and impact throughout your whole life, childhood, teenhood, and adulthood. However, sometimes people don’t even notice until their teen years. Parents sometimes do notice it on their kid but choose to ignore it since it usually doesn’t affect them much and kids tend to be able to control it. As those kids transition to their teen years, that anxiety resurfaces and becomes more noticeable and severe. Everyone gets anxiety for many different reasons; younger children are prone to be anxious about animals, the dark, or something happening to their parents. As time goes on, the anxiety starts to fall upon teenagers a lot harder and the situations become more distressful. During teenhood, anxiety creeps up on adolescents about their appearance in school or sports, changes in their bodies, and overall what people think about them. 

Symptoms With Anxiety 

  • Feeling nervous or worried all the time
  • Sleep problems
  • Extremely self-conscious
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling panic that something bad will happen

Social Anxiety 

Social anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder, and it affects 1 out 3 adolescents. This type of anxiety has a couple of strong physical symptoms. These symptoms include trembling, nausea, sweating, or even blushing. Social anxiety makes it common to experience some anxiety in new social situations, individuals with social anxiety disorder feel overwhelmed, self-consciousness, distress, and fear of judgment in daily social interactions. This can have a negative effect on teens’ everyday activities. They can stress out and overthink about events coming up days or even weeks before it happens. Teens can become isolated because they avoid social interactions which are caused by anxiety and fear. This type of anxiety can be really challenging for adolescents because of the isolation and loneliness it can cause. 

Struggling to Accept Ourselves


Appearance and the way they’re perceived is a huge factor on why teens get anxiety. Constantly having to worry about wether they look good or stupid. Teenagers’ minds and thoughts seem to be the biggest enemy. Instead of other people being the bigger bullies, it’s ourselves who are our biggest enemies. Adolescent’s minds constantly trick teens into thinking they look bad and this makes them insecure. Feeling insecure completely ruins the confidence of a teenager and overall starts picking on every little detail about themselves. They start overthinking about their appearance and soon they start hating themselves. This develops into always being anxious that people are judging you because of the way you look. 

Body Image 

Teens tend to have a hard time feeling confident with the way their body looks. They struggle with accepting their weight, height, or facial features. Teens’ bodies are constantly changing and unraveling. When you feel unhappy in your body it can be very upsetting and it can lower your self esteem. Especially when you have a reminder of what your body “should look like” on social media and when you hear about it all the time. You also always see what society thinks is the average body for teens. The media plays a huge role in why most teens are insecure about their body image; because the media is full of influencers, and advertisements that have the bodies that “everyone should have.” Seeing the standard body type can lead to teens feeling poorly about themselves and their bodies. A lot of teens also hear harsh comments about their body image that does affect the way they see their body. This can be particularly damaging for teens because they can start to try to change their bodies in unhealthy ways. Teens should not have to worry or be insecure about their body image because of what standards society has placed on us. 


Coping with teenagers isn’t always the easiest job. Sometimes when a parent tries to help, it either immediately goes downhill or it goes good. It always depends on how you approach the problem with the teen. How do you help a teen? Teens can be very sensitive about the struggles they face. There needs to be a certain approach so that teens don’t shut off as young adults often try to reject the help of others when confronted with their problems. To help teens make sure you listen without being judgemental, avoid belittling their emotions, don’t compare their feelings to others, and make them feel supported. Always make sure to use the right words and think before you speak so that you don’t say something that will trigger them. Their struggles should become one of their biggest priorities, meaning going through the problems with them. 


Unfortunately, the struggle of adolescents comes from everywhere nowadays. Whether it’s from pressure, mental illnesses, something personally , or social media, they all affect teens one way or another. Pressure doesn’t just happen personally, people from social media can affect more with the expectations people are constantly putting up. Mental illnesses play a huge part in the struggles dealt with today. It affects more than one would think and sadly it’s so normal that some people can’t even take it into consideration that teens are going through something. Body image isn’t such a light thing, this affects adolescents personally that leads to other struggles then more unnecessary problems appear for teens to deal with. Overall, the struggles teens constantly go through truly affects them for their entire life and imprint on the teen’s future. All of these struggles are the reality of being a teen, even though it’s mentally draining they find a way to push through it. 

If you are struggling with suicidal ideation or suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. You are not alone. Talk to Ms. Reddingius, your teacher or call the suicide hotline number: 800-273-8255