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Why do teens feel alienated?

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December 05, 2011 7:39AM

Feeling alienated is a normal state for a teen. Being an adolescent, then a teenager is difficult in the best of circumstances. Suddenly your body is flooded with hormones causing physical changes to take place. I know, you learned this all in biology or sex education. But there's a whole lot more going on.

These hormones are also sending your emotions on a roller coaster ride. Your friends that are in the same situation are trying to tell you what this means and what that means; but really, they're just guessing. As your feeling swing up and down and round and round, try to remember that your body will eventually adjust. There is no special meaning in your heightened emotions, just a learning curve to try to fit them into life. The hormonal activity and the emotional roller coaster are the part that makes it so important to fit in; to not feel alienated from your peer group.

Next, society is trying to make your feel alienated. You're dealing with an absolute torrent of commercial messages; most of which are directed at your developing sexuality. Marketers learned a long time ago that the fastest way to your money is to appeal to your sexuality; i.e., sex sells! You don't have to buy. You can enjoy your favorite music, your favorite teen idol, the current styles, whatever 'must have' that's hot, and whatever else they throw at you without making it your life. Remember, these are things, things are not you.

Parents and other authority figures are the most obvious cause for a teen's feeling of alienation. Your parents may or may not realize this, but it couldn't hurt you to be aware of what's going on here. Starting in adolescence, the human fledgling begins to get the urge to make decisions for themselves. This can be as powerful a drive as the sexual part. Learning to make your own decisions is also part of your learning curve. Too many parents don't realize this or don't want to accept that your childhood is passing. To increase the pressure at home, parents are still legally and morally responsible for your health and welfare. They know what's out there to cause trouble, things you don't.

Parents don't try to block teens actions because they're mean or stupid (I'll bet you've heard this one from your contemporaries), there are real, if unrealistic reasons why parents behave this way. There's fear that you'll throw your lives away; they don't believe that their teen knows what they are doing; they feel their control slipping away while they're still responsible for what happens to you. It doesn't matter which or all of the above. Just realize that parents have always had these issues and teens have always rebelled. Just try your best to keep in mind what they see from their perspective. Making wise decisions on your own will go a long way toward relieving parental fears.

You should not mistake your new decision making ability as being ready to make all of your own decisions. Take is step by step; learn from your mistakes; realize that it's a process.

Your best coping skill is, 'Knowledge is power.' Being aware of what's happening to you and others around you should help you feel a little less alienated. There is no cure, just ways to cope