Adjusting from child to adult is hard for everyone

Kids growing up faster than before, and the disconnect between teens and there childhood.


Meredith Con

A Barbie Doll sits on a swing at the montessori school on 55th Street. Childhood goes by quickly and it is often difficult for parents to adjust.

Sippy cups turn into coffee mugs, recess turns into study halls, morning alarms become a teen’s worst enemy, and going home turns into the best part of the day.
Elementary school zips by in the blink of an eye, and by the time freshman year comes around many teens feel pressured to begin figuring out the life ahead of them. But even though thoughts of graduation and college swarm through the heads of high schoolers, so does the bittersweet nostalgia of being little without a looming dread of adulthood.
Even though high schoolers are very much still children and going through the motions of childhood, constant social pressure, and adult expectations, older teens can not be a kid without the guilt and fear of being ‘too childish’ or ‘immature’.
“Every adult in my life wants to discuss college and ONLY college with me, and I can’t help but feel as though I am being thrown into adulthood,” senior Alex Petro said.
As soon as high school hits, childhood begins to fade away. Teens feel forced into adulthood prematurely and expected to know and have a plan for the rest of high school and onward after graduation.
Constant good grades, a 4.0 GPA, college and majors predetermined and the rest of one’s high school career planned out are some of the expectations many teens feel as they work their way through school.
From the beginning of middle school, teachers and parents start to ask teens about their plans for life after high school. Family conversations revolve around life outside childhood, including careers they would like to pursue and colleges they would wish to attend.
While teens may start fantasizing about life outside childhood, what steps do teens need to take to ensure that life is not always explained?
Teens leave high school knowing the hydatid formula and that ‘the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell’, but teens also leave not knowing how to file taxes, buy a house, manage loans, or how balance a school and work life.
Falling into adulthood while still being a child is a feeling that many teens share.
Preparing for college and life without the protections of childhood creates a world in which teens are thrown into adulthood before being able to properly say goodbye to childhood.
“I am a minor and am still treated like a child most of the time, yet I already have a job, a car, and am going to college next year,” Petro said. “It almost creates a sort of identity crisis.”
With heavy pressures, there is the presence of technology and the internet. When kids are given the ability to surf the web unsupervised, newfound importance and concepts require kids to mature and grow faster to understand more adult content.
Many parents are giving kids access to the internet earlier. Kids now are given cell phones as early as four years old. Even while child lock and the ability for parents to have access to what their children are seeing on the internet kids still aren’t safe mature content.
“For example, war and fighting. Yes, it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, but you shouldn’t have to learn about that stuff when you’re 10 and barely know what a war is,” sophomore Jodi Danner said.
Even though war and fighting are natural things that should be taught, exposure to violence and death also leads to more sensitive adult content or dangerous societal expectations and norms that put their physical and mental health on the line.
“Kids are exposed to toxic stuff as well, like body shaming, unhealthy exercises that can lead to eating disorders, they learn about things that can hurt them,” Danner said.
Young children are not the only ones who become affected by the media and the internet; teens are still very much kids themselves, teens are not always allowed to express their more childish side. Including the ability to express emotions in ‘childish ways’ or indulge in childish media and content.
“Some are more destructive like I never feel like I’m allowed to be mad,” freshman Keira Sweeney said. “Sometimes I just want to be able to sulk in my room or slam a door without being afraid of being yelled at.”
Expressing pent up emotions in ways that may seem childish to adults is not the only thing teens feel that they can not partake in.
“I just want to be immature sometimes like I like to dance around the kitchen or cry over a dumb kids’ show without my parent’s commentary,” Sweeney said.
More times than not teens simply need the freedom to continue being kids.