For You: Dear Struggling Teenager…I see you.
I get it.
Those jerks at school just keep on pushing and don’t know when to back off. I don’t know why they target you, because you really are a good kid.
Your parents aren’t who you need them to be either. Either they are crazy strict and don’t let you breathe…or they are so busy with their lives that sometimes it seems like you don’t exist.
Maybe you’re even dealing with some sort of abuse: verbal, physical, sexual or a horrible mixture of all three.
When you are a teenager life is filled with drama…and I don’t mean that in any sort of demeaning or belittling way. It’s just a lot to deal with. On top of the people at school and home, you are still expected to not only go to school but make good grades. You might even have a job outside of school too and are expected to pay for your own car and gas in order to get to that job.
Don’t worry if you’ve messed up big time. Wrong choices don’t mean that your life is over or on some sort of preset outcome. There is still time.
There are so many ways to deal with what you are going through…and none of them seem like a good option to you right now. I can promise that the decisions you make today have a huge impact on the rest of your life. Choose carefully.
Dropping Out Of School
School is important. I know you think that a GED is the same thing as a diploma, but the truth is that it’s not. It signifies who you were and is difficult for employers to over look. A high school diploma is huge, because of what it signifies. It’s physical proof that when things get frustrating or tough, you don’t walk away. You aren’t a quitter.
You can look into alternative school programs that still allow you to graduate with a diploma. Rules vary by state, but Excel High School and K12 are both great programs that might be a great fit for your situation. Consider all of your options and ask for help from school counselors or a teacher you trust.
Things are harder than they were when I was a teenager. I didn’t have to deal with Twitter or Snapchat. To be honest I suck with technology…just enough to get by.
Contending with online presences and never-ending opinions didn’t exist when I was a teen. If you are being bullied online, talk to someone you trust. You can get online to read up on things yourself. There are several great articles from wired safely that you can use to get yourself out of some tough situations.
You are tougher than I was as a teenager though. Raised in this culture, you know of its superficiality. You are smart, talented, and very capable of making your life amazing and successful.
Oh yes, I’m going there. Sex is complicated. On one hand, if you’re doing it right (right person, right time and yes, right technique) it’s pretty amazing. On the other hand though….bah! I honestly wish that TV would portray sex what it really is…which is messy (in all aspects).
The risk of becoming a teenage parent is huge, no matter if the girl is on birth control and the guy wears a condom or not. Check out what the Center for Disease Control found about rates of teenage pregnancy. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Not because it puts you on a preset outcome (I told you that above…pay attention). Being a parent just makes everything so much harder, trust me. When you are a teenager you already have enough challenges.
I can’t even really touch on STDs. Let’s just say that one of the many reasons I’m thankful to be married to Daniel is that I don’t have to worry about STDs. According to TeenSource, half of all teens and young adults who are sexually active will get an STD by the time they are 25 years old. Infection is rampant and being able to ask someone for their lab tests is a necessary evil before having sex. If you can’t talk about sex and all its messy factors with that guy or girl…you shouldn’t have sex with them. Seriously.
If you’re not a virgin anymore, that doesn’t mean you have to keep having sex. No, you don’t have to proclaim yourself a born-again virgin. Just decide that you want to wait before having sex again…it’s that simple. The person you’re with should respect that…and if they don’t then honestly they aren’t worth your time.
What Are Your Goals?
Make a good choice today. A strong choice that will catapult you to where it is you want to go. Don’t sell yourself short. If you have dreams that seem too big that’s great! Don’t worry. There is a way to make that dream a reality. The world has resources and there are people who can help you find them. College isn’t a crap shoot… You could go.
Remember too though that you don’t need college to be successful. There are plenty of jobs in which you can make a good living, without the debt and time that college requires. It all starts today though and how you are going to respond to life’s drama.