Why teenagers shouldn’t grow up yet


Courtney Bach

When I was in kindergarten all the way through fifth grade almost every day had something worth celebrating. I would bring in candy for my birthday and treats before breaks. Good attendance and behavior got rewarded with parties and celebrations even if I wasn’t the smartest kid in the class.
So the questions become: what happened? Can we have that back?
Now, I’m not saying we should all come to school with Valentine’s Day boxes and bags of candy to pass out to other people. I’m not even suggesting organized classroom parties, even though both could be nice. I’m suggesting teenagers act like kids again and allow themselves to be rewarded for all accomplishments, small and big.
When I was in kindergarten I would be congratulated and rewarded just for finishing a project on time and neatly. Now I often put myself down for getting a B on an assignment even if I know I worked hard. I think that getting something less than an A is negative.   So why can’t teenagers all treat small accomplishments like kindergartners treat theirs? Wouldn’t we be less stressed? 
About two percent of children have depression; eight percent of teenagers do. Why not at least take a shot at acting like kids to lower this? If getting excited about accomplishing waking up and brushing our teeth or getting a good grade could make us less stressed, why don’t we do it?
It’s probably because of the mentality that society teaches most teens. I’ve been told more and more often by teachers, family members and peers that being a teenager comes with more responsibility. Responsibility to get good grades, be a kind person, help others, stay healthy and be happy. I get told who I should be, what I should aim for and what I should feel like if I don’t meet others expectations.
High school is about finding out who we are and what we want to be. We try to balance responsibility while having childish moments. Adults remind me to grow up but still hate to see me act like an adult. These mixed messages serve as a constant reminder that we are not kids, but we are not adults. We’re just here.
As I got older I remember hearing that I would need to start making my own guidelines and becoming independent. But I’m also told I’m not the adult in the house; I don’t make the rules, and I don’t decide what happens. All of these contradicting messages conveyed to us make being a teenager more stressful than it already is.
Couldn’t we just try embracing being a little of both? Yes, being a teenager requires you to uphold new responsibilities similar to that of an adult. This is when deadlines, jobs and more projects come barging into life.                                                       
But who says we need to stop getting excited about small things like we once did as kids? It’s almost as if there is a known law that teenagers can no longer enjoy the world through a mix of children like and adult like eyes at the same time. We don’t get to feel the responsibility of adults, like working and driving, while still being able to appreciate the good parts of being a kid, like rewarding ourselves for just some everyday tasks that can be harder to accomplish.
Imagine if after every test every person got a small reward. I remember being in fifth grade and getting rewarded for having good grades. Every time I did well I got praised and got to go pick out a place to eat or something to get. I didn’t think I deserved that, but having a someone reward me for my hard work was amazing.
Teenagers are the opposite. We are becoming a group of perfectionists that aren’t aware of our perfectionism. We don’t reward ourselves for our accomplishments, and we don’t allow ourselves to go out and enjoy the world like kids do. So teachers should help encourage this.
For all the saying, “This girl is ridiculously stupid,” I hear you. Two months ago I would’ve said the same thing. But after getting overly stressed about grades, home life and friends, I realized something; stress sucks. But getting rewarded for actions that may seem small, can be the difference of a panic attack and a carefree afternoon. So teenagers should reward themselves for doing that project that everyone said was easy but was a lot of work. And for going to bed at a normal time, and for turning in your assignment on time.
Hakuna Matata. It means no worries, even for teenagers. So everyone, do yourself a favor and stop being in a rush to grow up. Allow yourself to enjoy that kid party just a little bit longer.