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Growing Up, Changing Faces

Growing up, a lot changes. In childhood it is unheard of for somebody to say “She’s such a snob” or “He’s a total jock”. Children can play together, and are often able to spend hours on four-square and hide-and-seek. Teenagers argue bitterly over the smallest things, and achieve maximum boredom within minutes of their recent task. What changes over the small span of time from childhood to adolescence?

The laughter of children associates with happiness and fun. Teenage laughter, however, associates with cruelty and bullying; teenage laughter can seem downright mean. People can picture kids giggling and smiling just for fun, but if it comes to imagining a group of teens joking it is automatically assumed they are poking fun at somebody.

Teenagers are also known to avoid spending time with their families. The typical image of teenagers with their parents shows him/her slumped in their seat with their arms crossed and faces pouting. When it comes to children with their families the picture seems playful; the children attempt to impress their parents or the other adults around. They seem full of smiles, while teenagers seem just plain gloomy.

Cliques, independent groups of friends, form during the adolescent years. Expectations teens face are to have one “best” friend and a few close friends. Whether they fit into the popular group, jock group, computer group, punk group, redneck group, nerd group, or one of the many others, they must belong to one. It is neither expected nor acceptable for groups to mingle.

It seems that both teenagers and children yearn for adult acceptance and attention, although the groups go about it in very different ways. Children giggle and laugh and attempt anything and everything possible to please their parents. Teenagers rebel or get into trouble, or do things that they do not necessarily want to do, in order for the adults in their lives see them worthy of attention. Teens are just beginning to develop independence, and struggle between doing what their parents have told them is right and discovering what is right on their own.

“You can be whatever you want” is a common phrase used in classes preschool through sixth or seventh grade. Adults raise children to want to be astronauts, singers, actors, or other very popular professions. Once you reach the age when you begin to think about college, though, it is ingrained into your mind to work “useful” or “high-paying” jobs. Teenagers must follow strict guidelines or face disappointing their parents, teachers, and peers.

Commonly, children do things just for the sake of doing them. They do not live with the ulterior motive that teenagers have for trying their hardest. Races, challenges, and games are often played as a way to just have fun in childhood, but in teenage years they are to put someone down, make yourself seem better, or prove yourself to parents. A child might try their hardest in school merely to impress their parents, but teenager might do well solely for the purpose of gaining something from them. The gain could be respect, more freedom, or even sometimes cash prizes, but it is there.

The barrier between childhood and adolescence is a complex one. There does not seem to be a set age or time to jump the chasm between the two, yet it seems to happen to the best of people. In as little as a month or two children can turn into teenagers, and their entire personalities can be irrevocably altered. It is simple, teenagers may have once been children, and children soon to be teenagers, but their lives as whole are very different.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Roserietta said...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 9:45 pm:
BrainsandBeauty, why am I the first to comment if this is supposed to be on the front page?
 
BrainsANDBeauty This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 20, 2010 at 7:54 am :
Well, it's obviously not on the front page.
 
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