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Dangers of teenage stereotypes

From useless dads in TV ads to damsels in distress on the big screen, society is gradually waking up and challenging harmful stereotypes. However, teenagers still get a raw deal. Being moody, sleeping late, mobile gazing are often just dismissed as ‘a teenage thing’. Even the word ‘teenager’ can feel problematic at times. And it shouldn’t. We look at some unfair teenage stereotypes and what certain behaviours could actually mean.

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teenage stereotype sleep all the time

teenage girl lying in bed

Sleepyheads

How many teenagers hear ‘afternoon sleepyhead’ when walking into the kitchen at 11am on a Saturday. It’s a classic. Funny because it’s not quite the afternoon. A bit of harmless sleep shaming. Or is it?

Firstly, sleeping isn’t a bad thing. Teenagers need more sleep than most. They’re still growing and figuring things out – identity, relationships, future plans. It’s tiring. But there are plenty who love an early rise too.

If a young person is sleeping more than expected, it's not ‘just a teenage thing’. There might be more to it. Spending a lot of time in bed, not wanting to get out, could be a sign they’re feeling depressed. Keep an eye on it, be open to chatting, and keep those sarcastic quips to a minimum.

woman in colourful clothes smiling at camera

Mental health myth busters

Attention seeking, violent and unpredictable. We shatter some unfortunately common misconceptions about young people with mental health issues.

Moody teenagers

'Typical moody teenager’...doesn’t make sense. There’s no typical teenager. And being moody isn’t something they have the rights to. We can all be a little moody sometimes. It’s not usually because we’re a certain age. Although certain milestone birthdays can bring out the worst in some people.

It is true however that teenagers have a lot going on and therefore may get down. If a young person is constantly feeling down, it’s not something we should put down to their age. Teenagers aren’t naturally down all the time. It's worth checking in with them. Maybe there’s something that might help their low mood.

teenage stereotype always on mobile phones

young person texting on phone sitting cross legged

Mobile gazers

‘Always glued to a screen, teenagers’. Really? We’re not sure Greta even has a phone. And those who do use their phones, well, they grew up with social media so cut them some slack. Maybe they’re doing something creative.

We shouldn't just assume they’re playing Candy Crush because we spent a year of commuting trying to get to level 5000.

teenage stereotype always on mobile phone

If they are on their phone more than usual, it's worth paying attention to how they behave. Are they overly secretive? Do they appear controlled by their phone? Do they get anxious or appear worried when messages come in?

These are not just typical teenage behaviours. They could be a sign that the young person is in a dangerous relationship. Talk to them, show an interest in their life and try notice when things don’t seem right.

Not 'just a teenage thing'

Clearly not all teenagers are the same. Some sleep in more than others, some love social media, some don't. But rather than dismiss them as teenage things, we need to look beyond the behaviour. What’s going on in their lives? How can we be there for them?

For 140 years we have been helping young people cope with the difficulties life throws at them. We listen. We fight for their hope and happiness when society fails them.