Question : All my friends have the best of gadgets like the latest Iphone7/Samsung and I’m here trying to hide my phone which is a Lenovo. I don’t even have a MacBook like all my friends. They are all always making plans to party every weekend. My parents don’t let me go to these parties either and I feel like such an outcaste and a loser and my parents say it’s a waste of money, spending so much on these things and partying so often. When I see them post pictures on FB and snapchat, I feel I’m missing out on all the fun. My friends tease me about it. Will my parents ever understand me? Teentalker , 16-year-old
I can only imagine the frustration you are experiencing. I’ve met more students your age having the same question: ‘Why can’t our parents understand us?’, that we need to have a certain phone or a laptop or be part of a certain party. This might be more about Peer pressure as compared to parents not understanding you. Let me help you understand what it means. Friends your age or classmates are referred to as your Peers and Peer pressure refers to them influencing you to act or to get you to do something. In your case may be the pressure to ‘fit in’ by owning the best mobile phone or laptop. Peers can influence us in a big way without us even realizing it. Some of us give in to that pressure and some of us stand our ground. Peers could have a positive or a negative effect and we need to be able to identify that fine line. It is tough to be in that position where you want to do everything others are doing, but you can choose to work on helping build certain skills and managing your emotions, so that even if someone has something you don’t, it won’t determine your worth:
You could resist this pressure by:
- Paying attention to your beliefs and values about what is right and wrong, this will help you choose the healthier option.
- Developing self-confidence to help you stand firm or walk away
- Choosing friends who don’t tease us just because we don’t have the latest phone or laptop
- Developing better communication with your parents or talking to a trusted adult about it.
Comparing what your friends have and what you don’t, will only set you up for unhealthy negative feelings, which I gather you are experiencing with the act of hiding your phone. It’s quite natural to want the best but how about working towards finding ways to earn it instead of creating comparisons in our head and feeling angry. The purpose served by a regular phone or laptop is pretty much the same yet we have a need to get that brand name, isn’t it! How about collecting your pocket money and saving up? Do you think you could explore that as an option? Might give you a greater sense of fulfillment. When friends post pictures on social media it can trigger the teenage FOMO (Fear of missing out). I know you want to be part of all the fun but how about finding a middle path and having a more reasonable negotiation with your parents about may be going alternate weekends instead of every weekend.
At some point we all do look at our friends who may have gone ahead in certain aspects or who have things we don’t but that needn’t be our definition of achievement. We are all unique and just because someone has something we don’t, doesn’t qualify us to be a ‘loser’. As teenagers we tend to have this fear that someone is always doing something much cooler than us so we have this strong need to do something that keeps us looking cool. So if we are not in the ‘happening place’ or with the ‘happening people’ or owning that ‘happening phone’, we equate it to our self-worth by labeling ourselves as ‘losers’, so the need to prove to everyone is so high that we just have to be at every social event or else we are nothing! You are so much more that the phone or laptops you own. Your parents probably are looking out for you, talk to them and communicate how you feel and come to a joint decision about the frequency of partying. Until then think about why you have a need to hide your phone from your friends, it serves exactly the same purpose. It’s not an extension of you. Take pride in yourself.
Hope this helps, if you have any other query do connect online for chat between 11am-8pm or drop us an offline message.
Expert Teentalk India