During our summer vacation, which happened to be overseas, I began to notice a recurring theme. Teenagers from around the world often behave in a similar way. That is, maybe it really is something in a teen’s “nature” that affects behavior and attitudes .
I saw many parents on family vacations sightseeing with tweens and teens in tow. While it certainly is hard to travel with little ones in strollers, or those a bit older who don’t really understand where they are, there are some things that are easier about little ones than teens. (If you don’t have teens yet you are saying, “NO WAY”.)
But what I often noticed about teens on vacation is that universal facial expression of “why am I here, when I would rather be with my friends?”. In some cases it wasn’t just the facial expressions either. While standing in lines to get into a museum or sitting at closely spaced tables over a meal I often heard teenagers complaining to their parents. “I don’t want to go to another museum, church or monument’, or “how many more days until we go home?”. I didn’t only hear English either, there were teens from other countries who were also complaining in their own language or dialect. The parent’s also had that look of “why did we spend all of this hard earned vacation time and money to have our children act like this?”
I also saw many a teen spending a lot of line standing or restaurant sitting with their faces glued to their smartphones. Again, they all seemed to have them. They were often so busy not paying attention to the line moving or the guide talking that their parents literally had to take the phones away - again more universal facial expressions!
Food choices were another area of teen angst. While sitting in one restaurant quite close to a a father and his two teen daughters we noticed they seemed to be having a heated discussion in Dutch. They were all looking at the menu and the father looked exasperated. When the waiter arrived, the father spoke in English and told the waiter that his daughters wanted plain meat, no sauces, and only the french fries, and not the salads or vegetables that came with the meal. The waiter replied in both French and English (I guess making sure he covered all bases) that there were several options for salad dressing, sauces and vegetables. The father replied again, NO they will not eat it. I had to laugh, it made me remember those days of ordering a hamburger for my boys (no matter where we were) when I would say, “just meat and bread!”.
Teens....has to be hormones in the blood, right? Just saying...