I surf the web reading teen blogs to stay up to date on what interests our teens. It turns out that quotes uploaded by themselves about "no longer living in the past", "the importance of forgiveness", "in the beginning it was nice now it's all torture" do not generate interest in social networks, but the quote:
"Maybe he walks around with a big smile, but they have no idea what he's going through."
It is shared on the networks by our teenagers. Why?
Because it reflects that constant struggle of the adolescent to find an identity with which to feel comfortable. The break with the parents leads our children to need an identity and they often feel different, they don't know very well who they are, whether to laugh or cry. The quote reflects that feeling of being someone, but you don't see that someone because I show a smile. "You don't know what I'm going through" and I'm not going to tell you either.
On the one hand, we must understand that this struggle makes boys and girls show different faces and ways of being at different times of growth. On the other hand, there may be a difference between what they show and what they think or feel, almost always based on the need for acceptance. It may happen that they walk with a smile while they are lost or on the contrary that they seem sad and irritable when inside they are not so bad. Yes, it is confusing because they are confused and they do not clarify themselves.
Our job as parents is to try to help through acceptance to find the meaning of life and identity to our children. Observe, not only what we see but what is missing, what we do not see. Try to guess what is behind silences and smiles. All this with respect they deserve, respecting their privacy (as long as we don't fear for their lives) and showing that we will be there when they need us in that process of searching for identity. And if we don't know how to be there, it will be enough communicate and pay attention to what they have to tell us, show interest.
It turns out that there are two teenagers, an intimate one unknown to us, hidden from parents and even some or all of their peers, and a social one who seeks an identity fused with the others. If someone was looking for whites and blacks to understand the struggle that is experienced in adolescence, it is difficult for them. It is a period of grays that we have all experienced but that we have forgotten.