The way that people act has a lot to do with what society says about them; including teenagers. But this doesn’t
mean that teenagers are controlled by the expectations of society, nor does it mean that teenagers will always
listen to what others think of them.
Julian Davila, an IHS junior says, “Society says that teenagers are supposed to make mistakes and do
wild, crazy things, because of this teenagers act crazy and do wild things. If someone tells you you’re going to
be wild, you’ll do it.”
Taylor Smith, an IHS senior also believes that some of what teenagers do is due to the expectations that
other people hold for them. “I don’t feel as bad about being lazy because people expect me to be lazy.”
But not everyone believes that society always sets the standard.
For instance, Brenda Galvan, an IHS senior, says that although people expect teenagers to be stupid and don’t
let them have a say, she doesn’t let it affect her because when people meet her they see her differently than
how they see most teenagers.
Mrs. Francis, an Imperial High School English and Publications teacher believes that teenagers will rise
to the expectations of the adults set before them.
Francis says, “If teenagers are treated like children, then they will act childish, but when they’re expected
to act like adults they act more mature.”
In many ways teenagers are caught between being a child and being an adult, because while many expect
them to listen to those who are older, they also expect teenagers to be able to handle certain trials on their
Smith says, “People will expect teenagers to screw up and be naïve like children, but like adults they
expect teens to have a life plan.”
Davila, however, says that the adults in his life expect him to act like an adult while the other
teenagers in his life expect him to act childish.
Different aspects of teenage life also cause different kinds of judgement and expectation. For instance,
some teens feel as though their expectations as a teenager are partly due to their race.
Smith, who is half white and half hispanic says, “Because I look white, I think that people expect me to
do better academically.”
Delia Pimentel, an IHS senior said, “I think that because the majority of people in the valley are
hispanic, I’m probably not viewed differently because of my race, but if I moved somewhere else where their were
less hispanics I might be judged more.”
Galvan and Davila, on the other hand, believe that when it comes to teenagers, society is color blind.
Davila, who has hispanic ancestry, says, “I don’t think that I’d be judged according to my ethnicity
even if I did live somewhere with a different race majority.”
Another large stereotype held to teenagers is that they generally have immature, short-term romantic
Francis said, “Often times adults see teenage relationships as puppy love and will think to themselves
‘they don’t know what love is’.”
Francis also said that she had noticed that many teenage relationships are built mostly off of a
physical relationship, but not to overgeneralize because some teens will surprise you.
“Some teenagers do end up staying in relationships with people that they had relationships with in high school
and will move on to get married and have a family,” said Francis.
Smith agrees that society expects much less out of teenage relationships. “People don’t think that teenage
relationships will last very long and that the teenagers in the relationship shouldn’t try as much because they
won’t make it out of high school together.”
Galvan just happens to be one of the few teenagers to have a relationship last more than a few months by
maintaining the same relationship for three years.
Galvan says, “People are definitely surprised by how long I’ve been in my relationship because they don’t
expect teenagers to have serious relationships.”
How society sees teenagers will always affect the way that teenagers think to some extent, but it will never
control what they do. It’s in the hands of all teenagers to show society that no person is exactly the same and
that teenagers will not live accordingly to the standards of others.