The Side Effect of Being a Teenager | Vol. 2
I remember how annoyed I’d get with the fact that I was only 13 whenever my parents wouldn't allow me to do simple things my older sisters were allowed to do i.e. staying up till 11 o’clock at night to watch a TV programme or text my friends.
I always used to get so frustrated that I had to go to bed before everyone else and it caused a countless amount of arguments at night when I’d complain about the fact it was only nine-thirty in the evening and I already had to go to bed. So, what happens is that I always used to lie in bed, under my duvet and stay on Twitter or Facebook until I was satisfied I’d stayed up late enough.
I was constantly in the mindset of why should I miss out on – whatever drama it was – happening on social media that night just because I was five years younger than my sisters. And I think the fact I also knew my friends were allowed to stay up much later than me got on my nerves, and at that age I wanted to be like everyone else, I didn’t want to be left out when they all stayed up late and I had to go to bed earlier.
I suppose it depends on the outlook of your parents – how much sleep they think you need or how worried they get about your safety. But another thing that always made me wish I was an adult rather than a 13-year-old was that my friends parents always allowed them to get the train to Bristol or Birmingham to go shopping or go to a gig and I was never allowed to go on a train without an adult until I was 15.
Don’t get me wrong; my parents would always drive me wherever my friends were going instead which was great and I’m so thankful I still got to experience everything. But it was still the point that I’d have to spend a week or two asking them and persuading them to let me go rather than just jumping on a train and going wherever it was we were going. I wanted to experience the train journey and I knew if I was a few years older I’d be allowed to do what I wanted, when I wanted.
So I suppose when I was 13 years old I constantly cursed my age because I wanted to be able to do things without permission and do everything that my sisters were allowed to do rather than be left behind when they got to do them and I didn’t.
— Alice Stephens
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The Side Effect of Being a Teenager is a series that explores our sometimes unsaid sour feelings as a teenager. We are often given the special treatment — a manifestation of society's "you don't belong here yet" conviction towards teenagers; or an in-your-face implication that reminds us we are the naive, reckless and unneeded bunch. This manifestation comes in all shapes and sizes, and rest assured they will all be told here in this column.
If you're a teenager, have experienced ageism and want to contribute to this series, I'd love to hear from you. Email me through this page with a summary of your piece.