It's difficult for teenagers these days

Study "Jugend.Leben": This is how young people are really on it

The youth of today: rude, violent, disrespectful, lazy! Anyone who really thinks that way is of course far wrong. On the one hand, because it is hardly possible to put an entire generation of young people in the same box. Secondly, because this does not even come close to the majority of teenagers. Rather, it is nice, ambitious, intelligent and adapted, as can be seen from an examination of the everyday world of children and adolescents.

Are Today Teenagers Really That Boring?

"Children and young people today are smart, nice and intelligent," it says. Or: "They accept adults and trust them more than ever before" and "The young generation is not brushed for riot, but rather education-oriented." For the "Jugend.Leben" study, 6,000 children and young people between the ages of ten and 18 from North Rhine-Westphalia were asked about family, school, clique, future plans, society, the environment and beliefs - and some who think back to their own youth become ask: Are teenagers really that boring these days?

Ambition instead of rebellion

But it is a mistake to evaluate today's youngsters by the criteria of their own "Sturm und Drang phase". Because times are different: the conditions have changed, and so have the possibilities. "Young people are exposed to high demands in school and training," explains Bertelsmann Verlag, which published the study.

These days, young people place correspondingly high demands on themselves. They strive for good grades and the highest possible school-leaving qualifications. The rule is: ambition instead of rebellion.

The ambitious lifestyle has its price

"This is a very likeable young generation that smart is trying to cope with life," says Sabine Maschke, child and youth researcher at the University of Giessen and author of the study. She defends the adolescents' ambitious behavior in an interview with Stern magazine.

But this lifestyle undoubtedly has its downside. The kids pay a high price: Because many young people today often suffer from headaches, severe nervousness and are very afraid of personal failure, as the study found.

You strive for success

These are the most important results of the "Youth Life" study:

  • Family, friends, role models: The family is above everything. Most of those questioned find support, consolation and advice here. The term family is taken broadly: the grandparents are an important support, even pets are considered family members. The parents, especially the mother, have become even more important as role models in recent years. But trust in other adults has also increased since the previous study in 2001 ("Zero Zoff and fully busy"). At the top are doctors, police officers, trainers in sports clubs and teachers. The best friend is still very important - friendships are by no means arbitrary.
  • Partnership: Loyalty and reliability come first here, far ahead of the importance of sexuality. Long-term relationships are almost always the hope. But that does not mean that an old conservatism of values ​​will be adopted. The ideas about partnership have new and unique features: "Having fun", for example, is very important in a relationship, but critical skills are also required. "Cheating" is out of the question for the majority.
  • School and education: School is the central place for social contacts, even more so than in the previous study. However, the experiences are not entirely positive: although experience of violence in school is not part of the everyday life of the majority, one in eight students reports that they were the victim of bullying in the last year.
    School and educational qualifications are extremely important for young people. This has even increased in recent years: 75 percent of the 13 to 18 year olds surveyed want to graduate from high school, across all school types.
  • Ambitions: The teenagers strive for success but want to avoid unnecessary stress or stress. Good grades are required - but without large investments in (voluntary) learning. More than in the 2001 study, good grades are linked to one's own well-being at school. This is especially true for girls who are even more willing to learn than boys.
  • Technology: Technology and communication networks are used as a matter of course. Almost all of the respondents have a cell phone or smartphone. There is some evidence here that the boundary between childhood and adolescence is dissolving, because ownership of the first cell phone or smartphone often coincides biographically with the end of children's games.
  • Orientation and demarcation: Young people orientate themselves towards the existing social order and are mostly compliant with the rules. There are hardly any rigid demarcations from the older generation. Adults are valued advisors, for example, with school problems, social conflicts, political issues or clothing style. Coexistence and togetherness is relatively stress-free today.
  • Flexibility: When a new opportunity arises, you want to be able to access it quickly. The motto is to be flexible. The range of new brands, events, groups and styles is perceived "like an app shop": You choose the right one as required.
  • Participate and participate: Co-determination is supported and practiced by the majority. Co-determination and participation in schools, clubs and communities are opportunities to develop individually and to stand up for democratic structures. Disaffection with politics is still high, but slightly lower than in 2001.

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