Let’s Stop Calling Our Teens Lazy

At 9am the other morning I peeked in my son’s room. He was lying there with the sun in his eyes staring out the window, feet hanging off the left side of the bed.

I asked him when he was getting up; I’d been up for hours and was missing him. I could have stood in his doorway and told him he’s slept enough, he was being lazy, and it was time to get moving. I couldn’t have told him to get up and clean his room. I could have mentioned the trash was ready to be taken out.

But I didn’t.

Why society needs to stop calling teens lazy.

The day before he been up at 6 am, out the door by 7am after packing his lunch and showering for a full day of school.

He came home, did homework, vacuumed the entire downstairs, then went skateboarding with his friends for 2 hours.

After dinner, he asked if he could get a work out in before he helped me bring out the lawn furniture out of the season.

This morning he was tired. He had nowhere to be, and it made me remember the days when I was 14 and sleeping in was amazing. Actually, it’s a teen’s right of passage isn’t it?

You hear over and over “Teens these days are lazy,” and “Teens don’t know how good they have it,” and “Teens are spoiled.”

Our teens aren’t lazy. The work harder than I did in high school. Not just harder, they work different. These days there seems to be more at stake, not only are the expected to keep their grades up, they are made to feel they must excelling sports and volunteer, possibly even hold down a job. Not to mention the importance of doing chores around the house,

Things are much more intense than they used to be for sure. I remember playing sports because I wanted to and it was fun. Two of my kids have told me they don’t want to play certain sports or join certain clubs unless they can be really good, maybe even the best.

Between school work and extra circulars there’s hardly time for them to kick back and enjoy some of their hobbies or just hang out with friends. There’s not much time left over for them to be kids, and they are, in fact, still kids.

The message out kids are lazy is ridiculous and as a mom of teens, I’ve known my kids aren’t lazy, nor do they need to hear that message from society.

Teens like to work hard and get recognized. They enjoy standing back and looking at their accomplishments. But if we keep calling them lazy because of technological advances, and because their childhood looks different than ours did, we aren’t doing anyone any favors–especially them.

Teens do need motivation just like everyone else, they are human after all. I remember standing talking to an adult when I was 18 as he proceeded to tell me my generation was called Gen-X because we were” lazy, slackers.” And now I’m hearing the same message being poured onto our future generation. Isn’t it time we give credit where credit is due and recognize each decade puts forth amazingly creative and talented minds that are different? Isn’t it time to realize just because things change and kids don’t act the way the they used to, it doesn’t mean they are lazy?

From where I sit, our teens are smart; they are focused; they are driven; they want to be independent.

Maybe it’s not important to them to keep a clean room. We all know they never see that it’s their dishes that have accumulated in sink, or they’ve left a ton of pee on the toilet seat, but their minds are going and constantly thinking of what’s next. They want to learn, they want to grow, they went to thrive.

Just because they lie around, just because they complain, just because they don’t always believe they can do hard things, it doesn’t make them lazy. It makes them human. And let’s be honest, I don’t know an adult who goes a day without complaining, longs to sleep in, or is too tired to do the dishes and puts it off until the next day.

Yes, they can eat and sleep like no one’s business, whoever coined the phrase, “You’ll sleep like a baby,” should have said “You’ll sleep like a teen,” that makes so much more sense.

But our teens teach us something significant every day, they are honest, and they are worth more than to be called lazy. So, let’s stop with that tired trope already.

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About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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