Lean On Me (C'mon, Ah!)
By Christina, age 16, Louisiana
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Being young is hard. There's no other way to say it, and what makes matters worse is that as teenagers, we tend to make it harder on ourselves. Originally in this article my point was to show just how dependent we are on others instead of ourselves, but my views changed. However, my message did not.
With some help, I managed to conduct a survey of fifty high school students between the ages of 14 and 16. Results showed that 34% considered themselves to be dependent on themselves, while 66% considered themselves to be dependent on others: family members (30%), a significant other (16%), a best friend (10%), or someone else, such as a religious leader, teacher, or local counselor (10%).
This result is not what I had expected. However, it only gives me more room to say what I'd intended to say in the first place: Teens in general lack independence - emotionally, financially, and sometimes even physically, they tend to lean too much on someone else. This could be a boyfriend or girlfriend, which is never a good idea, or a family member, which can prove to be a tad more stable when someone coming through for you is critical.
Teenagers and people in general tend to express gullibility at times when being strong is essential. We lean too heavily on the support of others instead of on ourselves, and while this is not always a bad thing, it's rarely a good one. Depending on a family member or religious leader for long-term support can be a wise and responsible thing if you don't abuse it. But relying on individuals such as your best friend or 'significant other' for things such as financial support or physical dependency -- well, this is most likely a recipe for disaster.
Top Five Reasons not to depend on your partner for money ... Yes, even at your age.
When I say the word 'partner', I'm not talking about marriage. Even then, depending on yourself instead of others is probably a wise idea, since financial stability is more apt to be shared in a legalized relationship rather than in one that isn't.
1. ChangeNo matter how much you may try to prevent it people change. Their views, tastes, interests, and dislikes all begin to alter with age, and this includes their choices regarding relationships and the people they allow themselves to be "in one" with. Just because someone claims to love you today doesn't mean they'll love you a week, month, or year from now. If you're depending on them for money, housing, etc., then chances are you're going to land on your own with an unpleasant slap in the face.
2. TrustIn all honesty, who can you trust? You know you can trust yourself, or at least I hope you can, and in doing so you can pull through in the end. When you place your trust in someone it's a mutual thing. You're giving up something as much as they're fighting to keep it. Trust is like glass - you drop it and it breaks too easily and too suddenly. When trust is shattered, normally the relationship depending upon it follows suit. Then you can watch your money walk out the door, and this is assuming you're either over eighteen or on your own at an early age.
3. Accidents... happen. There is no way to prevent or undo them. They are simply a fact of life that you have absolutely no control over whatsoever. This means that if you depend solely upon your partner for financial health, and he or she is in a car accident, you've pretty much screwed yourself out of your cash flow. Just because young people have parents who pay for most of their things doesn't mean teenagers don't tend to use their significant other for things such as money or housing. If you begin the habit of self-sufficiency now, you'll have a better chance at perfecting it as you grow older.
4. UsingPersonally, if I use money given to me by a friend, I feel as if they believe I am using them. Unless you have no conscience whatsoever, this would pain you too. Who wants to feel as if they're using someone to get what they should be getting by themselves? Doesn't it just feel better, even at age sixteen or seventeen, to do things for yourself instead of depending on others who may not always come through?
5. ViewIf you have high self-esteem and confidence, you probably don't care what others think. Face it, though, we live in a society where everything is based upon what others see and hear. If you're dating someone, and it gets around your high school or university that you milk them dry, your reputation becomes frayed. Though you may not personally care, it helps to have a clean slate. I honestly can't stand it when people depend upon reputation alone for their opinion of somebody, but it happens and it always will. If you want to be viewed positively as someone who is independent and hard working, then I suggest taking my advice and becoming more reliant on yourself.
Even though this may not apply to everyone between the ages of thirteen and twenty, it's useless to say that I don't have a point. Being a teenager is basically your pre-adult life, meaning in order to get out on your own you first need to learn and understand how. Some learn this lesson fairly early in life, but most of us tend to be sheltered and spoiled by the support our parents and peers manage to put out. So why not concentrate on self-reliance early, and start now? Because in the end, no matter what that "end" might turn out to be, you're all you've really got.