In this lesson you are going to learn why your teenage son or daughter obsesses over being cool and popular and what you can do to help them.
In it we will cover:
- The impact of Facebook and other social sites
- How teenagers just reflect the ego aspect of our society
- Four key factors to look for with your teen
- A step-by-step guide for parents that will help keep your teenager in balance
- The importance of helping your teenager discover their authentic self
My name is Sam Miller and for the last 20 years I have been helping parents regain control of the situation with their child as well as helping their teenagers deal with the many challenges they face.
My mission is to…
- Help you build a better relationship with your teen and
- Help your child become a healthy, happy, and responsible young adult
Please enjoy these free tips on how to help your teen.
Before we begin the lesson, I want you to think back to when you were a teenager: how important was it for you to fit in? In high school, were you in the “cool group” or in the “other” group? Depending on which group you were situated with, how did the phase of fitting in impact your life?
Growing up as a teenager and young adult, I used to produce music events and publish a music and fashion magazine. So I was ensconced in the industry that was all about “being cool”.
This material is very important for parents to understand because it really focuses on a deeper issue that our entire society faces: validation and self-worth.
During the teenage years one of the issues that will come up is when your son or daughter is obsessed with being cool and popular. It’s an interesting time in human development when our entire lives are based upon feeling the need to be something we’re not.
Because teenagers are in the process of exploring their identity and finding themselves, it’s almost certain that your child will go through this. It’s just a matter of the degree to which they will be absorbed by the process.
The History Of Cool
The word cool originated back in the 1920’s in jazz clubs where if you were cool, it meant you were someone who knew how to strut your stuff via dancing, the clothes you wore, and the way you talked. It was an acknowledgement that the way you expressed yourself was unique and respected by others. It’s very similar to when a peacock struts its feathers to show off.
In today’s day and age, to be cool or popular is a bit different from how it originally started. Because everyone wants to be cool it’s now more about social acceptance via standing out. There’s still a slight component of being different and unique but because everyone is trying to be different and unique it’s now a form of conformity.
Facebook & Social Media
Because of Facebook and other social sites, now more than ever teenagers are obsessing over being cool and popular because “everyone can see” whether or not they are liked or accepted. If a teenager does not have as many friends or “likes” as others, their sense of self-worth diminishes.
I cannot stress this enough in all of the lessons on this site that teenagers are a direct reflection of our society as a whole. Just look at how our politics, media, and corporate culture breeds this type of hierarchy.
Even our presidents have to focus so much on their popularity otherwise they wont win. In fact, there are some great leaders out there who would do a much better job then any of our recent presidents but because they do not look “cool”, they do not win. If you do not want your teenager to feel like they are going to “die” unless they are in the popular crowd, you need to help them put this into perspective sooner rather than later.
So why are so many teenagers and young adults obsessed with being cool?
There are four key factors that are happening in your child’s mind and personality construct:
Because most teenager’s feel insecure about who they are and are still unsure of themselves, the safest way for them to feel accepted is to be associated with the “in crowd”. Being socially accepted is something that most humans (regardless of age) strive for and by being cool this is the quickest way to get there.
Being cool and popular helps people get attention. Because they’re insecure about themselves they need this attention to validate who they are so they can feel better about themselves. This is why the lesson on “Validation and Self Worth” is so important so that your child does not depend on external sources to feel good about themselves. What most teenagers are saying is “look at me”. It is this attention they seek so that they can feel better and accepted.
Every time your teen obsesses over their social media presence and “likes”, its so that they can feel validated and good about themselves.
Note: For those of you with daughters, this is why many girls become promiscuous or “dress slutty”. They want to feel validated.
In some circles, being cool is about rebelling. If you remember Happy Days and the Fonz, bikers and thugs were considered cool because they went against the grain. Many teenagers feel that by associating themselves with particular music, clothes, and culture, they’re rebelling and this makes them cool.
4. The Ego
What many people fail to realize is that this truly falls under the ego construct. Everything described above (attention, acceptance, and separation) all have to do with the ego. It’s during the teenage years that the ego is being formed and entrenching its identity. The ego loves to be cool because it will feel more powerful. Its sense of self worth is being established and it gains a hold on your teenager, at least until they can learn to strike a balance between their true self and ego self.
A Male & Female Perspective
Most guys want to be cool and popular because they want to get laid and be desired by the “hot” girl.
Most girls want to be popular because it validates their existence.
What Can You Do As A Parent?
1. Let Go
As hard as it may be to watch your teenager like the things they like and do the things they do, you have to let go and provide them a neutral space with no judgment so that they can explore who they are. If you fight them any step of the way it will just turn into rebellion and get worse. So let go, be curious, have fun, and enjoy the ride.
2. Lead By Example
Your teenager is always watching you regardless of whether you think they are or not. Many of the lessons that you’re teaching them by example won’t “hit them” until they get older. It’s during the years that they begin to take inventory of what they’ve been doing and where they’re going that your lessons will be vital. Rest assured, it will all come full circle. If you show them how to live an authentic life and you have your ego in check, they will eventually get there. They’ll likely even get there sooner than later.
3. Help Them Discover Their Authentic Self
If you want to take a proactive approach and get involved with your teenager to try and sway them from trying to be cool, you can offer them other outlets to explore what they want to be and do in life. By getting involved and surrounding them with other opportunities, you give them another choice and direction to head toward. However, as stated above you never want to judge their process nor do you want to force anything upon them. By naturally presenting them other options and letting them choose for themselves (it is VERY important that they choose it for themselves), you will have done the best you can.
How Long Does This Stage Last?
Unfortunately, there is no exact answer here. I know many people in there thirties, forties, and fifties who are still obsessed with being cool and accepted. Remember, if you really want to help guide your teen through this, help them find their authentic self. Once they’re “rewarded” from their peers because of whom they really are, they will start to see their true value and let go of what they think others expect of them.
Need More Help?
If you are in need of support then I have 4 options for you:
1. E-Book – Download my free e-book on How To Talk To Your Teenager So They Listen To You where I show you seven very important steps on how to handle your teen.
Son – If you have a son go here to access it.
Daughter – If you have a daughter go here to access it.
2. Counseling – If your teen is struggling with negative emotions or poor behaviors then go here.
3. Life Skills Tutoring – If you have a good kid who just needs some help learning life skills and getting ready for the “real world” then go here.
4. Parent coaching – If you need help learning how to get your teen to listen to you or do what you want then go here.
Want more tips?
Alcohol – How to talk to your teen about alcohol
Anger – How to help your teen address their anger issues
Being Cool & Popular – How to talk to your teen about not being cool & popular
Boredom – How to talk to your teen when they are bored
Bullying – How to talk to your teen about bullying
Career & Life Purpose – How to talk to your teen about building their future career & life purpose
Dating & Sex – How to talk to your teen about dating and sex
Depression – How to talk to your teen when they are depressed
Drugs – How to talk to your teen about drugs
Ecstasy – How to talk to your teen about using ecstasy aka MDMA or “Molly”
Hard Drugs – How to talk to your teen about hard drugs
Hurt Feelings – How to talk to your teen if they have hurt feelings
Lying – How to address your teen when you catch them lying
Money – How to talk to your teen about being responsible with money
Out of Control – How to talk to your teen when they are out of control
Overweight – How to talk to your when they become overweight
Partying – How to talk to your teen about partying
Rebellion – How to address teenage rebellion
School – Tips on how to address problems at school
Stealing – What to do if your teen is stealing
Technology Addiction – What to do if your teen is addicted to technology