Why are we so down on teenagers. A while ago, I saw a man in his 70’s drunk, being abusive and hating on people. So, do I now parade around town asking, “What am I going to do about all these 70 year old people?” You laugh and you can see the ridiculous nature of that statement. I am aware that some might say, it is not the same. Ageism is to protect people of all ages, although frequently applied to retired folks.
I am appalled at people who say to me, “Once your daughter is a teenager….” This is a statement made based on their experience with their own children. Experience has to be listened to, it cannot be ignored, but experience doesn’t set the parameters for every person. It is weighed and counted against that present situation. As a youth worker, I have spent time in many different situations and seen teenagers in action in a variety of ways. Teenagers
I have 2 daughters and both of them are very precious to me. One is aged 13 and the other is 9. When they were born, I love them both – before they were born actually! They then started to grow up and now one has hit the grand age of 13…..
So will I love them less. Will they suddenly become uncommunicative to me. I have discovered that the first one hasn’t. Some of you will be saying we know better we have had teenagers. Well your experience doesn’t have to match my experience.
I have experienced teenagers as a youth worker. I find them engaging, entertaining, challenging (my attitudes), rewarding, surprising and interesting. Teenagers have a love of life and a zest that can be energising (it can tire you out as well). They want to change the world and do it overnight! They want to experiment. They want to try new ideas and see what happens. They want to be released to fly. They want to be trusted.
And when my oldest gets to be 13 I am going to encourage her as much as possible and enjoy watching as she grows from a child into a woman. It is going to be fun. It is going to be painful. We will laugh and we will cry…. And through it all I want her to know I love her and will be there for her. I’ll try to steer her in the right direction but it will be her walk and I might disagree with the journey but I won’t stop it.
Teenagers – it’s time to get off their backs and to start to encourage and support them. Don’t moan, cheer.