Teenagers Are So Angry

Posted on October 20, 2008. Filed under: wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , |

Balancing through adolescence on my monocycle - II

Image by carf via Flickr

I was minding my own business yesterday, having just finished  hours of work on my computer (I am writing a book on the weekends), I sat down to watch a movie and… shouting, foul language and screaming in a teenage boys voice suddenly assaulted my ears. My 15 year old son came down out of his cave where he had been playing WOW and we both looked at eachother as the obviously angry tirade continued.

Wondering if someone was being hurt or was in trouble we walked out into the front yard, prepared to call the police or the ambulance. Across the street was a young man obviously in distress with a phone in one hand glued to his ear and a hammer in the other one tapping at the window of the house he was standing beside. He had a friend who was pacing back and forth from the next house to his, while this very angry young man continued his tirade into his phone.

After a little bit of eavesdropping to make sure they didn’t need help, my son and I figured out he was talking to his parents and really, really wanted them to come home and let him in (hence the hammer). My son and I turned to go back inside and leave them to it (no one was being hurt) when the second young man saw us watching. He immediately became abusive to me, his body language and langauge indicated he was prepared to come over and take me on, just for looking.

Now, I could have explained that we had come out to see if they needed help, but I realised that they would not listen anyway, and I didn’t want to provoke anything further, so I smiled and laughed and went inside. They were both a lot quieter after that.

It got me thinking about how angry our young people are, how once upon a time no-one of 16/17 would have been angry enough with the world to take on a women of my age, just for looking on at what was happening right across the road. Once upon a time these kids would have been ashamed to have been caught doing what they were doing (tapping on a window with a hammer with the obvious intent of breaking it). Once upon a time teenagers would not have screamed abuse (on the phone or off it) at their parents and insisted they have their way.

Now I am not saying that these kids are bad, there are too many of them to stand in judgement to say that, but I do ask where is there sense of community? Where is there respect for those who have gone before and paved their way? I also have to ask, why are they so angry at the world? These days these kids will just as soon bash each other as their parents, strangers or police. Why?

Is it because we as parents have become too busy just making ends meet and becoming successful that we have forgotten how to parent? Do our kids now recieve so many ‘things’ to keep them occupied while we work that they expect instant gratification of every whim? Are they so angry because they have lost the skills of compassion. community and love? It seems their love is prefaced by the statement: “I will love you only as long as you do what I want.”

This morning in my RSS there was a post from Lifehacker called Advice for a Teenage Daughter and the sentiments were really excellent, it is worth a read. It got me thinking about my experience yesterday and the ramifications of these angry young people becoming our next leaders and the advice I would like to give them before it is too late, some of it is synonymous with the Lifehack post with a few alterations and additions and is meant for all teenagers:

  1. Love and Respect Yourself – You are worthy of being loved and respected even by you. You are great and have so much potential take care not to flush it away with low self esteem, and anger at the world. Living and loving takes work but it is worth it, happiness is something you have to feel from within, it cannot be given to you on a plate or in a box.
  2. Don’t Get Obsessed with Your Appearance or With Social Standing – When you are happy just being yourself, it takes all the stress out of being a part of some group who doesn’t value you for who you are. If your friends are more obsessed with your appearance or peered reviewed ‘coolness’ than with who you really are, they are not your friends. It is only when you are real that you will find real friends.
  3. Never Live Beyond Your Means – Spend only what you can really afford, and save for your future, avoid debt as much as possible unless it is to buy an asset like a house or a business. No ‘thing’ is worth being in debt, it is like selling your soul to the devil you will regret it (this also goes with #2).
  4. Never Compromise Your Safety or That Of Your Friends – Think about your future, believe me when I say that these people who claim to be your friends and want you to hurt others for fun, take drugs, get drunk or hurt yourself are not and in 10 years time, you will hardly remember them, unless you are hurt or hurt another by your actions. This you will remember, it will haunt you for the rest of your life.
  5. Always Do Your Best – some days you may give more than others, but as long as you are giving your best you cannot fault yourself. Whether at work, with your family or at play be your best and give of your best and you cannot help but be successful in every area of your life love, career and fun.
  6. Always Remember Your Parents Love You – Whatever happens in life, your family will still be your family.  Whatever difficulties you encounter you can always talk to us and we will try to help.  We are here for you. Even when we do not give you what you think you want, remember we have lived longer than you and may make decisions that do not make sense to you now in an effort to keep you safe.
  7. Always Remember That You are Part of a Community – You are a part of many communities and each one of them deserves your compassion and respect. Your communities include your immediate friends and family, your town, your country, and the whole human race. Treat all of your communities with compassion and they will do the same for you. Humans need communities they keep us safe and sustain us when times are bad, they also give us the love and meet our social needs. Remember that when you feel the need to become angry or hurt another just for fun.
  8. What You Give Out Will Come Back to You – Karma always comes back to your one way or another, if you are angry at the world you will get anger from the world, if you are loving to the world you will get love from the world that is how communities work. If you want to live in a world thatsupports you when you need it, that loves you when you need it be that person. You know if you want friends, real friends who like you just the way you are – You first have to be one.
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