Saturday, December 8, 2007

Trying to be jerky just to fit in

I have a pet peeve. When people start saying, "Teenagers are so ___ (insert unpleasant adjective)... they go through such awful phases... rollercoaster... so moody... "

I have tried various forms of defense:

* "What? Teenage hormones are tough? Have you ever been PREGNANT?"


* "Life is just a set of phases, each one unique in its own right. I wouldn't say one phase is inherently more difficult than the next."

or my favorite:

* "Assuming they will be tough only puts the kids in a lose-lose. What if we tried assuming that the teenage years could be a vibrant, productive time?"

So, yesterday afternoon as I was snuggling with my daughter for reading time, an article in Scientific American caught my eye. It talked about how there was no scientific evidence at all that said that teenagers had to be ornery during those pubescent years. It said that our current American Teen is very much a cultural anomaly. They showed how teens in various cultures didn't have the angst and unpleasantness that we tend to assume teenagers have.

--sigh of relief--

And that teenagers from other cultures who move to the US quickly become whiny, entitlist twits. It is a matter of cultural expectation rather than pure physiological cause.


So, I stand a bit more firmly in my belief that the teen years *can* be sweet.

Next time Vee or Kee does something so "normal" like offer to help with chores that aren't theirs or take a new class just because it sounds like fun, instead of feeling that little glitchy worried feeling of, "I wonder... teenagers aren't supposed to be this nice. Is something wrong?" Instead, I'll try to remember to sigh with relief at their ability to not cave into certain societal pressures.

How bizarre is that that we pressure certain segments of our society to be twits?