Teenagers – Shaking my head: A Musing

Most of the dramas in my life in the last ten years have come from my teens. Their dramas, upsets, friendship break ups and break downs, school hits and misses. It’s really hard to keep track. Talking them through it, finding alternative responses, walking them through to consequences of the impact of their own behaviour. Pretty tiring.

I don’t like drama, yet I am surrounded by it. Is it just me or are teens worse? I was pretty bad, in my own head mostly, when I was a teen. I was snarky and nasty. Thank goodness there was no facebook then oh, oh my god. Just think of all the nasty thoughts and things I said. Just think if I wrote them down. It was bad enough that I sometimes wrote letters and posted them! Regrets, I have a few.

But teens today take all that angst into the public arena and it escalates rapidly. A simple misunderstanding quickly became four teens on my doorstep and opposite my house yelling abuse and threats. My 13 year old was scared and had no idea how to handle it. The neighbours were so perturbed that when I finally came out to speak with them (I had been in my studio oblivious), the neighbour came over to make sure we were okay. How nice of him.

I know all these kids and they know me. They wanted to speak with me to tell me what my daughter had done. In between arriving and my becoming aware that it had escalated, threats of physical harm had occurred and my daughter had panicked. Poor darlings. It will blow over eventually but they are all so hot-headed. My girl contributed but she has me to talk to. I worry about the others.

I know there have been a lot of conversations about facebook and we really won’t see the impact of this destructive behaviour for years. No matter how we try to warn them that what they write stays on the interwebs forever, we are not believed. Yep, that’s right, I was never a teen. Yep, that’s right, I never said anything stupid. Yep, that’s right, I never fought with my friends. Yep, that’s right, I don’t know anything.

Of course the really funny bit in all this was that was exactly how I thought as a teen. I was absolutely convinced that I was smarter than both my parents (I still have a sneaking suspicion that it is true). I could certainly talk them under the table. I was so argumentative. I refuse to argue at all these days. Must be tough on my 13 year old but she’s my fourth teen and I’m well practised. Mind you, she still manages to come up with some combinations I haven’t quite handled before and I have certainly had some terrible drama with her birth mother (upon whom we currently have an intervention order, I kid you not). But, all in all, she’s a kid and she’s my kid and I love her.

Interestingly it was her not-friends’ threats toward me that made her deactivate her facebook account and state that it was not okay to treat me like that. Love that. I have always been (over – if you ask my kids) protective. I quite like being on the receiving end. I do feel for them all though. They make their lives so much harder than needs to be. Then again, they are teens. There are adults that behave like that without hormonal excuses.

So, tomorrow I will drop her to school and walk her into the office to explain. Then she’s on her own. Hard as it is she has to deal with it. We will go through responses again to practise. She wanted me to walk her to her locker (actually she doesn’t even want to go to school but that won’t work) but I have to go to work. I have faith that the school will look out for her and she will have to keep her head down. The scary thing is that kids seem to think they can get away with bashing each other. One step at a time.

She’s brave my girl. As feisty as she is, I really wouldn’t have her any other way. But if I heave a sigh and shake my head on occasion, I know you will understand.

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