This post is mostly for my generation…because damn…we have GOT TO CHILL when it comes to our tweens and teens.
My son, who yes, I do feel the sun rises and falls with him (but also yes, I KNOW to be a friggin’ GOOD KID because I’m told repeatedly how well-behaved and kind he is) – is constantly telling me about incidents he has with adults when he is out and about…doing wild, wild, wild things like…fishing.
He tells me that he gets yelled at by women “your age, Mom” about keeping his fish, that he should throw them back, etc. Or, if he’s riding his bike – ON THE MARKED PATH – that he’s being dangerous and not following the rules. Or, if he’s out and about outside, minding his business – he’s loud and disruptive. Because how DARE a tween take up space in this world.
Oh hay – OUTSIDE is where he can be loud, FYI.
So, here’s my kid – at the ripe old age of 12 having to defend himself against misinformed asshole adults who don’t know the rules and feel obliged to inform my kid he’s doing wrong, when he very much IS NOT.
Here’s my kid, GOING FISHING – not doing drugs, not smoking, not swearing, not staying indoors playing video games, not shoplifting, not bullying, not being an asshole – getting yelled at and berated for doing things that are within his rights and are LEGAL TO DO by dickhead adults who don’t know better.
He checks website, he talks to park rangers…HE KNOWS THE RULES…so fuck off and leave him be.
I think this comes from my generation because, let’s be honest, most of us were real assholes as teens. I think we believe that because we were getting drunk in the elementary school field at 14 and swearing up a storm, that “kids these days” are doing the same.
Here’s the thing: THEY AREN’T (for the most part).
“Kids these days” are smarter when it comes to stupid stuff we used to do. I have a lot of friends with older kiddos who would never ever drink and drive – which is something most of us Gen-X’er have done – and NO – we aren’t proud of it. But shiiiiiiit – that thought doesn’t even cross most kids’ minds these days. It’s not even in their decision-making repertoire. They know the damage and hurt that has caused.
Adults, us parent are doing a bang-up job with this generation that’s growing up in a pandemic. Truly, these teens and tweens are exceptional. So, let’s give them a little credit, a little freedom and a little runway to be…teens and tweens.
WE HAVE GOT TO CHILL.
Leave the kids alone. Unless they’re swearing and doing something awful to someone else – LET THEM BE.
Mind your own business. Nine times out of ten teens and tweens know the rules better than we do – because – THEY GOOGLE IT BEFORE THEY GO ANYWHERE. Our kids are the most informed kids of all generations and we, as adults, need to grow with them and understand that NOT ALL TEENS ARE BAD.
So, if you’re concerned about their behaviour – before you start yelling, maybe ask some questions first. Most times you’re going to be talking to some nice kids, so hold your tongue and find out more information before you start yelling. Wait a beat, get curious and strike up a conversation – NOT a lecture.
And hey, if you feel you still need to yell so you can show our teens and tweens how smart, knowledgable and powerful you are…
Well, because my son is MUCH TOO POLITE to say it, let me say it for him:
Fuck all the way off.
To the teens and tweens out there – you’re doing an amazing job. Life isn’t easy for you right now and your world has been flipped upside down. I trust you to be stronger than I ever was, smarter than I wish I had been and kinder than most of the adults yelling at you.
I apologize for the adults who don’t take the time to know you. You’re incredible and our world is going to be a much better, more loving place because you’re in it, living your life and doing right for yourself and others.
My gratitude and respect to our teens and tweens – I hope you receive it from other adults – but if not, please know some of us know what a remarkable job you’re doing of growing up in these very uncertain and explosive times.