Written by Amie on December 5, 2008 – 2:22 am -

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I really want to get involved with helping teenagers become empowered. I have talked to teenagers that feel so frustrated with the way things are in our society. Teenagers are often viewed as being irresponsible, lazy, unmotivated etc. They are young adults! They should be treated with respect, just like all humans should be, and they should have healthy adults mentoring them so that they can become healthy adults. When I see movies or tv shows that have teens in them, I get very angry at the way they are portrayed. I imagine a world where teenagers are treated with the respect they deserve. There would be a celebration when a young person becomes a teenager. There would be a right of passage celebration. They would be celebrated for who they are and mentored in a way that helps them discover things they love to do. They would be free to choose what they want to do. They would not be taught that “you better get used to being responsible, you will have to have a job someday.” What a negative thing to teach them! That they have dread to look forward to? Yuck! I want my kids to know that they can choose what they want to do, what makes them feel happy and alive inside. 

Our society puts such an emphasis on college, like you have to go if you want to be successful. I went to college, and I had no idea what I wanted to do! By the time I graduated, I still had no idea. The only reason I went is because I thought it was the “right” thing to do, and that I had to. I also know that I learned way more after I was done with college. The things that are important to me, I learned on my own. I am not saying that college is a bad thing, not at all. I think it should be a place to go for people that want to be there. I think of all of the drinking and partying that happens in college. I wonder what would happen if the teenagers were trusted and respected as young adults while they were still high school age? Would they still have the attitude of “finally, I am free?”  Why not make sure they are free to choose from a young age? 

It really bothers me when adults just assume the worst of teens. They think that if they are given too much freedom, they will take advantage of it. It all comes back to trusting your children from day 1. Always assuming that they want to feel joy, they want to make healthy choices. They are human, why would they want to do things that are bad for them? They are conditioned to do things that are unhealthy for them, it is not a natural state of being for humans. We were born to learn, to feel joy, to have healthy relationships. When we are free to make choices for ourselves, without the mental conditioning that we learn, we make healthy choices most of the time.

I want to figure out a way to help teens have a louder voice. To help them get their needs met by respectful adults, adults that treat them like they would treat a friend. I love talking to young adults that are able to see past the conditioning of our culture. They know that there is so much more to their lives than just being told what to do and where to go each day. It is exciting to me when teens are able to make decisions for themselves, and that they understand that this is their right. 

I think that there is so much more depression in teens because so many of them don’t feel heard. There is so much pressure to do certain things, certain ways, and it doesn’t always matter what feels “right” for them. They have to go along with what is expected if they want to be accepted. It is sad. Everyone should have their own voice, and they should be trusted to know what is best for them!

A really great book to read is The Teenage Liberation Handbook; How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn. It is a great book, even if the teen will continue school. It helps them to see that there are other ways to take control of their life, even if they need to stay in school. It is very empowering!


Another great book is called There Is Nothing Wrong With You For Teens, by Cheri Huber.


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