The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
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05-02-2015, 08:28 PM
The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
I am (or was) writing an essay that included the topic of teenage rebellion. As I was writing, I needed some examples and chose to talk about history. I quickly realized that I couldn't think of any good examples. So after a google search, I came upon "The Myth of Teenage Rebellion" and "Why Nerds are Unpopular." Damn. These are a lot to read, but I never really thought about it before. I was always told I was depressed or an atheist or angry or whatever because I'm "going through a phase" or "it's just your hormones acting up." I came to believe it, but now reading these articles I feel slightly more comfortable with myself and at the same time, everything just kinda clicked.

Why Nerds are Unpopular Wrote:Adults can't avoid seeing that teenage kids are tormented. So why don't they do something about it? Because they blame it on puberty. The reason kids are so unhappy, adults tell themselves, is that monstrous new chemicals, hormones, are now coursing through their bloodstream and messing up everything. There's nothing wrong with the system; it's just inevitable that kids will be miserable at that age.

This idea is so pervasive that even the kids believe it, which probably doesn't help. Someone who thinks his feet naturally hurt is not going to stop to consider the possibility that he is wearing the wrong size shoes.

I'm suspicious of this theory that thirteen-year-old kids are intrinsically messed up. If it's physiological, it should be universal. Are Mongol nomads all nihilists at thirteen? I've read a lot of history, and I have not seen a single reference to this supposedly universal fact before the twentieth century. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance seem to have been cheerful and eager. They got in fights and played tricks on one another of course (Michelangelo had his nose broken by a bully), but they weren't crazy.

As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere.

What do you guys think? Are teens just going through a hormonal phase of sorts, or is there something to it? Is it even rebellion? Is it because we have turned our back on Jesus?

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05-02-2015, 08:39 PM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
(05-02-2015 08:28 PM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  I am (or was) writing an essay that included the topic of teenage rebellion. As I was writing, I needed some examples and chose to talk about history. I quickly realized that I couldn't think of any good examples. So after a google search, I came upon "The Myth of Teenage Rebellion" and "Why Nerds are Unpopular." Damn. These are a lot to read, but I never really thought about it before. I was always told I was depressed or an atheist or angry or whatever because I'm "going through a phase" or "it's just your hormones acting up." I came to believe it, but now reading these articles I feel slightly more comfortable with myself and at the same time, everything just kinda clicked.

Why Nerds are Unpopular Wrote:Adults can't avoid seeing that teenage kids are tormented. So why don't they do something about it? Because they blame it on puberty. The reason kids are so unhappy, adults tell themselves, is that monstrous new chemicals, hormones, are now coursing through their bloodstream and messing up everything. There's nothing wrong with the system; it's just inevitable that kids will be miserable at that age.

This idea is so pervasive that even the kids believe it, which probably doesn't help. Someone who thinks his feet naturally hurt is not going to stop to consider the possibility that he is wearing the wrong size shoes.

I'm suspicious of this theory that thirteen-year-old kids are intrinsically messed up. If it's physiological, it should be universal. Are Mongol nomads all nihilists at thirteen? I've read a lot of history, and I have not seen a single reference to this supposedly universal fact before the twentieth century. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance seem to have been cheerful and eager. They got in fights and played tricks on one another of course (Michelangelo had his nose broken by a bully), but they weren't crazy.

As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere.

What do you guys think? Are teens just going through a hormonal phase of sorts, or is there something to it? Is it even rebellion? Is it because we have turned our back on Jesus?

No.
It's a normal part of human development. People come to understand they are their own separate person/identity. People who don't do it in their teens do it in their 30's or late 50's when it's not maybe such a good thing. Facepalm Tongue

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05-02-2015, 10:12 PM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
(05-02-2015 08:39 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(05-02-2015 08:28 PM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  I am (or was) writing an essay that included the topic of teenage rebellion. As I was writing, I needed some examples and chose to talk about history. I quickly realized that I couldn't think of any good examples. So after a google search, I came upon "The Myth of Teenage Rebellion" and "Why Nerds are Unpopular." Damn. These are a lot to read, but I never really thought about it before. I was always told I was depressed or an atheist or angry or whatever because I'm "going through a phase" or "it's just your hormones acting up." I came to believe it, but now reading these articles I feel slightly more comfortable with myself and at the same time, everything just kinda clicked.


What do you guys think? Are teens just going through a hormonal phase of sorts, or is there something to it? Is it even rebellion? Is it because we have turned our back on Jesus?

No.
It's a normal part of human development. People come to understand they are their own separate person/identity. People who don't do it in their teens do it in their 30's or late 50's when it's not maybe such a good thing. Facepalm Tongue

Yeah, that was generally what the articles were talking about. Throughout history children learned their trades from adults/parents and didn't have much time to just be a kid. Then over the last century with the need for higher education, children had to stay with their parents for a longer amount of time while still keeping that child-parent role, which is what's causing the friction.

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05-02-2015, 10:21 PM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
(05-02-2015 10:12 PM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  
(05-02-2015 08:39 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  No.
It's a normal part of human development. People come to understand they are their own separate person/identity. People who don't do it in their teens do it in their 30's or late 50's when it's not maybe such a good thing. Facepalm Tongue

Yeah, that was generally what the articles were talking about. Throughout history children learned their trades from adults/parents and didn't have much time to just be a kid. Then over the last century with the need for higher education, children had to stay with their parents for a longer amount of time while still keeping that child-parent role, which is what's causing the friction.

It's interesting. We take "childhood" for granted. I heard an historian talk about it once, and he said there was no such *thing* (concept) until Victorian England. Kids were "little workers" as soon as they were old enough to do anything productive.

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06-02-2015, 07:17 AM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
(05-02-2015 10:21 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(05-02-2015 10:12 PM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  Yeah, that was generally what the articles were talking about. Throughout history children learned their trades from adults/parents and didn't have much time to just be a kid. Then over the last century with the need for higher education, children had to stay with their parents for a longer amount of time while still keeping that child-parent role, which is what's causing the friction.

It's interesting. We take "childhood" for granted. I heard an historian talk about it once, and he said there was no such *thing* (concept) until Victorian England. Kids were "little workers" as soon as they were old enough to do anything productive.

Quite correct - before the Industrial Revolution children were put to work in the fields - the reason for the tradition of kids having the summer off school.....

Later -they went to work in the mines and factories. Child labor laws took quite a while to come about....

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07-02-2015, 12:38 AM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
Yeah, just one of those random "ah-ha" moments for me. Never really thought about this stuff. So glad I'm in college Yes

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07-02-2015, 03:56 AM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
I've read 'Why Nerds are Unpopular' before. Just read it again and it's just as good the second time round. If I had children, I would get them to read it too.I would also teach them Thai boxing and explain how the brain needs to be exercised in all different kinds of ways, learning a physical skill is just one other way.

It's hard to find fault with anything that essay says, but I would say that in some other countries there seems to be more emphasis on teaching kids the skills they need later on in life, although what it says about degenerating into a popularity contest is by and large globally true.

I remember asking a group of educationalists in academia once why we sent children to school. One person did actually suggest it was to keep them occupied while the parents worked. I replied that it couldn't just be that as otherwise we'd put them to work in sweatshops. But if you read any articles about a child who has momentarily experienced life in a real work place and has made a real difference, you can also be struck by just how much they thrive on making a real contribution. Something denied to them at school.
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07-02-2015, 09:53 AM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
(05-02-2015 10:21 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(05-02-2015 10:12 PM)Im_Ryan Wrote:  Yeah, that was generally what the articles were talking about. Throughout history children learned their trades from adults/parents and didn't have much time to just be a kid. Then over the last century with the need for higher education, children had to stay with their parents for a longer amount of time while still keeping that child-parent role, which is what's causing the friction.

It's interesting. We take "childhood" for granted. I heard an historian talk about it once, and he said there was no such *thing* (concept) until Victorian England. Kids were "little workers" as soon as they were old enough to do anything productive.

That's not strictly true - not that anything historical generally is.

The most privileged in any society have always possessed some concept of "childhood"; in various times and places this extended much farther down the sociological ladder as well.
(in ancient Rome, for example, anyone of any means at all would have their children in school until they came of age, around 15 or 16 but by law no earlier than 12; sex with free children was a capital offense - but slaves, of course, were fair game...)

Certainly, though, explicitly universal conceptions of "childhood" arose only within the last century.

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07-02-2015, 10:53 AM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
Why Nerds are Unpopular Wrote:I'm suspicious of this theory that thirteen-year-old kids are intrinsically messed up. If it's physiological, it should be universal. Are Mongol nomads all nihilists at thirteen? I've read a lot of history, and I have not seen a single reference to this supposedly universal fact before the twentieth century. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance seem to have been cheerful and eager. They got in fights and played tricks on one another of course (Michelangelo had his nose broken by a bully), but they weren't crazy.

As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere.

Does the author ever wonder why teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs? Or does he have a scale of "crazy" to compare teenagers from different eras? If having your nose broken by a bully isn't crazy, what is? Killing people?

We are born in a society that actually allows us to express those "crazy" feelings. Had you had such an outburst as a teenager in the Renaissance, you would risk getting beat up, disowned, or even jailed.

Risks aside, ours is the only era when teenagers don't actually have to strive much for a decent life. If disease, poverty and a lack of education were your main concerns 24/7, you probably wouldn't have much time to throw tantrums much.

As people who live in the 21st century, I think we all have to deal with feeling crazy by the life we're made to live, no matter our age. There is, I believe, a possibility that most teenagers in history have gone through that phase but were unable to express it or its influence is stronger on people who don't have to strive daily in order to survive (that would be us).

Then again, I'm only judging by that specific quote and I'd probably have to read the whole thing to have a proper opinion but hey Tongue

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07-02-2015, 02:13 PM
RE: The Myth (?) of Teenage Rebellion
I think the societal view that puberty/teenage years are completely negative is wrong.

Whilst you can be on a hormonal roller coaster with, acne, insecurity and sexual frustration, it is also a time of great discovery... My biggest memory of puberty is of being full of ambition, curiosity and on a kind of high. I would spend hours and hours playing my guitar, and listening to music, discovering bands and finding all their albums. That side of it was great fun...

If anything, school was what put the misery into it. I was a bit of a loner, and wasn't interested in the rap and hip-hop that everyone else liked. So I ended up on my own most of the time. And that was really depressing shit.

I've still got my high school reports, which show where puberty peaked... About age 14 or 15, where each class describes me as being "distant" and putting in "minimal effort". While I was in school that year, I felt like total shit... Found it very difficult to get along with people I'd been friends with since we were toddlers.

I've got some videos of me at about 16, just dicking about for a laugh... At the time I thought it was hilarious, but now I just think "what a fucking twat!"

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