I struggled with that title. Kind of harsh, isn’t it? True, though. Teens get a bad rap in today’s society, usually well deserved. We associate them with
awful loud music, inappropriate clothing, bad manners, and no concept that they need to take responsibility or look to the future.
If you harbor this preconceived notion, taking a walk through a shopping mall is usually enough to cement it. The joke is that teens don’t want to be seen in public with their parents, but I’d imagine most parents wouldn’t want to be seen with them.
Now that I’ve thoroughly dissed them, I’m going to take it back: today’s teens do not have to be social misfits. They can be well-behaved, clever, fun, and appropriately dressed, and when they are, you’re pleased to be seen in public with them because they prove that preconceived notions can be shattered.
My husband and I and a few other adults accompanied twenty-five teens to a nice restaurant and the opera last Friday night for our Spring Protocol event. Protocol is an occasion to get all dressed up and go out on the town and takes place each spring for high school students in Classical Conversations, a one-day-per-week program for homeschooled students. After the opera we returned for a dance and reception organized by the other moms, who’d created something that looked like a mini wedding reception in our absence, chocolate fountain and all.
I’m not saying that teens shouldn’t be funny and silly. I prefer them that way.
Believe it or not, there are teens in this world who don’t have a problem hanging out with adults. Some actually like their parents, in spite of what the culture will tell you.
Never assume that your child is perfect or say “My child would never do that”—you’re probably setting yourself up for big disappointment. However, you can enjoy your teens! And teens: choose to be countercultural and pleasantly surprise all of those people who expect the worst from you.
I hope this is an encouragement to parents who’ve dreaded the teen years. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a plug here for homeschooling and the Classical Conversations program. This is our 19th year as a homeschooling family and our 3rd year with CC.
What about you? Got teens?
And teens? I’d love to hear from you!