I had an interesting conversation with another adult involved with Cadets recently. In which she mentioned that she had never been exposed to such “Teenage Drama” before moving here and working with the youth we work with now.
I was like “You mean… besides high school, right?”
No, no she didn’t… she meant ever. I was taken aback slightly by that statement. She is more recently out of High School than I am (as in she is younger than me) so I would imagine she’d recall her High School years better than me. But she meant she and her friends had very little drama and she didn’t hang out with “the cool kids” where most of the drama she imagined would have happened. I mean… I was never a “cool kid” per se… I really didn’t see that there were any particular groups defined as such in my High Schools, honestly… unless perhaps you were one of the kids that found Dan’s group to be cool. Everyone knew who they were at least – but they were hardly of the traditional “popular kid” like crowd.
Though it’s true to some extent that I think teenagers nowadays – especially in the small remote area I live – are rife with drama more so than what I experienced nearly a couple decades ago. Not so much more drama per kid, but that perhaps more kids in this area are experiencing the higher level dramas? I’m not sure how to express that thought, really… But we live in a very small town. It is a 16ish hour drive to any of the bigger cities. It’s hard to find things to do sometimes – at least what the other teens would consider as cool I guess. Then we take into account the whole social media aspect that is affecting the lives and attitudes of youth these days.
There was dramas going on when I was in high schools, if you didn’t have your own drama happening there was most assuredly someone you knew having drama of some sort. But this was in the 90s and early 00s. We all had mobile phones when in Sweden (the US didn’t have them as rampantly for teens until a little later than Sweden) but they were old Nokias and Erikssons. They had that stupid snake game and texting abilities. Not a whole lot else. No snapchat to contend with, no instagram to look good for.
Even so, whether or not my perception of a higher percentage of kids having dramas is correct… I expect to an extent that’s not necessarily true worldwide. Besides the small town thing, there’s the working with kids and having them tell me stuff about themselves or their friends… and so much more is out there that shows up on my social media newsfeeds because of these associations…. Regardless of all that, I don’t think the base dramas have really changed. Details have changed. Details such as that boy showed all his lads your instagram or snapchat picture and they made fun of it/shared it… whatever… is still much the same as the feelings that were created when that guy twenty years ago showed that polaroid to his friends… or read aloud your text and made fun of it with his boys.
There are still the kids who live in or came from abusive homes, there are still kids that drink and do drugs, there are still kids who cheat on each other. There are still kids who are so in love they don’t know what to do with themselves or their hormones. There are still emotions they can’t control; anger, sadness, lust. There are still breakups and new crushes. There are still eating disorders and depression. There’s still sexist boys that treat girls like personal objects. There’s still youth that have uncontrollable anger and punch walls.There are still girls that manipulate boys to the best of their ability.
Sometimes it is difficult for teens to understand that a lot of adults in their lives actually have similar experiences. I have come across youth that will give me a surprised look when I relate an issue I’ve had in the past to one they are currently dealing with.
There are two cadets I have been the listening ear for when they have troubles in their friendship/relationship for awhile now. On again off again, you can tell they really care for each other , perhaps even love – at least at some point. But their whatever-it-is has plenty of drama, plenty of disagreements and silences.
The details are different, but the emotions are much the same. Last time I sat and talked to the girl, she was upset and frustrated. We had a good long talk…. at the end I asked her if I had ever told her about “My Jonathan.” – utilizing the name of the boy in question. I gave her a brief rundown with points that related to her situation and then pulled up Facebook on my phone, selected a picture, and held the phone out saying “This is my Jonathan.”
“Awww, that’s so cute, Emma! You have a Jonathan…”
I really don’t know what my point was meant to be today. Mostly I just wanted to sit and write something… But I guess if you need a takeaway from today: If you are a youth and you think that nobody understands you, believe me I bet you have an adult somewhere in your life that knows exactly what you’re going through. We can’t all understand everything, we can’t all be cool with talking about certain things with our kids or whatever – obviously even some adults that would recognize the emotions may not have grown up in such away that they can handle listening or dealing with what their grown up sensibilities tell them…
But if you need help, take that chance with someone you trust and don’t just assume that since we are old we wouldn’t know what it’s like to be a teenager.
Trust me, we’ve all been there at some point in our lives.