Why Do We Hate Teenagers?

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Did this headline grab you? You’re not unique. It’s what seems to work for newspapers and television.

This is what I read in the New York Times this morning: “Raising a Teenager? What’s Not to Hate?” Not exactly what I like to read with my morning coffee, and I found the wording pretty distasteful.

What I wondered is how many click-throughs that headline got. But it got worse.

The article turned out to be a review of a tv show debuting tonight and actually said very little about teens and their parents. Except when the author made this indictment of children and teens everywhere:

“There’s nothing wrong with hating children, and teenagers all but ask for it.” 

I don’t think the writer said this in jest; the article was more serious than that.  Now my distaste has turned into disbelief and way more than dislike. I’m disarmed.

Why do teenagers seem to get a bad rep?

They are our future leaders, our creative spirits, and sometimes our conscience.  They make us think about who we are and what we represent. They ask great questions.

There have been countless times, when planning programs  in different venues, that the proprietor asked “You mean, your program is with TEENAGERS? How many? Will they be supervised? How many chaperones will there be? Are you insured? Has this been done before?

Even in the space our school shares on a weekly basis, there is an attitude that during break time ‘the kids are loud, create a mess and hang all over the furniture’. 

Break time is what I love.  There are close to 150 teenagers, all hanging out together, connecting with each other and their cellular devices…and it’s all good. 

Put that into a headline.

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About Ruth Schapira

I am a Jewish Educator of teens, interested in changing paradigms of Jewish high school education, incorporating strategic and creative initiatives and collaboration with like-minded organizations. Interested in creating new educational opportunities for Jewish teens using best practices and networking tools. View all posts by Ruth Schapira

3 responses to “Why Do We Hate Teenagers?

  • micolzimmerman

    Excellent. Let me know when you’d like to chat sometime.

  • Ruth Schapira

    It would be great to connect about these issues. The more we can invest others in the goals of developing the leadership potential of our teens, the better!

  • Micol Zimmerman

    Hi Ruth,
    A colleague at work sent me your twitter page thinking the two of us should connect. I completely agree. I work at the Jewish Education Project in New York, working specifically with teen educators and professionals, with the goal of elevating the field of teen engagement and engaging more teens in meaningful Jewish experiences. It looks like you are doing some really exciting and innovative things and I would love to find out more.
    I don’t have twitter but I do have Facebook. I tried to find you but couldn’t. Please feel free to look me up and find me.
    Look forward to meeting you, virtually or otherwise :)

    Micol Zimmerman

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