#1 Problem Facing Teens

Posted on: January 2, 2015, by :

I saw a question posted on Facebook yesterday morning that asked this question, “What is the #1 problem facing teens today, and how do we fix it?”

This is a great question and it will have many different answers depending on the problems facing the teens in the area in which you live, but it deserves a great deal of conversation.  I answered the question in the following way, and am interested in what you guys have to say about it.  Feel free to comment here or in my inbox if you prefer to converse that way. 

I believe the #1 problem facing youth today is the hollow claims that many parents have made as to the value of their child. Over the past 20+ years, society (in at least one demographic) has begun to tell children that they are the most valuable pieces of existence. They have been told that they are more valuable than their parents, more valuable than their peers, and more valuable as an individual than society as a whole. This may have it’s roots in Psychological Determinism as parents have attempted to, “Make em be doctors and lawyers and such….” but what finally occurred is far more detrimental. We have taught our children that they are gods. They have no equal on earth, and every want they might have should be met regardless of the cost.

The stark reality hits when society fails to maintain this deification once a child reaches their late teens or early twenties. As evidenced by short tenures at school, jobs, and even first marriages, a failure by teachers, professors, co-workers, bosses, and spouses to maintain the undue worship that had been experienced during childhood and adolescence is often too much to endure. Passively aggressive boys and girls in their early twenties are forced to wander through life unable to find direction.

What can be done?

We can stop lying to children about being the center of the universe. We can stop telling children that they failed a class because the teacher is mean. We can stop giving children everything they want, just because they want it. We can stop holding their hand every time they face some adversity.

We can start demanding that children be responsible for their own actions. If you make a grade in a class, it’s because you earned it. If you make money and can spend it on things you want, it’s because that’s how the world works. We can start displaying our own failures for students. We can be honest about how life will actually be. We can be open to being asked real questions and giving real answers.

Adam and Eve wanted to be like God, King Saul wanted to be prophet priest and king, Alexander the Great wanted the whole world to bow to him, and John D Rockefeller died wanting “one more dollar.” We have merely gathered these sins together and fed them to our children one spoon-full at a time.