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05 April 2012 @ 06:18 pm
"I wish I could do high school over"  
The thing I hate most that adults say to teens, "Enjoy high school. It's the best time of life. I wish I could go back to high school all over again."

Reasons I hate this:

1. People for whom high school was really the best time in their life are generally people who frighten me. They are people who are not living life to the fullest right now. If your life really doesn't get more interesting after high school, what is wrong with you? If your idea of a good life is being popular in high school, um, really? That's a pretty small pool and it doesn't show me much about your character. Don't you have dreams of changing the world? Why aren't you doing something about those dreams?

2. It is condescending. The underlying message is that whatever problems you have as a teen, my problems as an adult are SO much bigger and you should really thank your lucky stars you don't have them. It reminds me of when men tell women "don't worry your pretty little head over that." It's a power play, meaning, you don't get to speak because your thoughts are trivial and small.

3. Teen years are often years without power, but with growing responsibility and pressure. If someone really wants to go back to that time, you can give up your power. There's no one stopping you but yourself. Give up your power, let someone else take charge of your life. The reason you don't do that? Because you would hate it. Everyone wants the power of adulthood. People who claim they don't are lying, or are being only partially truthful (perhaps even to themselves),

4. Yes, adult problems are big, but teens see adult problems as well as their own teen powerlessness. Teens right now are watching the country add more and more debt and they will be the ones expected to deal with it. My kids are as uninterested in politics as most teens, but this is largely because they do not have the power to vote or do anything about it. They ARE interested in the debt because it is something that adults are forcing them to accept and bear the burden of, even as children.

5. High school is hell. Buffy TVS is many things, but above all, it is an exploration of this truth on every level. If you are oblivious to the pain that high school is for so many teens, then you are part of the problem. You may be more than part of the problem. You are enjoying your place as a privileged person and not noticing the many, MANY groups who are the bottom of the barrel for no reason other than stupid cultural expectations about race, gender, and sexual orientation. People grow up for a reason, and when they really grow up, that is a good thing.

Another variation on the "I wish I could do high school over" message is "You will agree with me when you are older."

This is a neat way to end the argument. Sure, there are things that are difficult to explain to a teen. But try. Don't just cut off the conversation by telling them that their point of view has no value.
Rosalee LuAnnrosaleeluann on April 6th, 2012 04:45 am (UTC)
I actually don't hear people saying that all the time, but it does sound like something people would say (if that makes sense.) (And now that I think of it my mom has said that about college a couple times.) But I agree with you... I did not greatly enjoy highschool. Wouldn't go back to it. I'm loving college, and am nervous but excited for what I'll be doing next. Life is what you make it, each period has its own problems.
Zornhauzornhau on April 6th, 2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
I hated highschool!

And your comments are right on the nail....
Rose Greenolmue on April 6th, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
Maybe what people are really saying is that they wish they could go back with the knowledge they have now and make it better, fix that part of their lives? OTOH, if they really do feel it was the best part of their lives--yeah, your #1! Yikes!

(Because sometimes people do that to you when you have small children, too. When you are a zombie because it's been three years since you've slept through the night, and your child is hurling things at innocent bystanders in Walmart, and a lady leans over to you and says, "Enjoy it! That time passes so quickly!" you just sort of want to thrust your tantruming toddler into her hands and let her reminisce a bit while you take a nap in the tuna fish aisle. I love my younger kids and my older kids, but I have to admit that life gets easier when they can eat, sleep, use the bathroom, and more or less use basic life-preserving sense walking down the road. I DON'T miss the baby stage!
metteharrisonmetteharrison on April 6th, 2012 01:37 pm (UTC)
Yes! I remember thinking people were crazy who said that, too. Part of this comment to me seems to be an inherent dislike of teens. I've heard lots of people say that you should enjoy the early years, before they become teens. I love my teens and it makes me wonder what other people are doing wrong who don't.
blitheringpooksblitheringpooks on April 6th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
If I had my choice of one week with my kids as teens and one week as very young children, I'd take teens in a heartbeat (if I were thinking of myself). I'd take the young children if I were thinking of them, because I DO think I could do better with them for a short period of time now than I managed full-time back then! I'd bring grandparent patience to it instead of overwhelmed mom.

My real point, though, is that I have adored my children at every single stage of their lives, but the older they got, the more I liked parenting.