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The Conundrum of Growing up

28 / 08 / 2016

When I was on Jury Service a little while ago, I heard a lot of complaining about children. Other jury members both jokingly and not, poked fun at how their kids did stupid things or have been particularly difficult. The age bracket of these cases was 15 and above to about 29. I'm sitting there in the room as the token 18-year-old, feeling ridiculously out of place and wondering whether it's possible to fade away into nothing as they complained how teenagers are so annoying for blasting their music on public transport and sitting on their buts all day long, not handing out resumes. I was shouting back comebacks to all these remarks in my head, but none of them eventuated. Like for heaven sake, is it too hard not to generalise people? Clearly, it is.

This conundrum of growing up is an odd one I've been trying to wrap my head around for a while now. So let's try and understand it here.

Firstly, it should be said that as humans, there is a certain fulfilment that comes out of complaining about others. Whether we know them or we don't, there is a certain kick that many experience given the right time and place when taking others off when not in their company. So I guess in that sense, it is slightly inevitable that even when little people do arrive on the scene, that this bickering isn't going to stop.

Then second, there's the whole uproar that comes from some parents/guardians when their children have a rough patch. I know that in the moment it's often difficult to stay cool and calm, but you can't have a childhood bump free. Apart from it possibly being mathematically impossible in the current climate - it would simply lead to a very bland and naive child. There seems to be some slack given to 2-year-olds and those under ten for having a few boo-boos every now and then, and meltdowns in the supermarket - but once it gets into the teenage years?? it's like everyone has got to get through with a perfect record. Now I am not saying that major rudeness and violence are excusable, no, no. Just that it's unrealistic that it's going to be a completely smooth ride on the way up to 25 - so let's account for that. Stuff ups are even more important when you are a teenager because you can actually remember them. You have the cognitive ability to understand, process and move on from what you've done. Whether it's cheating on a test, breaking/losing something precious, or something much more serious, it's all learning curves that will be over as quickly as they came and are of vital importance in growing up.

So my closing statement I guess is, that as an 18-year-old I'm asking parents and future parents to realise that there are boo-boos throughout life, both in 8-year-olds and 55-year-olds, plus everything in between. Raising a teenager is not as doom and gloom as it is made out to be, but that doesn't mean that you have to hold your breath and try to get to the end of it without a single hic-up. After all, if you expect those around you to deal with your mistakes, as a parent you should process, deal and forgive those of your child's.