Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What We Tell Teens about Teenaged Behavior

As Thursday's big Judiciary hearing showdown looms, some important reading from the New York Times on how some teens view this issue.  I urge you - no matter your stance - to sit down and actually talk to your teen and listen to your teen about what he/she sees and feels at their own school.
Maycee Wieczorek, a 17-year-old in Rapid City, S.D., said it felt odd as a student to hear grown-ups dismissing the significance of Mr. Kavanaugh’s character in high school.

“For me and my friends his past is our now,” she said.
I also note this article in today's NY Times about what was written about a female "friend" of Kavanaugh's who was written about in his high school yearbook.  He was at an all-boys school and she was at a nearby all-girls school.  She was one of the woman who signed a letter of support for Kavanaugh.  The article explains a photo of Kavanaugh and friends who called themselves “Renate Alumni" referencing the woman.
“I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” Ms. Dolphin said in a statement to The New York Times. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.”

Ms. Dolphin said she had never kissed Judge Kavanaugh. “I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him,” she said through her lawyer.

In an interview on Fox News on Monday, Judge Kavanaugh defended his high school behavior in general terms. “People might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school — I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit,” he said.
I bring this up for two reasons.  

One, yearbooks truly are forever.  That we are now parsing a 35-year plus yearbook for information should tell you something.  The woman that those then-boys were laughing at now has pain because of their caddish, callous treatment.  But hey, they were just 17-year old boys.  I recall the pain my son - who has Special Ed issues - when something very unkind was printed in Hale's yearbook his senior year.  That two of the advisors who had been his teachers and knew of his situation let it go was equally painful.

My second reason is an age-old question of how much of a pass do we give teen behavior.  On the one hand, we know from scientific research that the teen-aged brain is not fully-formed.  Many teens lack the ability to judge outcomes or may have impulse control problems.  That needs to be understood in all issues involving teens and behavior.  

However, in many criminal cases, black and brown teens get disproportionately more punishment  than white teens.  Trump says Kavanaugh is a fine person and yet he wanted the group of teens - black teens - in the Central Park gang rape to be killed.  All those boys were found completely innocent of that crime.  

In 2015, a young man in a fraternity who sexually assaulted a young woman at a Stanford party out by a dumpster where she had passed out recently asked a court to not label him as a sex offender because:
(Brock) Turner wasn’t attempting rape at all when he thrust his body against an unconscious woman’s naked genitals in 2015, lawyer Eric Multhaup told the three appellate court judges. He was merely attempting “outercourse.”
Beware of boys/men who have all these terms and excuses for criminal behavior. I had a guy on Facebook argue that dragging someone in a room, shutting the door, holding them down and putting their hand over their mouth as they struggled to scream is not a crime.  I urged him to try it with a woman and see what the police think.

Mainly, this is plea for dialog but also just listening to your teen.  Youth is a learning place, a place for mistakes but there are easily many, many ways to learn from other people's mistakes and given your child tools so they do not have to go thru that kind of upset.

This goes for parents of boys as well as girls.  I think there is some karma energy to the fact that Judge Kavanaugh is the father of two girls. 

1 comment:

z said...

I urged him to try it with a woman and see what the police think.

Your point is solid, but poor wording. I suggest changing it to: asking a police officer or a judge what they think. Without trying it at all. You never know how literally a person like that will take things.