Depending on how much time I have between now and the end of my life, there’s a possibility I’ll write a blog series based on relationships with teenagers. I think it’s necessary for adult writers to see social interactions with teenagers from an actual teenagers view (myself).
I was inspired to start with this topic (adult and teenager interactions) due to my recent attempts to gain favor with some older people I know.
In my other post, How Ya Make De Teenage Dialogue, I spoke a little about writing a teenager’s side of talking to adults; now I’m going to show you what I, as a teenager, have noticed about the way adults speak to me. Hopefully you can use my advice to create realistic relationships in your writing.
This post will possibly be a rambling mess, but I hope you’ll excuse that. 🙂
Adults are “Wise Old Owls”
Teenagers understand that the older you are, the wiser you are. You made mistakes and you’ve learned from them.
For some reason, though, adults find it necessary to bombard teens with ‘wisdom’. . .
People with many years under their belt assume it’s their duty to keep the growing youth from making the same mistakes. They often tell long winded stories about lessons they learned the hard way.
Teenagers understand that they’re trying to help, but don’t forget that backstory can be excruciatingly boring.
So, when writing about adults and teenagers interacting, include stories. You don’t have to come up with massive backstories for your older characters, but include the part of adults that thrives to make an impression on today’s youth.
Also, don’t forget to show that teenagers usually don’t like getting advice. Teenagers like to learn from their own mistakes, not someone else’s.
Elementary School Theory
The subtitle of this category is as it is because I believe people never really grow up. The best example of this is the belittling adults do to teens.
Back in the old elementary days you anxiously awaited being one of the older kids. When you were in second grade you constantly had to prove you were so much cooler than those stupid first graders. When you were in sixth grade, kindergarteners were no more than babies with a slightly better vocabulary.
The same is true of your high school years. Seniors didn’t favor freshmen. They do fail to remember, though, that four years ago they were probably hated by some seniors, too.
Now, adults are the big bad older kids, and teenagers are the babies with a good vocabulary. It’s not true of everyone, but some adults are content to convince teenagers that they’re so cool! I imagine one of you adult readers will give me some response to this that saves your ego, but really, I don’t care. You were once my age, too, so there’s no denying it.
If you want to listen to a song that reminds me (and possibly you) of the Elementary School Theory, go back and listen to “High School Never Ends” by Bowling for Soup (LOVE THAT BAND!). The song doesn’t connect that well to my point, but it sure does say something.
Write about this circumstance! It happens, so why exempt it from your writing?
The End is Nigh!
Have you ever noticed yourself telling someone younger that there life is going to be s*** in a few years? I’ve even done it, so surely you have.
Adults act like they’ve survived World War III when they’re warning teenagers of the horrible future they have. They always tell kids to enjoy the safety they have now because in a few years they’ll be paying bills and juggling two jobs.
Teenagers understand why you’re warning them, but they don’t care. They’ll find out soon enough about the struggles of growing up, so personally I think it’s rude of adults to scare them (us) like that.
It doesn’t matter what I think, though, because I’m just hear to tell you to include this in your writing. GO FOR GOLD!!
That subtitle’s deceptive. . . oh, well! I’m too lazy to change it.
The point of this category, meanwhile, is to tell you how teenagers should react to the things your adult characters do.
For one, after an adult has belittled a teen too many times, the teen will become wary of the things they say around said adult. Perhaps a particular person corrects any mispronunciations that someone makes. After this happens too many times, a teen or person will just straight up stop speaking to this adult to avoid embarrassment.
There are other instances of that, but you get the jist.
To continue, teenagers are often very stubborn when it comes to making their own life choices. They don’t want to be told what to do.
If someone is trying to tell one of your teenage characters what to do, have the teen only pretend to listen or just smile and nod (remember, teens aren’t jerks they’re just trying to figure out the world for themselves).
If you have any other instances that your curious about, ask me questions in the comments. If you disagree with a characterization I made towards adults, then I don’t know what to tell you.
Maybe all teenagers don’t think the same as me, but I would assume the consensus agrees with the points I’ve made.
Happy reading and happy Monday!!!! 🙂