Teenage Wasteland

Let me preface my comments by offering my respects to Marie Osmond and the Osmond Family…most of all to the name of Michael Blosil. I have to be blunt, though. He’s the son of a celebrity, so his reported suicide and history of depression and substance abuse hits the headlines. But teens are dying everywhere without a lot of far-reaching hoopla.

So another teenager has died at his own hand. That makes me very sad. And as Harold Hill sang in The Music Man…

Well, ya’ got trouble, my friend. Right here, I say trouble right here in River City.

I’ve had the bittersweet experience of working with teens in group and individually for a number of years. I’ve seen them at their very best and at their hurting worst. And I have the great good fortune of having two wonderful teens of my own – an 18-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter. No doubt, teens are very cool.

Now, I understand not all teenagers are enduring life-interrupting emotional and mental distress. And I’m convinced not all teens are punks. But something’s seriously wrong here, and we can’t go on allowing our youth to die. Something has to be done…and now!

You know, when I started chipur my goal was to very bluntly lay things right on the line. And I remain committed to staying away from tossing-out buckets of negatives to the cyber world. I’ve always believed recognizing the ick is hugely important; however, following-up in a spirit of “what can we do about it?” is a greater responsibility. That said, I want to approach this issue in two parts. Let’s first open the floor to the bare-bones of the problem, and we’ll look at some solutions tomorrow.

What issues are causing our teens problems (whether they know it or not)…

  • An environment that worships money, status, and physical appearance
  • An environment where “anything goes” in terms of feeling, thought, and behavior
  • Social and life-success pressures well beyond emotional and mental capacity
  • A media so status and money hungry they could care less about the crap they serve up – or genuine accountability
  • Parents and mentors who from the get-go opened the gate to this garbage and may even enjoy it themselves
  • An amazing tolerance – admiration – for arrogance and swagger
  • A loss of a sense of home
  • A loss of the desire and necessity to interact with people face-to-face
  • Easy access to alcohol and drugs
  • A loss of the art of constructively occupying an idle mind
  • A craving for stimuli and reward
  • …your input

What else? I know you must have tons of feelings and thoughts. Well, we need them. Won’t you share?