You don’t need to rub in the obvious – teens and difficult issues

With the teen years come adult issues.

They fall in love and get their hearts broken. It hurts so bad they think they’ll never recover.

They get their feelings hurt because they didn’t get the part in the play or someone says they look “________________” fill in the blank (ugly, emo, goth, ugly, stupid, fat, skinny, pimple faced, etc). Then they want to hide forever or they get so angry they want to smack someone.

And sometimes a friend is sick or mourning a loved one. That is a new experience for a lot of teens. Little kids don’t always understand but teens are expected to act like adults. But nobody tells them what that means. I don’t think that is something parents can really teach. It is such a shock to the system that we can’t always be prepared.

Then the questions comes along with bad news: Hey mom, what do I do? What do I say? 

This is what I tell my teens:

Sometimes an inspirational saying is not what someone needs.

Sometimes people just need privacy and you need to respect that.

Sometimes it is better not to solve the problems of others.

Sometimes people just need to talk. Let them talk.

They need to be listened to. I mean really listen.

They don’t need advice.

They just need your ear.

They need a hand to hold and a hug.

They need a cup of tea with honey and a smile.

Maybe those inspirational sayings you email to people and post on FB really annoy the person who has cancer or is mourning a loved one or going through other big heavy issues. Yes cancer does suck but posting on Facebook about it or sending an email won’t make the person who has it feel any better. I know at least one person who said “I’m not going to embrace this illness. I am going to fight it and not answer to it. I am not going to identify with it”. This is one person who does not want all of the noise. This is someone who wants to talk about his illness on his terms, not have it forced in his face or out into public.

Did you think that sometimes they just don’t want to think about it? Sometimes it is nice to take a break from those bad issues. Sometimes it is nice to just laugh or hear about silly things about what your cat did, rather than listen to you blurt out about something bad. Those inspirational sayings and well meaning advice just make it hurt even more.

Some people cope with problems by giving their challenges a public face – but not everyone is like that.

I don’t know all the answers, but I’m just sharing what works for me and for my family.


9 thoughts on “You don’t need to rub in the obvious – teens and difficult issues

  1. Pingback: You don’t need to rub in the obvious – teens and difficult issues « West Coast Review

  2. I only like inspirational quotes in fun circumstances. Like at speed skate practice, people can shout inspirational things all they like. But in other situations I find them annoying and sometimes offensive–inadvertently to be sure, but offensive all the same. I do not like quotes that suggest that people who die from certain diseases just didn’t fight hard enough or didn’t believe enough or some such. I don’t like it when people suggest someone was just here long enough to teach me something because this suggests that I’m the reason the person was here rather than that they were here for their own selves.

    Quotes about God’s mysterious ways or plans really drive me crazy.

    I’ve people in my family who always want to give advice. ALWAYS. About everything. I do not like unasked for advice. I don’t like to give advice. If someone has a question, great. I’ll answer it as best I can.

    Everyone needs to learn to listen.

    • Thanks for your comment and for reading my post (kind of a rant today). I agree with you 100%. Those inspirational things all rubbed wrong with me today. I see teens getting frustrated over things and they just need someone to listen to them – nothing more. Same with old people like me.

      • I stop sharing problems with people who I know will just give me advice/inspirational quote. I suspect most teens feel the same. And I hope I listen to my son when he needs me to.

  3. Juliette,
    You are dead-on with this post. If a person is ill and wants to deal with it their own way, it’s always best to respect that privacy. If they don’t want to talk about it – talk about something else. If you want to be a friend, just do that, like you said, be with them, listen to them, and sometimes no words are better than all the platitudes in the world. For more than 20yrs I dealt with very serious heart problems, culminating in a transplant 3yrs ago. In all that time most of my family and friends never realized that I had any problems – I was just more tired than usual (to them). I didn’t tell people because I didn’t want sympathy or pity. I just wanted relationships to continue as they were. So, what you’re telling your kids, at least from my perspective, is perfect.

  4. I agree entirely! Personally, I am sick of inspirational…give-you-a-good-talking-to-in-disguise-preachy-self righteousness! People need a hug! And sometimes they need to hear, “that sucks!” They need to vent, to feel sorry for themselves, feel cared for. They do NOT need, “Amn’t I so spiritual…beyond being brought down, perfect, rise above it!” Good post!

  5. Pingback: Embrace The Strange « Casual, Possibly-Nonsensical Ramblings


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