Teens are Mean…

Photo credit - imdb.com

Photo credit – imdb.com

Not all the time and not everyone, but it’s trending… teen meanness.

I’m not the first to say “School is a jungle”… Prompted by Housegoeshome’s recent post on redheads I thought about how carelessly cruel the teenage world is. It reaches a brutal peak in High School…I notice it in the classroom, the playground. Life is tough if you are chubby or have:

  • red hair
  • big ears
  • a big nose
  • pimples
  • freckles

You are reminded of this feature daily and can feel self-conscious, inadequate and even apologetic for not being skinny, pretty, popular or cool enough. Few can bluff it out or give back as good as they get. Most nurse their wounds, silently, painfully. Most turn it in on themselves; victim-blaming is rife. Occasionally a victim fills with hate and punishes the world, picks up a gun and takes out their persecutors. Thankfully this is very rare.

Photo credit - filmthrasher.com

Photo credit – filmthrasher.com

Chris Lilley’s Ja’mie as Queen of Mean, takes nastiness to a whole new level. Her special brand of vicious is reserved for borders, lesbians and Asians. Horrible stuff. It’s satire, but so close to the truth my daughter and I cringe. She relates, she is a teenager. She too was victim to bullying. I’ve written a teen novel on this subject, and a blog post – ‘The Party’ – about bullying by exclusion.

Lightening up

But this post is too heavy and I’d like to finish on a lighter note, narrating a typical conversation with Poppet, my daughter. She isn’t very mean, except to her mother.

On makeup, especially eye-liner – a subject I tiptoe around. Not even a boy on the train crying “Child prostitute!” has limited her application of eye-liner.

Weary parent:      Darling try not to wear so much eye-makeup, it isn’t appropriate for                                      school.

Poppet:                I look horrible without it.

Eager parent:       Nonsense, you are beautiful – a lovely, natural beauty – you don’t need a                              scrap of make-up.

Poppet:                You won’t leave the house without mascara and lipstick.

Sheepish parent:  That’s different, I’m old…I need it.

Poppet:                 You’re a hypocrite! You told me you wore makeup to school when you                                   were a teenager.

Oh why was I so open with her? She uses my candour against me!

Do you or your children have any experiences of meanness? Have you navigated your way successfully through these?

Linking up with Essentially Jess today for IBOT 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Teens are Mean…

  1. I think it’s not only teens. I’ve seen it more and more in the primary school yard. Kids can be cruel and I know it is just their way of dealing with things that they may be struggling with but there needs to be more done. I don’t know what. I don’t have the answers but for those involved it hurts.

    • Yes, it can start early – even in infants school, but thankfully it seems to taper off after school in uni (although it exists in the workplace as well, unfortunately!)

  2. I have to agree with Jodi, it’s starting younger and it’s scary. All I want to do is give my children the confidence to not take on board any of the insults that are flung their way. I also hope they never feel bad enough about themselves they are mean to others. I went to an all-girls boarding school and it really affected my confidence. And have to giggle about your daughter using your openness on you! Daughter 1 Mum 0 – good luck with the next round! Emily (visiting as part of #teamIBOT)

  3. I have littlies still but i too know kids in primary that are not so much bullied but there is whole competitive, social status thing that i certainly dont remember. Although it was cool to have a rainbow brite lunch box no body teased you if you didnt. i hope i can get my kids through it all unscathed and certainly not the mean ones. Sport and family with a good dose of non school friends thats what i’m clinging to 🙂

  4. I experienced some form of torment when I went to school. my parents worked hard so we could go to a catholic private school, not for the notoriety, but for the catholic education. The only problem is we didn’t have the best clothes, no brand names or fancy hairdos. I suffered the consequences, from a girl in particular. Now I see it was her not me, but at the time, it certainly made a mark on my confidence. I would say try to bring your kids up with tolerance for people that are different, and no importance on how much a person is worth upon their appearance, but their worth as a person. With credit cards so freely available and the the amount of debt people are willing to get themselves into for ‘appearance’, I don’t believe any of that matters anymore, really. It seems with every generation, we are becoming more shallow, when will it end?

  5. Did you see my post on Monday? My daughter is 10 and already we are dealing with the bitchiness of pre-adolescent girls. It just breaks my heart that girls can be so, so mean for no apparent reason.

  6. I haven’t read it, yet but will do so soon 🙂 Yes, it’s heart rending the way there’s so much competition among young girls. If only they’d see that ‘girl power’ is the better way…

  7. I was picked on all through primary and high school because of my sharp, pointy nose. I was called Witchy-poo and Pointer. I should probably have had rhinoplasty but I had better things to spend my money on. Now my nose is the least of my problems what with wrinkly knees etc.

    • Rhinoplasty, what nonsense! I’ve seen your photos Pinky and you have a lovely nose.
      (Never mind wrinkly knees – I have too many body part problems to contemplate) 😉

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