leave those teens alone

Noah had twelve hours of Black Belt testing today with a short dinner break, so we grabbed food in nearby Turkey Creek. No, we didn’t go get a turtle out of the swamp. We picked up bbq and wandered around a bit before returning him to the studio for the very last of his testing. A short distance in front of us, some teenagers were playing hacky sac on the sidewalk. I practically had to restrain Doug to keep him from running ahead to join in on the fun. We wandered in a store where I failed in my attempts to convince Doug to buy a different incense. The stuff he is using now makes our basement smell like a lingerie department. I think it must be called soapy jungle gardenia. We left the store empty handed to find the police harassing the hacky sac teens. The police car even had their blinky lights flashing. Younger children on heelys were allowed to dart in front of cars in the parking lot and run over shoppers in the stores, but the teenagers who weren’t bothering anyone were sent to find another place to play. Stupid. I have seen the mall police scolding the teenagers who linger too long in one place. Malls everywhere are banning teenagers during certain hours. Where exactly would the public like those stuck between childhood and adulthood to gather? Aren’t they safer out in public than hidden away from adults? I may be in the middle of my annual pity party, but I would never want to be a teenager again.

4 thoughts on “leave those teens alone

  1. They’d be safer and getting into less trouble at home, for one thing.

    Have you ever actually seen a kid in heelies run someone over, actually knocking them to the ground? I never have.

  2. Teenagers want and need to be exploring their independence. Standing around talking and playing hacky is harmless. Yes. I watched a child of about 11 knock an elderly woman into the glass doors in the frozen food aisle at Kroger on Northshore.

  3. I’m not saying home alone by themselves, necessarily, but at each others’ houses. I just always sigh when I see the skateboard kids idly zooming around the parking lots in groups of twos and threes in the freezing cold and I can’t help but wonder if they have nothing better to do with themselves.

  4. Having a “home” to hang out in with friends is a fairly rare thing. My kids could hardly find a parent willing to accommodate more than two at a time. I remember letting Justin bring several friends over back when we lived in a two bedroom townhouse. It was quite cramped, but they had TV, video games, computer and could also go outside to ride their skateboards, or play basketball or just wander around. However, if they made any such noise that would indicate they were actually having fun, some grumpy old fart would run them off, or worse – call the cops just for them hanging out and doing nothing.

    Teens have it rough. They are treated as if they are public enemy #1 by most authorities. A couple years ago, Justin and a friend decided to try fishing. Only they neglected to obtain licenses before doing so. The TWRA “cop” that busted them yelled at them, threatened them, and finally gave them citations with fines over $100. Now they boys have NO interest at all in ever fishing again. What a difference it would have made if the “cop” had kindly explained the law, directed them to the nearest place to obtain fishing licenses and wished them well, saying he looked forward to their return, properly licensed. But no, he had to treat them like they were criminals!

    How times have changed. Growing up in Oak Ridge, we didn’t have many things to do. But we found an empty corner of a shopping center where there were no stores and the parking lot was empty. We played Frisbee in the parking lot, played our car stereos, hung out, talked, flirted, gossiped, whatever. The local cops would cruise by every now and then … nod, wave and move on. Or sometimes stop and hang out with us, or even toss the Frisbee some. They loved that we were right out there where they could keep an eye on us.

    Times sure have changed.

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