Anatomy of An Adolescent Rebellion

As my last post probably demonstrated, I was kind of an intense 11 year old. Puberty was relatively kind to me in most outward ways: I didn’t go through any awkward new growth spurts (I’d already been a foot taller than everyone in my class since kindergarten) and my complexion didn’t do anything especially revolting. No, for me, the principle change that puberty brought on was something health class did not prepare me for: it was dissatisfaction, with myself, my life, and the way I fit into the world.

Children are understood to be narcissists, and people a generation or so older than me are especially fond of talking about the entitlement of people my age and younger. It’s sort of like the baby boomer generation realized that it was kind of hurtful when their parents’ stoicism prevented them from expressing love and pride and encouragement, so they compensated by saturating their own kids with daily, hourly affirmations of worth and affection. Then, when those kids grew up and didn’t thrive for one reason or another, their parents took it as a personal insult: “But we did everything right! Unlike our parents. I guess we just loved those kids too dang much, and now they’re unprepared for the real world.”

I don’t know. It’s possible that I’m on to something, or it’s possible that I’m attributing my own fucked-up family dynamics to American parenting trends in general. I do that sometimes.

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