We need to talk about teenagers

Well we do, don't we?

I'm not talking about your average teenager, whose triumphs and tribulations are often posted on social media by themselves, and boasted or moaned about by their parents elsewhere.

Nor do I mean those special needs teenagers who will need support all their lives - like Smiley. It seems to be okay to write about them.

No, I'm talking about the teenagers in between. Those who have a variety of special needs, but are considered capable of living and working independently one day. Perhaps that is why we don't write about their differences, especially the ones that cause so many problems for them, their families and their schools.

We try to protect our teenagers because we've read all the warnings that tell us that nothing on social media can ever be totally private. If we don't write about it, then no-one need ever know that it happened. No future employer, no life partner, nobody at all.

Yet there is a downside. Until the last few weeks, I really thought that it was just us. That my teen and my parenting were unusually problematic, that the children of my friends must be doing just fine. You see we used to post updates all the time on blogs, Facebook, rollercoaster, and elsewhere. We shared problems, and worked out solutions together. It was so brilliant. But that doesn't happen much now. I share some stuff with a small group of friends on-line, but many problems I don't mention at all, just hoping against hope that they will "grow out of them". So I'm wondering are we wrong?

Many of our teenagers need a lot of help and support to fulfil their potential. But, let's face it, they are unlikely to get much from State services. And when Angel had teenage problems, I was able to google the problems and find effective solutions. That has not worked for special needs. So perhaps we should be sharing more, perhaps it's more important to give them the help now, and let the future take care of itself?



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