Saturday, August 13, 2011

Teen angst

We all face it-the angst of the teenager.  We either experienced it ourselves, or are re-experiencing it with our teenagers.  Whether your teen is straight, gay, the model student, president of her graduating class, captain of the football team, transgender, emo, or a nun in training, she has probably experienced it,  is experiencing it currently, or, in the future, will experience the phenomena.

The challenge as parents is how NOT to stomp out your child's spirit while teaching your child restraint.  And of course, how NOT to ground your child, take away all that is enjoyable to your child, and to make their lives miserable simply to satisfy your frustration.

Case in point:  Facebook and YouTube submissions.  Our child is creative and has chosen to air her musical abilities on both-without our consent.  She was not trying to be secretive because she came right out and asked if we had viewed her creation on either or both online platforms.  Plus, she knows we are "friends" on FB, and I can see what she posts ( one of our prerequisites).

As a teen, she feels repressed by our rules, school rules, society's rules.  As a trans teen, I imagine she feels doubly repressed.  Her frustration over repression is quite evident because she chooses to drop the f- bomb a number of times in her online submissions.  We are now requiring her to remove the submission from Facebook and YouTube and will allow her to replace the R-rated submissions with
PG-13 submissions, once she seeks editorial approval from her parents, of course.

She is majorly ticked off.  We're stifling her, it's "just words" (well if they're "just words", why can't they be replaced with other words?) are her arguments along with her concerns that her subscribers will be disappointed.  Yeah-they're really a part of our decision making process..... Now, DJ manages to be majorly ticked off in the most ladylike way, which cracks me up.  However, the only way to reach her is to show her that a precedent has already been established.

"Even PINK has to censor herself for the public airways," made some sense to her.  Bulldog is content to go with, "Because I said so," but none of us likes to hear that.  Granted, we don't care what she likes at this juncture, but if our goal is to have our message heard then let's use language that will truly make sense to her.

Guess what young lady-we all have to share the world, including the seemingly anonymous and endless space known as the web.  And as long as we have to share, rules are required, unless we want to try out "The Lord of the Flies" method.  Sometimes we have to subvert our desires so as not to tramp on the desires of others.  That's what teenage angst is all about-learning to reconcile the, "But I want" with the, "Yeah but how will that affect others."  Now don't you feel better that your trans kid is just like every other teen?  No?  I hear you.