I’ve been a teacher for almost 40 years. I am as old as dirt and have been working with teenagers (or mothering them) for probably half my life. So I think I can say with some authority and experience that, yes, young people today are dealing with far more stress than I ever experienced as a child, or than the teenagers I worked with 30 years ago ever dealt with.
My sons were 9 and 7 when 9-11 happened – old enough to understand and remember and incorporate that into their history. School shootings have become so common now that they’ve actually invented bullet-proof shelters for classrooms. Bullying on social media is not something the people of my generation EVER had to deal with. The anxieties and stresses of the young people I work with are very real. They’ve lost friends to suicide. They’ve lost friends to drug overdoses. I’ve had at least two students whose fathers were deported to Mexico – and they may never see their fathers again.
To smugly stereotype an entire generation, and to discount their very real struggles, seems ignorant and uninformed to me.
If children are speaking out against bullying – against bigotry and hate and sexism and racism and homophobia – well, good for them! That’s not being “PC” – that’s not being “whiney” – that’s being brave.
Thank you, Polly!
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