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06/13/2013

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Ken Gordon

Interesting, David. My kids are currently 8 and 10, and I'll have to keep this post on hand for their teenaged years.

I have one question. You write, "Some decry the decline in reverence, but it’s really just a sign that society is beginning to place a higher value on independent thought and creativity than on compliance."

Couldn't it perhaps be more than "really just" society applauding creativity and assertiveness here?

I mean, hurling a curse word at an authority figure (i.e. one's annoying dad) isn't exactly a creative act.

However, I think transforming teen anger into, say, the construction of a rock song--such as "Step Off" from "School of Rock"--does accomplish the things you suggest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag-ctjIfdyg

Perhaps teens need to learn how to work with their anger, to do something more interesting and useful with it than telling dad to piss off.

A world in which teens use the raw material of anger to create some non-compliant works of art would be, I think, a pretty good one for families.

Of course, not every teen is a musician. And not every musician has an inspired rock tutor like Dewey Finn to teach him or her what to do with teen anger. But as long as there are skateboards and notebooks and canvas and turntables and such, kids have the opportunity to become real individualists and not just that obvious and annoying thing: rude, wise-ass teens.

David Bernstein

Thanks Ken... I think constructing a song (love the school of rock and that scene) is a great way of dealing with anger. But it doesn't mean that your kid, after having released their anger on ACDC, won't then call you an ass. It's not that hurling a curse word is a creative act, it's that in order to allow our kids to become creative we are more permissive...

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