A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Truancy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Truancy. Show all posts

Thursday, 6 February 2014

What's Wrong With Teen Rebellion?




In the 1980s when I was a student at a mixed comprehensive, it was generally accepted that pupils were going to get into mischief. I like to think that the teachers saw this as character building and chose to turn a blind eye. In sixth form, this was the type of activity that we enjoyed regularly...
  • During P.E. lessons we'd jog as far as the local shop, buy sweets and disappear to a friend’s house – naturally we'd reappear at the end of the lesson looking completely shattered.
  • We had an impressive collection of road signs in the common room. As the teachers never set foot in there, our collection stayed until the end of the year.
  • On a school trip to the science museum, the entire group stayed for approximately thirty minutes before escaping to see what we considered to be far more interesting sights of London instead.
  • A friend once left his bag in the common room and not wanting to leave it overnight – he let himself in through an unlatched window to retrieve it.
  • On Friday lunchtimes, we'd occasionally sneak off to the pub - sometimes we'd even spot the teachers in there.

Now that Health and Safety has gone completely bonkers, I can’t help thinking that our children are missing out on developing some valuable life skills. My daughters never once bunked off school and wouldn’t have dreamt of doing any of the above. Maybe that's why their behaviour was sometimes challenging at home? I like to think that they were taking the opportunity to rebel a little. Instead, my daughters were actively encouraged (by me) to be mischievous in ways that wouldn’t land them in trouble.

Sadly, they both worked out from an early age that schools were merely exam factories and the opportunity to think for themselves was actively discouraged. Olivia couldn’t wait for university and the chance for independent study. Before my daughters left home for uni, they were instructed to go, grab life by the horns and sample everything on offer (that's legal). I'm hopeful that this will prepare them for life in the real world after they leave.

My daughters may have worked far harder than I ever did at school, but I still managed to pursue a professional career for 26 years. I guess that our generation were the lucky ones as jobs at that time were plentiful. I remain optimistic that my daughters will find worthwhile careers after uni, I have to - it’s the only thing that makes eighteen thousand pounds of tuition fees for the two of them each year seem slightly more bearable.

My philosophy remains to this day that you’re a long time grown-up and should be allowed to make mistakes and live a little while learning how to become an adult. Are we raising a resilient generation that will be able to cope with whatever life flings in their direction? I have my doubts. And if you can’t have fun and rebel as a teenager, when will you find the time exactly? Are we raising children that will burn out much younger from the stresses of having to conform at such a young age?

For those of you who've never seen the film 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off,' this has to be the ultimate teen movie. To this day Ferris Bueller is my hero - OK so he may have taken teen mischief to a whole new level, but I'm guessing that he'd have gotten away with almost nothing in today's vigilant society. I like to think that if Ferris Bueller was for real, he'd have grown up, had a fabulous life and looked back on his childhood filled with admiration.

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