Why Teenagers Act the Way They Do

February 27, 2012 — 13 Comments

You’ve seen him. The kid with the green Mohawk. Thirty-six tatoos. Enough peircings to set off a metal detector from three blocks away. Pants hanging loosely around his knees. Arrogant attitude. Filthy mouth. Vacant stare.

We pass him in the mall. Or see him at a stoplight. Or stand in line with him at the gas station.

We sadly shake our heads and wonder what the world’s coming to. Why are kids these days so…weird? Why do they act and dress like that? 

I have a theory. Would you like to hear it?

My theory is based on the following scientific experiment: I took an item, placed it in a cold refrigerator, and left it there for some time. Upon removing it, I discovered it was cold.

I know. You’re shocked.

To verify this amazing finding, I conducted a second experiment. I took the object and placed it in a warm oven. After some time, I removed it, and discovered it was…you guessed it…warm! (I’m expecting a call any day now from Harvard, offering me an honorary doctorate.)

So what do ovens and refrigerators have to do with wild kids?

I’m not surprised they act the way they do. I would be surprised if they DIDN’T act the way they do. Because that’s what they’ve been conditioned to do.

Chances are, they were not born into a loving family, but to two teenagers who broke up six months ago. Their father is in and out of jail. They long for his love.

Their mother is often gone, and they are raised by various relatives. They don’t even know what the concept ‘family’ means. They are abused, neglected, ignored, blamed, forgotten. They eventually get swapped between parents during weekend rendezvous in parking lots. Their minds are a mess. Their hearts are a mess. They hate the world. They hate people. They hate themselves.

They numb their pain by watching hours of TV; soaking up the immorality, cursing, and shallowness. They numb their pain with alcohol, which eases the torture for a few moments. They numb their pain with drugs.

They are so starved for attention that they’ll fall into the hands of anyone who will give it to them. They join gangs, and hang with bad crowds, desperate to belong to someone or something.

When they spend the first thirteen years of their life in a cold refrigerator of hurt, worthlessness, abandon, abuse, immorality, and confusion… don’t be surprised when they emerge as icy teenagers.

I know many young people, on the other hand, who do not have green mohawks. They are not members of any gang. They have never tasted alcohol, or done drugs. They are respectful and have wonderful attitudes.

Do you know why?

Because they were raised in a loving home, with both parents. They developed in a greenhouse of Biblical instruction and constant love and care.

  • Put something in the refrigerator, it will come out cold.
  • Put something in the oven, it will come out hot.
  • Put a child in a broken, ungodly, unloving, and abusive home…and they will come out broken, ungodly, unloving, and abusive.

Please note: Every one of us is responsible for our own actions, and I am not excusing young people for their choices.

But if it’s true that if we “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,”(Proverbs 22:6) then isn’t the reverse true as well?

So the problem is not really with the kids; it’s with the way they are raised. It’s the failed marriages, broken homes, absent fathers, poor role models, and lack of discipline.

So let’s be slow to judge him the next time he walks by. Because that tattooed, pierced, painted, and strangely wardrobed facade on the outside…might just be hiding a cold, broken heart on the inside.

A heart that needs Jesus.

Do you agree? Why or why not? You can comment here.

13 responses to Why Teenagers Act the Way They Do

  1. I totally agree. You are absolutely right Josh…Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

  2. Totally agree… Society likes to pretend that people can have sexual relations, get divorced, and all kinds of things without there being any consequences. It’s accepted as normal & non-threatening. But all of it couldn’t be further from the truth- that we are all yearning for love & acceptance & how the love & care of our parents or lack of it shapes our lives.

    • “the love & care of our parents or lack of it shapes our lives.”
      You couldn’t be more right.
      You summed up in one sentence what I spent this whole post trying to say. :)

  3. Some of them do come from loving, Godly homes, yet they have chosen a different path to their parents great heartache.

    Some of them coming from loving homes where the parents simply didn’t have the parenting skills to bring up their children in a “more acceptable” way.

    Some of them come from loving homes but no one has told them that they can be different from their friends and shown them another way to live.

    They are likely to have hurts inside, just like the teen who dresses and acts “appropriately” and “normally”. There is only so much you can tell about a person from the mask, the clothes they wear.

  4. Can I just say that not all teenagers who dress like that have an “arrogant attitude” people like that are actually really nice people so maybe you should get to know the “kid with the green Mohawk” before you go about preaching about how arrogant they are

    Some may be like that but I have not met one who is the way you explained it, get your head straight sir

  5. Sexdecillion Rammkore April 12, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I don’t agree, I’m the same and I grew up in a LOVING family who NEVER abused me, treated me wrong or left me. I don’t drink, I tried it, not my thing. I’ve tried weed, also not my thing. I dress and act the way I do because I feel comfortable that way. I still have a loving mother and father. my father has raised me in a way to protect myself, meaning, being a female, he has taught me to shoot, self defense, know people who use me, he’s also taught me to be aware of my surroundings in both public and private places, and he’s showed me and told me things 90% of the “normal civilian” doesn’t know. My mother is still a loving person to me. I’m very close to my family. My mom has taught me artistic things that I love to do on a daily basis. I used to have a pink and black mohawk myself. I dress in the alternative clothing too. I have stretched ears and piercings. I’m very aggressive depending on how people treat me. I speak like a well educated sailor and yeah I do hate people because the way that the generation is now a days is pitiful. (Not naming most alternative kids) I’m referring to the what you call the “normal biblical non pierced/tattooed kids). They swarm this earth infecting us with putrid disease. Therefor this hypothesis of yours is invalid.

  6. First of all, people who dress alternatively and have piercings and tattoos aren’t ‘weird’ they just dress differently than some people, and that’s totally acceptable. Everyone is different in their own way. I myself dress alterantively, have dyed hair, and piercings, but that does not mean I do drugs, drink alcohol, or came from a non-loving home. I have a great relationship with my parents, the best I could have asked for. They are perfectly fine with me dressing the way I do and are very proud of me. I do good in school and I’m not “arrogant” or rude. They raised me the best that they could and they are great. They aren’t bad parents leading me down a bad path either. Most people I’ve come across who you would consider ‘weird’ and who are just like me, are nice, considerate people. The type of clothes doesn’t define the type of person someone is. I’ve met plenty of people who are rude and arrogant who dress ‘normally’. Most people who dress alternatively, their clothes aren’t a “mask” as Gale said, it’s a way for us to express ourselves. Dressing and being brought up how you think we should isn’t the “more acceptable” way, it depends on the situation and the people, your opinion isn’t for everyone and everything. Not everyone needs God, and it won’t magically be “fixed” because of him, maybe because they don’t need to be fixed. People can dress how they want. For the people who do grow up in bad homes with neglect, they aren’t all bad people, many people who I know of, have tried to change the world for the better because of what they went through. People shouldn’t judge others from what they wear or how they act. You should get to know the person first, like LEXI said. Maybe, Josh Hood, you should rethink your hypothesis and stop over generalizing and judging.

  7. I don’t want to sound exactly rude, but some kids that look like this are actually 100% sweet. How would I know this? I am one of these kids. Honestly when I first saw them, I thought the same way you did. How rude, how gross they look. They must be horrible people right? Wrong. If you go to a punk rock concert or anything with that brand of style, you see a bunch of kids who want to help one another. We are actually bombarded by judgement from others, and the weird looks we get. Its notneasybbeing judged for how you look and feel. I get that some of you may just be thinking of other kids that get in trouble and what not, but your point of social media hurting us is actually turning against you. Social media depicts us as awful beings but we are not. Maybe a good exercise would to be to talk to them and get their perspective on life. It would be a good day if you did

  8. P.s. I love my parents more than anything and taught me how great a world this is <3 ya guys!

  9. I do not agree with your black and white stance on this. You are ignoring the fact that we are all created with a free will. You can be the best parent in the world and still have a child who rejects their upbringing. Generalizations like this article just add to the anguish of loving parents with struggling children. I really hope that you will take a long hard look at your position on this and try to find some compassion for the families as a whole. They need love, encouragement, and support, not condemnation.

  10. I’m sorry I disagree with this, I’m a christain and a teenager, I dress and act differently but it’s not because I was raised the wrong way (which I wasn’t my parents raised me the way I think most should) or that my parents divorced, think more of they’re personality or the way they see the world, I do have depression and other mental illnesses and I have struggled with a lot the past few years but I don’t drink or have a bad aditude. I’m more touched by screamo (that’s better than most Christian and pop music I use to listen to) because I can relate to it and I understand where they’re coming from more, I dress “emo” (according to kids at school) because to me wearing skinny jeans and a band tee is important to me and I love the way I look, (honestly I owe everything to the bands I listen to, but I still do to god because he is the one who gave them life and the desire to be in a band after all). And not gonna lie, I’m the one who would get a tattoo or two and a lip piercing just because I love how it looks (sorry I feel like I got a bit off topic). but it is important to not be too quick to judge and I feel like you were because there are way more reasons for this than you think. And I appologize if I offended anyone but I’m really sick of seeing things like this even though it’s stupid.

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