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By Jenni Herd, 16, from Kilmarnock, E. Ayrshire
It's funny because my first-person memories of being a teenager haven't faded very much at all, so I can empathize with the frustrations of the person who wrote this letter.
However, there really has been extensive research showing that the puberty really does have significant effects on a teenager's brain. I'm not saying this information should be used to invalidate the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of teenagers but rather to validate just how intense the process of growing up can be. I would argue this is exactly why adults should try to respect teenagers more than they often seem to do - if a brain is temporarily hardwired to feel more intensely and to experience situations in a different way, why is that something we treat with disdain?
I completely agree and empathize. Being a teenager was hard, but not in the way that the adults in my life seemed to think it was difficult at the time. I am (thankfully!) far beyond me teenage years now, but this poem still resonates with me. I think it speaks not only to the angst of teenage years, but to the zeitgeist of an age. I work with teenagers now every day, and I don't see them as children to talk down to, but as young adults to nurture, teach logic, history, and critical and abstract thinking, and then listen to their ideas. I think that is too often brushed aside in society and education.