Youth vs. Teenager

The word they use in Mexico for teenager is “rebelde”, which means, obviously, rebel. It seems Mexico is a little more honest with how they view teenagers. I view teenagers the same way. I think we all do these days. Was it always that way? Were the teen-aged always considered rebels? Not according to Michael Platt.

Platt writes that teenagers are only in their 3rd generation. Prior to that, they were considered simply “youth”. I like that. In fact, after reading his article, “Youth versus Teenager“, I’m convinced that I won’t be raising teenagers. Radical unschooling and unconditional parenting give children control over their lives and give them the freedom to walk their own path. There’s nothing to rebel against in their, shall I say, young adult years. Of all the unschooling families I’ve met or read about, the concept of a teenager is nowhere to be found.
When kids are controlled their whole life, they rebel when they reach that critical age of self-awareness and the need for finding themselves. Unschooling and unconditional parenting never keep them from this, so there’s really no reason to ever rebel. It’s such an obvious truism. Kids have near-zero control over themselves. They are prevented from pursuing their passions, and are punished for simply expressing a need, left unmet. This type of soul-destroying control is bottled up until finally they get a little freedom, a little power over their lives. They’ve never learned how to handle it, so they abuse it. They become your typical parent-loathing teenager.
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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.

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