Sunday, October 21, 2012

Random tirade about teenagers on TV

I've been watching season 3 of Parenthood on Netflix lately. I like the show; I'm a sucker for this kind of drama. Granted, there are things about it that rub me a little wrong, but overall I enjoy watching it.

You know what I can't stand though? Haddie. If you haven't seen the show, it follows the (oh, I don't know) dramatic misadventures?... of a group of four siblings, their families, and their parents. In current, post 20th century word-mashing hipness, it's a dramedy. Whatever. Haddie is the teenage daughter of one of the siblings.

So why don't I like her? She is a selfish twit. Yeah ok, she has a brother with Aspergers and I'm sure that's hard. And her parents had a surprise pregnancy, so at 17 she has a new baby sister. Big whup. In every scene she's defensive, passive-aggressive and blows off her parents attempts to be a part of her life in pretty much every way. She's not even the black makeup wearing, smoking, bad-grade getting, "troubled" teen in the show. She's supposed to be the good girl, the achiever. Granted, they've characterized her as being "imperfect," but I think they are going for more of a "this is normal for a teenage girl, get with it you prudes," when she starts having sex with her older boyfriend. gets drunk at a party and treats her parents like dirt.

In the episode I just watched, she gets into Cornell, which is super exciting for her family. Good job, kid. But then her parents start talking about how expensive it is ($60,000 a year? holy schnikeys) and privately they agree they need to talk to her about the possibility that she can't go.

Hold up, there. Your daughter applied to go to a $60k a year school and you're just now going to talk about money with her? Um, hello? Does anyone else think that's a little backward?

Ok, so they tell her that finances might be an issue, so ask her to "keep her options open." She immediately shuts down, starts giving them the "it's FINE, go away," bit, which of course actually means, "I hate you and you always let me down."

I'm sorry miss thing, but if having a brother with Aspergers and a new baby in the family hasn't taught you that you aren't the center of the universe, I don't know if anything will.

Instead of realizing sometimes reality bites and you have to live with it, she's bitter. She's bitter and angry that her brother is a mess and her parents had another baby - but mostly the brother thing. "Max needs something, so I don't get to go to the school that I want." Well boo hoo!

Is this what teenagers are like? Someone please tell me there is hope and my children will not be this self absorbed. This character has no sense of loyalty to her family beyond what they can do for her, she is bitter and angry about the way her family has turned out because it is inconvenient for her and the passive-aggressive thing she does whenever her parents try to reach her. Oh my word.

Ok, obviously I'm getting way too worked up over a silly TV show. But it isn't just the show - this makes me look at the state of our culture and want to cry. Because this is how we're raising our children. Ok, certainly not all of us by any stretch. But this show is like a big secular culture extravaganza, and honestly, it makes me so sad.

Because this is how families with no faith suffer. This is how families with no faith go astray. They have nothing to ground them, nothing to guide their path. Their children so often grow up with no sense of sacrifice, no sense of giving to others, no sense of taking one for the team as being a part of life.

At the end, the father was poised to tell her it was a definite no, that they can't do it. But he takes one look at her sad little face and relents, telling her they will do whatever it takes for her to go. Sigh. Yeah, because making sure she's drowning in debt is a great idea, but at least she won't be shooting you dirty looks across the dinner table anymore. Until the next thing doesn't go her way.

I desperately hope I can do a better job with my kids. I know it's possible; I know a few teenagers and young adults who do get the importance of the family, who do get that sometimes we have to sacrifice for each other; who do understand that they aren't the center of the universe and that bad things coming their way isn't always just about them. And what do you know, they're all from families with faith. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying families without faith can't be great families and raise great kids. I'm sure it happens. (And I know families with faith don't always have strong families either). But without faith, you're driving through life with no map, no compass, and absolutely no sense of where you're even going. Some get lucky, and that's great. But a lot of people don't and that makes me sad.

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