Hester Zitvast writes about what she stands out in the news and in the media. This time about the new measures, a curfew that teenagers might take away the last bit of freedom. “I understand the measure and we must do it above all. But please, let‘s keep an eye on our teenagers. They must not whine, yet they have every right to do so in my eyes.”
“ You’ll be adolescent now, in this lockdown.
Then you can‘t complain, because teenagers in the war: “They had it hard.” And as an adolescent, you can’t complain anyway, because you don‘t know anything about real life yet, everything is settled for you and adolescent problems — well, that’s all a luxury gig when you put it against the heavy hardships that many adults endure.”
“I have two. Two teenagers, one of 16 and one of 19. Where when they were little I always thought that the whole puberty would be the absolute parent hell, I find it — now that I‘m in the middle of it — a very nice period. It’s a stage of challenges, absolutely. And where small children have small problems, big children do indeed have big problems, but there is also a great deal of fun.”
On top of it
“Teenagers are incredibly funny. As long as you see it. They make incomprehensible choices, say the weirdest things, discover life in their own way, and if you look at them as a parent at an appropriate distance, it is an extremely entertaining spectacle. Keeping that appropriate distance doesn‘t always work well for me. I sometimes sit a little too much on top of it. I should let them go a little bit more on their face every now and then. But yes, mother love, huh?”
“I’m worried, right now. We sit here at home as we speak in quarantine, we have corona. My 16-year-old daughter is with us. Two weeks away from school, two weeks not seeing her boyfriend. No meeting with girlfriends for two weeks. She undergoes it without grumbling even once. And I think that‘s scary. That she doesn’t complain about it, but undergoes it. She thinks it‘s no different. She learns on her own, draws and gamet.”
eldest only had to quarantine five days and did so to his father. Hardly grumbling, either. Adjusting that over and over again. I can meet in smaller groups. We can meet in even smaller groups. No more getting home together. He occasionally rented a hotel room with a friend, and then they’d be playing late into the night. Couple of beers with it — very cozy. Teenagers are creative, they‘ll find a way to make something out of it. That’s just getting harder and harder.”
of today do not hang in the chandeliers of a pub, as we did at that age. No prom, no galas, no birthdays at friends‘s house. No first festivals. No fireworks with old and new. Don’t assemble in a park. Don‘t all hang out on a bench and do things you’re supposed to do when you‘re a teenager. Drink a little secretly. Bit of smoking. Everyone’s watching you. And if you want to be inside at 8:30, unless you have to walk the dog.”
Kicking against rules
“I hardly hear grumbling. And I am proud of that, on the one hand, because they contribute to a solution to our global problem as quickly as possible; they see the seriousness of it. But I get those couple of teenagers who drop themselves off like that. It‘s in their nature to kick against rules. The perhaps most beautiful time of their lives has been slipping through their fingers for a year now. What’s going to be the result of that? What does that do with their development?”
“I read a message on Twitter today about Pepin, a boy who was in the fourth grade of the gymnasium. He was poorly digesting the lockdown measures and looking for tension. Pepin‘s not alive anymore. He died of drugs and carbon monoxide poisoning. Heartbreaking. The boredom is huge, but the teenagers of today are accepting it, it seems. A little aimless scrolling or playing a little game on your phone is pretty much all that remains.
Let them whine
“How are they gonna get out of here? Are they going to go all the way out if everything is allowed again? Are they gonna hang in the mode we’ve come to find normal? Should they miss a friend because he, like Pepin, did not attract the lack of structure, social contacts and freedom? We‘ll go see it. Please don’t overlook them until then. Their grief and their problems are also there. They matter. Talk to them. Let them grumble, pull it out if necessary. They have every right to a game of boundless “whining”. Just like us.”