Teen quotes: a list of insight

As part of research for my teen characters, I’ve cruised the internet looking for authentic teen conversations.  I’ve also been guilty of listening to teens at the mall or other public places so I can incorporate authenticity into my writing. Let’s face it.  The teen lingo now is far from what it was when I was growing up (I don’t think kids say, “don’t get your panties in a wad” anymore).

What follows is a list of 20 thoughts, ideas, tidbits of conversations I’ve gathered.  Not only does it serve as great fodder for my novels, but each one offers a unique perspective into the mind of a teen.  What follows may surprise you.

  1. I wish I had a button on my phone that will let me erase messages on other people’s phones that I’ve sent and regret very shortly after.
  2. We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
  3. The only way to make your own pain go away is to focus on the pain of others and one day you’ll wake up and realize that it doesn’t hurt so much.
  4. Mom, Dad, I’ll make you proud of me someday.  I promise.  Just give me some time.
  5. We all have that one person that whenever we get a message from them, we suddenly get that smile on our face and you can’t do anything to stop it.
  6. Teenagers are scared too much now. Why? We get judged for everything! We feel we can’t be ourselves because of what other people will think or say.
  7. Guys! I swear to God, you turn your back and they cheat. When you look at them, they say “I love you”. Don’t they get it? Girls aren’t freaking toys.
  8. My earphones are what set me free from all the bullshit.
  9. I am quite certain that given a nice guitar and a recording contract, I could save the world.
  10. Don’t waste your time on guys who don’t make your tummy tickle.  Stick to those who do.
  11. That moment while you’re secretly texting on your phone and you laugh so loud that the teacher takes your phone away.
  12. It’s funny how your parents say it’s their house but when it needs cleaning, it magically becomes yours.
  13. People say the sky is the limit but there are footprints on the moon.
  14. *low battery* *low battery* *low battery* Well apparently you have a enough battery to remind me about it every 2 seconds!
  15. Maybe all those fashionable clothes, and accessories are over-rated because you can’t pull them off.  You don’t have the swagger. Confidence is the best swag every girl should have.
  16. My mum thinks “LOL” means “Lots Of Love”. She texted me, “Your grandma had just died. LOL” …….
  17. “You’ve changed….” ” I didn’t change!? I just started making better decisions”
  18. I wish cancer got cancer and died…
  19. Math problems, the only place where someone can buy 60 watermelons and no one wonders why….
  20. Crying over a guy?  Nah.  Pick up your head, princess.  Your tiara is falling.

ParaNorman – is it really for the 7 – 12 group?

I watched ParaNorman last night.  I’d heard it was a funny movie so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

For those of you who don’t know, the animated movie follows the story of Norman Babcock, a misunderstood boy who is able to speak with the dead.  Because of this strange gift, he is treated like a freak by his family and peers.  One day, he meets a boy at school, Neil, who is also bullied due to his weight. One day in a bathroom stall at school, Norman gets a message from a ghost that he must use his gift and read from a book in order to save the town from the ghost of a powerful witch.  The movie takes him on the journey of finding his true purpose, acceptance of others and forgiveness and learning his own self-worth. So why do I have reservations about younger kids seeing the film?

To start with, there is a lot of bullying.  I understand it is prevalent in our society today and it gives kids something to relate to, but I think it was overdone.

The next thing that bothered me was Norman’s dad.  His reaction to Norman’s abilities was very insensitive, and several of his words were sharp and cut deep.  I understand what the writers were going for, but for a movie aimed at the 7 – 12 year old crowd, I think the writers could have come up with another way to portray Dad’s fears without losing the integrity of the story.  The explanation Norman’s mom gives Norman is simply not enough.  On top of that, I didn’t feel Norman’s dad sufficiently apologized for being a jerk to his son.  I think it’s important to show 7 – 12 year olds that parents aren’t perfect, but they recognize their mistakes and apologize accordingly.  At least they should in the movies.

The last thing that really bothered me was Neil’s older brother.  When we are introduced to the character we see he’s a big dude, lots of muscles.  He’s also about as sharp as a bowling ball.  Of course, Norman’s teen sister gets all googley eyed over him and her antics have some laughable moments.  My problem came at the end of the film when Neil’s brother pretty much announced he was gay.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against gay people. I have gay friends.  I do have an issue with this topic being thrown into a  children’s movie.  I felt it was completely inappropriate and tasteless.  Aside from the fact that I have an issue with media outlets exposing young people to alternative lifestyles instead of the kids learning about them from their parents and immediate surroundings, the writers made this gay kid muscle-bound and dumb as an ox.  I have problems with that.

Was I offended by the film?  No.  Would I say don’t let your kids watch the film?  No.  I’m not into telling parents what to do or not to do with their kids.  I do feel parents should be armed when they sit down with their children to watch a film.  Had I had a child 7, 8 or 9 years old and I knew the film had a lot of bullying, angry mobs shooting zombies and a big, dumb lug professing that his boyfriend likes chick flicks, I don’t think I would have let my kids watch the film.   It’s not because I have a phobia.  It’s because I don’t think it’s right for media to promote hidden agendas to unsuspecting parents disguised as animated films for young people.

There are lots of good films for kids and young adults.  Be informed.  Know what your kids are watching.  And don’t be afraid to be a parent and say “No.”  They’ll thank you someday for watching out for them.

“Y” is for Youth

Ah, the essence of youth.  We are all obsessed with it.  When we were young adults, we wanted to be older.  Now that we’re older, we spend billions of dollars a year to look and feel younger.  We crave our youth and the flexibility in our bodies, the stamina we once had, the carefree ways we enjoyed.

When I was a teen, the world was different, but the problems were still the same as now. We  had the popular girls in school who got pregnant and had abortions.  We had the smokers in the bathrooms and the jocks that had all the girls.  There were evil teachers, fantastic teachers and those that couldn’t teach at all.  We had the jokesters and the druggies, the slackers and the bookworms.  The beautiful and the unattractive.  You were either popular or you weren’t.  Those were the two cliques.  Somehow, we muddled through the heartaches, the disappointments, the dates that went horribly wrong.  We clung to our achievements and moved on to college, jobs, marriages, and families.  Only after years of struggling for financial freedom, moving up in our jobs, placing careers before family, do we sit back and wonder why we didn’t hold onto our youth just a little longer.  Why were we in such a hurry to grow up?

I suppose that is the underlying reason I like to write YA.  It takes me back to a time I should have not been so anxious to leave.  Through writing, I can experience things I never experienced as a teen.  I can pretend to know what it feels like to be popular or pretty.  I wouldn’t trade the bookworm part because I think smart and pretty go really well together.  I could be more of a daredevil, a risk-taker.  I could be a bit rebellious, say “To hell with the world, I’m going to live!”  In writing YA, I can re-write any scenario to alter the tragedies of my youth.  I wouldn’t have to lose my father 2 weeks before my 12th birthday.  I wouldn’t have ‘Danny’ abandon me at the 10th grade dance to make out with and leave with a pretty cheerleader.  I wouldn’t be the ‘four-eyed geek’ of the school.

As a mom, I’ve lived and relived the trials and tribulations of youth with my four kids.  My oldest just graduated college, is a teacher and has a beautiful little girl.   My second will graduate in 2013 with her Master’s in costuming and plans to travel the world.  My third is floundering.  He’s 20.  He hasn’t found his niche’ and high school was a nightmare experience.  But he has a heart of gold and an amazing way of making people laugh and feel good. My fourth is seventeen and is so done with high school.  He has one more year to go.  He wants to join the Air Force and eventually get a job in computers.  He’s a video game junkie and an avid fantasy/dystopian reader who loves the military channel.

Each one of them has had their struggles as young adults and each one will tell you they’re glad it’s over or will be over.  They will each tell you they would never do it again, that being a teen was too hard and there were too many bad memories to outweigh the good ones.  I hope I’m around when they get to be my age and wish, for just a moment, they could go back to a simpler place in time where muscles didn’t ache, stamina was abundant, there was no illness and moms and dads were still around to kiss and hug the boo boo’s away.

To youth…I salute you.  I wish I hadn’t been so anxious to leave you behind.  Thanks for the memories, both good and bad.  They’re all fodder for future books.  Now to just write them all down.