Editorial: Teens still are children

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, May 16, 2012

There is little need for a coach, a teacher, a mentor, an administrator or a counselor to outright yell at teenagers under their protection. For that matter, it is uncalled for by people in lines of work outside of schools — from police officers to church camp counselors.

Sure, they might have to raise their voices to get above the din when asking them to quiet down. One teacher we know used to say simply, “People!” and then everyone knew to be quiet, lest they would get a pop quiz.

But that was the only word she ever had to speak loudly. She made all her other points in a calm, confident voice.

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Other exceptions, naturally, are when a situation calls for some volume: “Hey, there are 12 men on the field!”

But yelling out of anger? That’s not necessary.

Teens — like the ones who participate in varsity sports teams — might at times seem like young adults. They yearn to be treated like adults. But we cannot forget that they really are children.

Big children.

A little child psychology goes a long way, like with the teacher in our quiet-down example. Disobey a coach? Making them run laps might get the point across much more clearly than profanity. Disobey a camp rule? The camp counselor is more likely to exclude that kid from a fun activity than to holler in anger.

Continuing on the point of basic child psychology, it then makes sense to turn around the next time and reward the right behavior. Make an effort to catch them being good, too.