Teenage Justice

Teenagers are notorious for being trouble makers.  Ask any parent of a teen and they will more than likely tell you that raising a teen is the most challenging and demanding job of parenthood.  In general, teenagers are looked upon as rambunctious, self-serving, walking hormones.  It is common knowledge that at this stage in a human’s life the brain is undergoing many changes.  The body is changing and many times the environment of a teen has changed.  With that much going on, how can a teenager not experience and display conduct unbecoming to what society deems proper?

There have been countless stories of teenagers performing feats of unselfishness and showing unprecedented maturity and judgment.  Justice for teens is the realization by society that, just like everyone else, teenagers are unique people.  They should not be generalized and thought of as ‘bad’ when there is so much good in them.  Justice for teenagers is having loving parents, communities, and environments that take the time to understand, teach and assist them into becoming loving, responsible, and God-fearing adults.   

The responsibility to teenagers lies mainly with their parents.  However, schools, neighbors, religious organizations, and community leaders can play a vital part in the assurance that society’s teenagers are given a balanced scale of authority, discipline, opportunity and voice.  They should be given a chance to dispel the negative myths of what a teenager is and what a teenager is not.  Given a fair opportunity, teenagers can thrive, meet, and exceed expectations for responsible, mature thinking people that can greatly contribute to the well-being of themselves and others.

There is, indeed, justice for teenagers.  It comes not in the form of a legal system or in authoritative parenting.  It comes with respect that is earned, love that is deserved and understanding that is imperative.  Too many teenagers feel that they are in a world that is against them.  They do not feel understood and they do not feel loved.  They themselves do not fully understand the rollercoaster ride that they are on to adulthood.  It can be scary and intimidating.  Those who do not have proper guidance and discipline often find themselves portraying the exact myth that others are trying to dispel.  When a teenager makes a mistake it is not viewed the same as when a child does it or an adult.   For example, teens who commit heinous crimes often find themselves in the middle of a debate.  Should they be tried as an adult or as an adolescent?  There is usually no black or white; and although different states have certain guidelines, the guidelines may vary from state to state.  Justice is served based on the history of the teenager as well as the degree of seriousness of the crime.  True justice would be prevention and intervention so that a teenager will never see or experience the judicial systems’ form of justice. 

Justice for a teenager is adulthood.  Not just adulthood but an independent life that reflects good parenting, proper guidance along with discipline and training.  It is growth and indication of one who was loved, understood, and respected for being a unique person with intelligence and potential.  There is no better justice than that.