As most of you know, it was only recently (when I met Andi and Veronica) that I really started searching out and actively reading YA contemporary novels. This week, I wanted to discuss one thing that really irks me about YA, and why I’m still a bit leery of the genre as a whole – disrespectful protagonists and spineless parents.
As a teacher, I’ve had to deal with disrespectful students from time to time, and I can honestly say that if they were my kid they’d have some cell phones taken away and a five paragraph essay about respect to write. I won’t rant so much since it’s not the point of this discussion, but basically my thoughts are, everyone is deserving of respect, and everyone is capable of giving it.
So when I see all these protagonists in YA contemporaries completely disrespecting and ignoring their parents, it gets my blood boiling a bit. I was always raised to be polite, even if I don’t agree with someone, and if I had a problem, to diplomatically and calmly approach the issue. And in my own life experiences, I’ve always thought to make sure I treat others with kindness, because I never know what they’re going through, and a kind word versus a burst of anger can really make a difference. It just seems like a normal human curtesy to me. Don’t be an asshole, basically. Plus, isn’t it exhausting to constantly be angry at the world?
Okay, back to my point. One: why is it so commonly accepted that teens are “naturally going to hate their parents and be disrespectful” and that parents “should just be understanding about it.” Two: why is it so hard to find a functional family in YA? I get that families have issues, and some are seriously screwed up, but wouldn’t it be… I don’t know… helpful??? to give young readers a picture of a happy family? That it’s a possible picture of what life could be like?? I’m not saying lollipops and sunshine all the time, but can’t we get a mother daughter relationship that’s halfway healthy for once? One where respect is given from both ends, and the parents actually parent instead of sitting back while their teens go crazy? Am I reaching for too much here?
Hopefully this made sense, and I’m not just rambling aimlessly. Or, prove me wrong, and give me a bunch of books to read with healthy families!