Teenagers are capable of taking responsibility for themselves and need to be encouraged to do so, not prevented from it. Allowing this to happen will have huge benefits both to them and to society as a whole, as they will be able to learn to become strong, responsible adults.
Teenagers are no longer little, sweet children who need mollycoddling and protecting as though they are still toddlers. They are adolescents, who are in the process of turning into adults and thus need to learn to behave as adults and be guided into the adult world.
Protecting them as ‘children’ encourages rebellion, as they are prevented from doing anything vaguely exciting, risky or grown up, or from taking any responsibility for themselves and so turn instead to illicit and often particularly dangerous thrills such as trespassing on railway lines, drug abuse or joy riding.
Teenage boys in particular, when treated like weaklings and starved of risk, danger, competition and responsibility are prone to acting ‘macho’ and being violent in order to prove they are tough and strong enough to be a ‘real man’.
Treating teenagers as ‘children’ also prevents them from gaining the vital skills and qualities required to face the real world, leaving those who do not rebel ill-equipped to face the challenges adult life when they are finally thrown out into the real world at 18 and suddenly told they are different now because they are an ‘adult’.
All ‘child protection’ legislation should therefore be amended so that it only applies to those aged under 13 years, as it does more harm than good when applied to teenagers.