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Author Topic: Teens and Wackjobs  (Read 11651 times)
nigel
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« Topic Start: March 19, 2007, 04:31:34 pm »

In the "Pagan Wackjobs" thread a thought occurred to me in Star's post.

Quote
[...]
I was fortunately at the tail end of my teens when I first became remotely interested in Paganism, and just barely out of them when I started seriously considering it as a religious choice, so I think I managed to miss most of the dwama.  (And I mean no offense to teens here.  Not all teens are like this, I know.  There are some very mature and intelligent teenagers, some of whome we've even been lucky enough to attract as regular posters here.  It's just that the dwama and angst are also, unfortunately, common traits among teens and Paganism in general seems to feed those things where they exist.)
[...]

This has me wondering, is drama just inherent to teenagers? I mean I fell in to a group on MSN that was off but not that crazy. They seemed fairly mature, but I was about 12-13. I mean it makes sense, teen pagans are few and far between and sometimes teenagers fall into talking with anyone who will listen about their beliefs. I mean this applies to adults too but I wonder if it isn't more common with teens, I mean lets face it we (being teenagers) can be fairly mercurial add to that a separate religion from their own peers and you do have that potential to fall in with wackjobs magnified.

I feel this little idea is a tad rambling but maybe as it gets picked apart it could become clearer.
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« Reply #1: March 19, 2007, 04:39:27 pm »

This has me wondering, is drama just inherent to teenagers?

Absolutely not. My stepfather is a drama queen and he's 40-some-odd years old.

I think everyone sort of hits a drama filled period in their life, and for most people it hits in the high school years, or pretty near there. (That's been my experience, anyway.) But lots of people never grow out of it.
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« Reply #2: March 19, 2007, 05:01:58 pm »

Absolutely not. My stepfather is a drama queen and he's 40-some-odd years old.

Ya I think I should have put, there are adults who are drama queens, but is a stage where one is a drama queen just a natural part of being a teenager.
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« Reply #3: March 19, 2007, 05:30:01 pm »

Ya I think I should have put, there are adults who are drama queens, but is a stage where one is a drama queen just a natural part of being a teenager.

I think...  I would hesitate to say it that way, because that implies that a teen is of course a drama queen.  However, I don't think it's uncommon to go through that kind of phase.  I think I'd describe it as common, but not universal and certainly not necessary to a healthy and relatively normal development.  Smiley  (Because, come on, who's really normal anyway?)

(And yeah, some people never grow out of it.  You should meet this 30-year-old I know.)
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« Reply #4: March 19, 2007, 05:48:10 pm »

Quote
but is a stage where one is a drama queen just a natural part of being a teenager.

Possibly.

I once conducted a (very) informal survey on a pagan forum about how many people who had been practising in their teens fell in with 'wackjobs' and overwhelmingly the answer was "yes!" (I include myself in this category - our group had a girl who claimed to be fighting all sorts of astral nasties and who eventually claimed she was descended from Jesus Christ. Her exact words were, "I'm the last scion!" which of course prompted me to blow a gasket. "You're ripping off a Kevin Smith movie to impress us?!")

I figure teens might be more likely to fall in with the nuts because when you're a teenager you typically place a good deal more importance on what other people think of you. And if you happen to fall in with a group where claiming to be reincarnated archangels or somesuch nonsense is the norm, then you might just play along.

That's not to say this happens to every teenager, of course, or that it never happens to adults. But I personally have noticed a trend, yeah.

(And maybe it has less to do with age than with newness to paganism/magic in general?)

- N
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« Reply #5: March 19, 2007, 06:04:50 pm »

(And maybe it has less to do with age than with newness to paganism/magic in general?)
Possibly the common thread is lack of confidence in one's critical thinking skills? 

When entering into a belief system that is rejected out of hand by the mainstream culture, wouldn't there be a tendancy to think "Who am I to say this guy's crazy?  I mean, I believe in magic of all things."  Both age and experience will teach you to better trust your own judgement.

Speaking of teens and nutburgers - I totally forgot about the "Satanist" (of the "under-16-and-listens-to-too-much-Black-Sabbath" variety) who dated my best friend in high school.  Tried to convince us that I had a portal to hell in the corner of my bedroom.  Astral demons all over the place, apparently.
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« Reply #6: March 19, 2007, 06:11:08 pm »


I am not saying that the teen is always a drama queen. However, I would imagine most teens go through a phase where they can be a drama queen. Couple this with in a state of religious flux you have a pretty good shot to fall into wackjob territory. However, as the teen grows out of the Drama Queen (or even King) phase they should grow out of the wackjob territory. Then all we gotta deal with is the religious flux (I mean kinda hard to commit to one religion when you can't really talk to many people in real life)
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« Reply #7: March 19, 2007, 06:16:13 pm »

I once conducted a (very) informal survey on a pagan forum about how many people who had been practising in their teens fell in with 'wackjobs' and overwhelmingly the answer was "yes!"
...
I figure teens might be more likely to fall in with the nuts because when you're a teenager you typically place a good deal more importance on what other people think of you. And if you happen to fall in with a group where claiming to be reincarnated archangels or somesuch nonsense is the norm, then you might just play along.

That's not to say this happens to every teenager, of course, or that it never happens to adults. But I personally have noticed a trend, yeah.

(And maybe it has less to do with age than with newness to paganism/magic in general?)

Haha, Kevin Smith.  Cheesy Also, kudos on that last sentence.

So yeah, this is why I think it's always been of concern to me that most Pagan groups (who physically meet up) won't allow minors to attend. I mean, I understand the risk involved for the adults in question, but not everyone has the Internet (I didn't when I started out), and we all know that most of the books out there are not going to equip you with the tools to avoid wackiness (and many of them actively encourage it). I often feel that if I had had some sane Pagan adults around to go to, I wouldn't have fallen as deep as I did into delusions of grandeur.

Teen pagans are often told, "Just create your own group!" But all too often that seems like the blind leading the blind. Not to insult teenagers of course (I was a teenager only last year); this would apply to newbies in any field. But even teen yoga groups have an adult to moderate discussions and activities, and act as a fount of wisdom or what have you. Why would you stick a bunch of people in a room who don't have all that much to teach each other yet, with no one to point them in some healthy directions? ::sigh:: I guess we just can't have "Pagan youth groups" yet, what with all the adult wack-jobs out there.

So, I hope that doesn't send the thread off into a totally different direction, heh heh.
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« Reply #8: March 19, 2007, 06:27:10 pm »

So, I hope that doesn't send the thread off into a totally different direction, heh heh.

Don't worry there was no drift. It actually shows a point. That a lot of information teens can get a hold of is unfortunately flawed. I mean most groups (IRL) are not going to allow minors in and thus we minors can't have much discussion, and the only discussion we can get are those who are pretty much in the same boat as us or those who are probably going to lead the teen into some wackiness.
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« Reply #9: March 19, 2007, 06:52:02 pm »

Possibly.


I figure teens might be more likely to fall in with the nuts because when you're a teenager you typically place a good deal more importance on what other people think of you. And if you happen to fall in with a group where claiming to be reincarnated archangels or somesuch nonsense is the norm, then you might just play along.

It just occured to me that there could be a slightly different angle.  If the group norm is claiming you're a reincarnated angel, and that's normal/ epxected for you, you'll be looking for any evidence at all that you're a reincarnated angel.  I know a guy who blamed the breakup of a relationship on a curse.  Why does he think someone cursed him?  Because someone picked up said girlfriend's scarf and commented 'oooh, that feels tingly.'

If you're the kind of person to look, everything is evidence.
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« Reply #10: March 19, 2007, 07:02:46 pm »


This is an interesting angle, I mean couple many of the elements together and you do have quite an interesting mix. Even just this one can cause many people to just go off the deep end.
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« Reply #11: March 19, 2007, 08:10:27 pm »

but is a stage where one is a drama queen just a natural part of being a teenager.

I think I would say 'yes' to this, there is certainly that propensity for teenagers to be drama queens simply for the fact that they are teenagers.

Teens are at that point in their lives where everything before, they were taken care of.  Their housing, their food, their transportation, their activities, pre-teens are very much dependents.  There are people whose lives quite literally revolve around these children.  Then come the teen years where they are given more responsibility, allowed to make some decisions, and - to an extent - allowed to experience the consequences of those decisions.  But they are still dependents, just perhaps not as much so.  The people whose lives revolved around them aren't quite revolving so much anymore.

I think that teenage drama-queen-ness comes from this: a combination of coming out of that phase where everybody else's lives revolved around the teen, plus perhaps the learned behavior that the only sure-fire way to get attention is to really amp it up.  Add to that the raging hormones, and their transitting Saturn opposed their natal Saturn... well, drama's gonna happen, to some extent at the very least.
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« Reply #12: March 19, 2007, 08:14:02 pm »


Also the raging hormones, as much as I try to deny them there just too well ragey. I mean yes you have that element of raising but also the insane hormonal changes going on and I know it sounds like a cop out but it truly is not.
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« Reply #13: March 19, 2007, 08:25:14 pm »

Also the raging hormones, as much as I try to deny them there just too well ragey. I mean yes you have that element of raising but also the insane hormonal changes going on and I know it sounds like a cop out but it truly is not.

I'm a woman AND I remember my teen years, I understand about raging hormones, and my gosh the MOOD SWINGS!

But whether it's "that time of the month" or the Moon is in Pisces, I think the most valuable thing I've learned was to acknowledge that sometimes I'll be moody, emotional, and ragey for positively no reason at all.  I just do my best to ensure that I dont take out my rage on someone undeserving, and then make sure I apologize and make ammends if/when I do.  Most people understand if they see that you truly are making an effort to control your reactions.
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« Reply #14: March 19, 2007, 08:26:52 pm »


Ya problem is it tends to turn in drama queeness for a lot of teens. I know I can have my moments when I am a Drama King...but thats only when I am really really flustered now.
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