You are on page 1of 1

A SUMMING UP AND POSTCRIPT FROM DR.

DAVIDSON
OVER theyears at Elan, we have learned much about troublesome adolescents (as d'istinguished from troubled i.e., mentally ill). They are incompetent. Traumatic events, some accidental, some caused by ignorance, some caused by meanness, have blocked the adolescent. The energy that should go into personal development is diverted into nonsensical, useless or self-destructive behavior. When a youngster's total energy and passion is taken up with failing school to make parents suffer, with getting even instead of getting ahead, with drugs, with battling secret fears or whatever, then that adolescent does not grow. He or she has no time to do the work of adolescence. Dropping ou t of school, encapsulated with rock music all day over the Walkman or focusing on video games and harassing adults doesn't build much of a future. It produces i ncom peten ts. Though these adolescents may be incompetent at life, they are not fools. Deep down they know something is terribly wrong. They know in their bones that they have missed the train, that they are not learning how to become self-respecting adults. Lack of self-respect is devastating. They try to make it up by pseudo-adult escapist non-productive "pleasures". Smoking, sixpacks, speeding, relationless sex, drugs, vandalism, and spitefulness are the Cabbage Patch Dolls of adolescence. This doesn't teach you much. Our adolescents find themselves behind, and losing ground all the time. It isn't hard to compare yourself with a successful brother or sister or friend next door, or most of the others at school. Of course, when you don't like what you see, you accuse your parents of making the comparison. This is not altogether unfair. The parent may not be voicing the comparison; but they are not blind, either, and they certainly are thinking it, usually every night before dropping off to troubled sleep. What then does Elan do about these incompetent but troublesome kids? First, we let them know we mean business. All the fake-adult monkey-business has to stop. Right now! Not just because it's wrong-which is reason enough-but because no one has time for nonproductive garbage, and it's a bore, anyway. Underneath, the message is "you are too important to waste your time on nonsense." Elan's demand for responsible and productive behavior gives the same message, "We look on you as a person who is as good as anyone

14