What is there for teenagers to do in your area?


#1

A comment in another thread got me thinking about this…

In my area, there is a bunchof teenagers that hangs out on street corners…they are all good kids, the play american football, they laugh a lot and slag each other off, they are polite to me…sometimes they get up to what I can only describe as stuff I would have done myself at their age…they drink a few cans, they leave their chip wrappers on the road, occasionally they might knock over a bin. They don’t fight, they don’t key cars, they don’t hassle anyone.

Older people in the area hate them with a venom, always giving out about them, neighbourhood meetings and so on. You would swear kicking a football against the church gates was the new organised crime the way these folks go on. Guards have been called in for this sort of thing.

Obviously this is my point of view.

However, I do see how an elderly person living on their own could feel nervous of a bunch of teenagers hanging around the street corner. And I do see how an elderly person might take it upon themselves to come out and give out to these kids for being rowdy; and I also see how the teenagers will most likely tell the elderly person to go screw themselves in that situation…and how the elderly person may then call the police and so on and so forth.

But where am I going with this.
(i) there is abosolutely nothing for these teenagers to do, if they want to socialise with their peers, except meet up either on the street corner or in someones house…and the latter is an issue if its a big group.
(ii) they are doing exactly the same things I did as a teenager…

So I’m just wondering, is there anywhere…any suburb…where teenagers have options of places where they can socialise on their own terms with each other in a way that doesnt antagonise the neighbours …and I mean purely socialise…not rugby training or gaa…I’d be particularly thinking of the 14 to 17 age group.


#2

Sport is the best way for kids of that age to socialise, IMO. Or they could go to the cinema, or around someone’s house in smaller groups.

Hanging around in larger groups, outdoors, with no focus, is an absolute recipe for misbehaviour.

I don’t see littering, drinking in public and knocking over bins as harmless either. 14 to 17 is an age where they still require parental boundaries to be respected, not to hang around and socialise on their own terms.


#3

I dont see it as harmless either; but I dont see it as particularly damaging and I’d guess that 90% of the Irish population under 50 drank a can in public as a teenager at some point…

My point would be that I wouldnt rush to criticise them too much for it. I think its impractical to say that 16 year olds should not socialise on their own terms, within reason…they are old enough to get married after all, or join the army.

Anyway, my question assumes that drinking on the street is harmful; what I am asking is, are there alternatives.

In days of old, there youth clubs. Don’t seem to have those anymore.

In modern times, there is Dundrum shopping centre…or the US, the mall.


#4

Have kids these days no bloody cop-on… don’t go knacker drinking on the bloody street!!!
Look at all the ghost estate around the place - as a 16yo looking for somewhere to drink this would have been a mecca to us, instead we stood in flippin’ fields getting wet.

Anyways, if you are not into sports then there is very little to do in our area, especially true if you don’t have money to spend.


#5

There seems to be some skate parks available now - there’s a list here: goreyskateclub.com/skateparks.html


#6

The Rumpus Room is the Australian solution

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recreation_room

Pity we built our properties smaller and smaller each year during the boom.


#7

Nothing in particular if you have no money to spend. We have a green in our estate: for the first time in about five years I see kids just hanging around it doing nothing. I thought this celtic tiger thing of 9-5 being taken to activities a bit too structured for kids, so I think this is a good thing, but I can see how elderly people might find it annoying, or mildly intimidating. I would be in favour of having seating and miniature goalposts on the green, or some of that permanent exercise equipment I’ve seen in other parks and want to make that suggestion to the residents’ association.

Kids from other estates come around to hang around at the green; not getting up to anything except laughing loudly late at night, but I think that shows that even a featureless stretch of green space is an attraction if there is nothing else, and presumably the fact that they are out from under their parents’ eye is an added bonus.

When I was that age we went around to each others’ houses and watched videos, and chatted, which was always fun but I think that would be impossible to recreate on a larger scale.


#8

Didn’t have huge problems with the kids from my estate in blanch, they were generally well behaved, reasonably friendly and respectful.
They weren’t yet teenagers but I saw nothing which would lead me to believe they would be troublesome as the years progressed.
I didn’t particularly like them loitering around especially during the summer but I blame the parents for that. Some parents use school as a creche and when school is out they send their kids out on to the streets to loiter.

The kids from the neighbouring estates were a different story; foul mouthed, violent, feral mini crimewaves and very much the product of their parents’ neglect.


#9

Cycling groups, boating clubs, sports clubs of various kinds, chess clubs, drama groups, skating, go-carting around the streets of their housing estates…

The musical kids could form a band together.

Teens should have hobbies that they can pursue on their own.

Window shopping in town on a Saturday. Going for a walk at the beach (but back at a reasonable hour).

They should be kept fairly busy doing jobs around the home (parents are too soft on their kids nowadays and many kids don’t even know what to do with a hoover or brush), courses, walking the dog.

The good old days of teens having a part-time job at week-ends and holidays seem to be on the wane too, as immigrants are happy to do the lower-paid jobs now. A part-time job can be very good for keeping them busy, out of trouble and teaching them various useful skills.

I agree that letting them hang out in droves on street corners is a recipe for disaster. But it would be good if they could invite their kids over for a few hours once a week or so. Again, the small 3-bed semis with only one reception room are driving kids out on the streets, which they and their parents often view as one big reception room, to the annoyance of others, so a bit of give and take on all sides is the way forward.


#10

I agree 100%.

Its easy enough to corral a 12 year old into youth clubs/sports/music/drama whatever and I fully intend to spend as much time and money as necessary on my children’s interests and activities in the hope that they will provide an outlet and an interest for them in their teenage years. (I already spend half my weekend ferrying my six year old to and from his various sporting and social engagements. )

However, anyone who thinks that you can force a 16 year old who has lost interest in sport/drama/music/wholesome youth activities to attend same is dreaming. And frankly, if my own children at 16 are doing reasonably well academically, are not binge drinking or taking drugs or having unprotected sex, if I have some idea of who their friends are and where they are and what the are doing, I will not be coming down harshly on them for laughing loudly in public or dropping a chip wrapper now and then. I know plenty of parents with teenagers and a) there is a limit to the extent to which they can be micromanaged by their parents without alienating them to such an extent that they start going seriously out of control and b) even the best, most mature, most considerate of them act the maggot every now and then.


#11

I for one do not believe that teenage anti-social behaviour such as public drunkenness and flagrant littering can be excused or explained by the lack of public facilities, or by the fact that there are many grown-ups in this country who seem quite proud of the fact that they themselves engaged in some of those behaviours as teenagers.

I can’t speak for the rest of Ireland, but in the suburbs of Dublin there is far more for teenagers to do nowadays than ever before: sports facilities are better and more plentiful than they were when I grew up, local cinemas always seem to be packed with teenagers, there are many shopping centres for those who like to hang out in Starbucks and the likes with their friends, and I doubt if there are many teenagers who don’t have access to computers, mobile phones, televisions and/or games consoles should they want to play at home either with friends or alone. In addition, I know from friends who have teenage children that many secondary schools offer a mind-boggling array of after-school extracurricular activities. I just don’t see how problem behaviour among teenagers can be attributed to a lack of things to do.

What people forget is that teenagers are still children, and while they need to start learning how to manage their lives with a degree of latitude and freedom, they also need a balance of direction and discipline. Many parents are lazy (or indeed are habitual problem drinkers themselves) and let their kids run free once they are teenagers. Lazy parents love excuses - “they need their freedom”, “there’s no controlling them”, “there’s nothing for them to do”. Amenities are not a substitute for good parenting.


#12

What I’m talking about is socialising.

People dont join a cycle club to socialise, they join it to cycle…socialising may be a by product…or it may not.

What I’m talking about is Thursday evening, you come home from school, you do your homework, you eat your dinner. Its 8pm, you want to go out and meet your meets and you are 16 years old. Its chill time. Where do you go. What do you do.

I’ll put it another way. Where I live, people aged over 18 have all the opportunity they want to meet up with their friends in a variety of local pubs. Or they can invite their friends to their house, which they own.

Teenagers don’t own houses, and they can’t go to the pub. And they have no other options.


#13

Never said I was proud of the fact, just said that I did it, and that the pot won’t call the kettle black.


#14

I agree with your post. However, I should add that I also know plenty of parents who (have) successfully micromanage(d) their teenagers without alienating them (these parents generally keep their teens on a very tight leash, but encourage their kids to socialise too - within limits). These parents are, however, made of serious managerial material, and possess managerial skills that the majority of us do not. What works for one parent does not necessarily work for another. Everyone is different. On balance, the above expectations are as high as most parents can hope for.

(Edited to add that the parents I refer to above are all females. In my experience, a good, strong woman, with excellent managerial skills, has huge influence in a family. Even where there is a dysfunctional father-figure in the family, she tends to override it. However, this is going off topic…)


#15

You go to your mates house. Or he comes to your house. Sit in the bedroom and learn songs on the guitar, play xbox, whwtever

Pubs and bush drinking seem to feature heavily in your reasoning. I spent loads of time in the pub and also did a bit of bush drinking when younger but that particular focus on alcohol is something we need to break in Ireland.


#16

I don’t believe that 16 year-olds should be routinely allowed socialise every evening after school if they’ve finished their homework etc by 8pm. They have already had quite a few social interactions at school. Let them eat cake until the week-end or arrange their week-end meets on Facebook! A tiny bit of deprivation might knock that Celtic Tiger sense of Entitlement out of them!
That said, at the leisure centre I attend, I see some teens going to the swimming-pool during school evenings at about 8.30pm. They are allowed into the jacuzzi from the age of 16 onwards. They natter away happily there and us adults leave them at it. It’s quite wholesome. Better there than on the streets. (Their parents probably micromanaged all of this.)


#17

Anyone that thinks its alright for children to consume alcohol quite franky has zero credibility.


#18

If alcohol is prominent in my reasoning, thats only because they are prominent full stop. And I’d be all on for breaking that link. I really would.

Its very difficult to disassociate socialising from alcohol at any age in Irish life, from about 16 onwards.

The average Irish teenager who reaches the age where they leave home knows a hell of a lot more about drinking than they do about cooking.

Incidentally, the various comments suggesting that ‘teenagers should have hobbies’…Most adults I know don’t have hobbies…or if they do, they are cursory and often involve some drinking (how many Golf clubs don’t have a bar, do the pubs fill up after a game in Lansdowne road etc).


#19

Can you point out where that has been said, or what relevance it has to the main theme of the thread, ie What is there for teenagers to do in your area…

Well done on winning a moral argument that no one else started.


#20

ah you can when your a parent