Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll, Baby

Boomers, Xers and Millennials aren’t much different from the current generation of teens—we just happen to take the brunt of the lessons they forgot to learn the first time.


Since the 1970s, these have been the three key aspects of teenage existence. Though some things have changed (now we listen to rap instead of rock), the stereotypes have remained mostly solid. Teenagers are heathens; teenagers are iconoclasts; teenagers are rebels. Always have been, always will be.

At least that’s how the older generations see us. Maybe they’ve chosen to forget, but the fact is that at some point they were us; as much as Boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennials like to pretend they were always angels, they weren’t. They partied, they drank, they danced and they had fun. There’s a reason that pregnancy rates skyrocketed with the Boomers, and it sure isn’t because they sat in their rooms doing homework all the time. They did all the same things we do (or slight variations of it). And just like us, there was more to them.

They weren’t just fiends. They had lives outside the counterculture. They still went to school, most of them still dated and they all still had their own personal problems to overcome. We’re no different. Although we may be known for our ragers and nicotine addictions, we’re also dealing with things like depression and cyberbullying. The thing is, there is now and always has been two sides to teenagers’ coins. The stereotypes aren’t all that we are. Not all African-Americans like fried chicken, not all Asians are good at math, and not all teenagers are all about partying all the time.

In no way is this my way of saying that any generation is better or worse than any other, and I’m also not saying that I endorse underage drinking, unsafe sex, or drug use; however, I am saying that there comes a point where warnings become hypocritical. Sometimes as a society, we need to just accept the facts and deal with them. Sex, alcohol and drugs are in the teeage culture, regardless of whether we would like them to be or not. The problem comes when we focus so much on those relatively small problems, that we neglect the real issues.

Suicide is the second highest cause of death in people aged 15-24. I promise you, kids aren’t killing themselves because they’re drunk. They’re dying because nobody listens to their problems. So I urge everyone who reads this magazine to rethink how they see their children, students and classmates. Ask them how their day is, and when they instantly say “fine,” push harder. Have a real conversation with them about their problems and how they feel; talk about what’s bad in their life and what’s going well for them; treat everyone, regardless of whether you like them or not, with respect.

Read, digest and change your frame of mind.

As always, we hope you enjoy.