No Ms. Smith, There’s No Such Thing As Troubled Youth

Dear Ms. Smith,

I recently read your blog the other day about “troubled youth”, and felt compelled to respond.

I know you meant well, but the way you framed the problem was diminutive and belittling of the teens you are talking about. Unfortunately, most writers do it this way, because that’s the way mainstream society frames the argument.

I take umbrage with this, because there isn’t a youth on this planet who is “troubled”. There are a lot of incapable adults who are ignorant of how to reach young people of all kinds. I’m not saying those as mean words either, but as accurate descriptors.

These adults are parents who don’t know how to parent, teachers who don’t know how to teach, a society that doesn’t know how to be a community.

That doesn’t make the situations they’re in the fault of these so-called troubled youth, but of the society we share. It’s our problem. We’re the troubled ones, especially the voters who allow services to go unfunded and the politicians who are beholden to the prisons where “those kids” get sent off to, or the service industry jobs they end up in for a lifetime of indentured servitude.

They aren’t troubled youth; we’re a troubled society. We need to accept that responsibility. As Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

These young people could be canaries in a cave, as it were. What are they telling us?


 – Adam

Post Script: It was just announced that George Zimmerman is not guilty of six charges in the murder of Trayvon Martin. I will let this post stand as my tribute to that situation, and will write more at a later date.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker and writer who researches, writes and shares about youth, education, and history. Learn more about me at

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