Why are teenagers so stupid?

While my parents went out of town for Thanksgiving weekend, they left my younger brother (15) in charge of the house. Apparently, during the weekend he threw a huge party, and it was a disaster; huge messes, and all the video game systems stolen.

It’s not even the stolen stuff that angers me. It’s the fact that someone related to me would do something so…cliche. A big party while parents are out of town? Has this kid ever seen any TV show EVER? Such things are always a disaster! I would think even the dimmest teen would figure that having a bunch of teens unsupervised in one house is a bad idea.

I certainly don’t know the details of what happened or of my brother’s social life, but it should be obvious to anyone that inviting multiple people into your house you don’t know is a profoundly dumb thing to do. He of course doesn’t know who stole the stuff and probably will never know. I’m hoping he learns a lesson from all this but if he’s like any typical teen he’ll find people to blame other than himself.

I just can’t get over that he actually had the gall to throw a huge party while the parents were gone. I thought he was better than that. How in the world did he turn out like this? My sister and I were quiet kids in high school who had our small group of friends and otherwise did not cause much ruckus. My brother’s apparently fallen in with the wrong crowd, and I’m baffled as to how he’s turned out so different. This is all like every awful teen stereotype and it’s really disappointing to see it in my own family. Argh.

Did killer mutants show up? 'Cuz that would be cool. So would Kelly LeBrock.

Wait a sec, all the video game systems, stolen, as in more than one?

Well, no wonder he’s stupid. He’s clearly grossly overindulged. When I was a teen, I had my Coleco and that was it.

I hate to admit it but I did the exact same thing when I was a teen. Except AFAIK nothing was stolen.

Sometimes you just gotta say “what the heck.”

Nope- your brother’s problem wasn’t in the planning but in the execution. A little more attention to detail and such things can go off without a hitch. More on this later.

Cliches are cliches for a reason and kids throw parties because parties are FUN.

No, a bunch of teens unsupervised in a house is a KICKASS idea.

And dude, if you’re going off TV as an indicator of what’s a good idea and what’s not, then the kid is not the one separated from reality. Parties go wrong a statistically stunning time on TV because it’s better theater than a party that goes by smoothly with no one the wiser.

Remember execution? You take all the valuable stuff and you put it in Mom and Dad’s room. Then you shut and lock Mom and Dad’s door, and you let everyone know that the room is off-limits. It requires more advance work and a bit more cleanup, but it’s a lesson he’ll remember next time, if you’re a good older sibling and help him learn it.

Yep, there’s a lesson to be learned in all this and I hope that you’ll help him learn it. The question is, will you help him learn to party responsibly and with an eye toward keeping everything safe, or will you enjoy his suffering and hope it teaches him that, while fun might be OK under the watchful eye of an authority figure, that nonconformist fun and a bit of harmless rebellion deserve to be crushed?

Looks like we’ve got our answer. :rolleyes:

What makes you so much better than him? It is to rolleyes again. Just because the dorks never got in trouble doesn’t make them morally superior people. Just because the kid threw a party and it got out of hand doesn’t make him or the people he wants to hang out with evil. Did some people who showed up do unconscionable things? Certainly. But that’s no different in his world than when one of your math pals copied your calculus homework and you found out about it too late to rat him out to teacher.

Kids are kids, and they’re going to test the limits of authority and they are going to try to have fun as much and as raucously as they can. Your responsibility as an older sibling is not to be the wet blanket but the voice of reason. And there’s a difference between the two.
The Happy Scrappy Hero Annual Memorial Day Party (1988-1993) went off without a hitch every year because we knew everybody who came, valuables were locked up all in one room, and everybody parked on different streets, gave up their keys, and slept it off in the basement. Mom and Dad were never the wiser because we prepared before and cleaned after.
You could have used this opportunity to teach your younger sibling an actual lesson. Instead, you’re here judging him because he’s different than you are and castigating him for his irresponsibility, proud of your dorkness and safe in the moral superiority it affords you.

Who needs parents when the kid’s got you?

Yup, that pretty much describes my 15 year old self. Broken furniture, vomit on the floor, police almost called . . .Why did he do it? Because it was cool, and it would make him popular. Why else?

It’s not stupidity, it’s a profound inability to assess risk vs. reward. They just don’t see what could go wrong. Part of that is lack of imagination–they haven’t seen enough things go terribly awry–and part is overweening arrogance–bad things won’t happen when it’s them, because they are too smart/quick/level-headed for that. And the worst thing, the very WORST thing, is that he likely hasn’t learned a thing from this. If he’s learned anything, it’s that he shouldn’t have invited so-and-so, but he won’t invite so-and-so next time, so there will be no problems.

It’s shocking, really, that so many of them live to maturity.

(And lest anyone think I am a crochety old lady down on teenagers, I teach high school, 16-17 is my favorite age to deal with, and I love them all dearly. But the judgement lapses you will see in a basically good kid with a genius IQ and good sense about everything except whether or not climbing up on the roof of the school to smoke pot is a good idea are simply mind-boggling.)

Ah, memories of the parents coming home to discover the menstural stains in every bed, two side by side on theirs.

It’s easier to ask why people are stupid, and probably more accurate.

Teenagers are stupid in teenage ways - that’s where we get the cliches from. Adults are stupid in adult ways - that’s where we get those cliches from. Youth may well be wasted on the young, but by no means does it have a monopoly on all-round fuckery.

Why are teenagers stupid?

Because they know everything.

I’m with Happy Scrappy on this one.

in our case, my parents had a funky abstract watercolor painting that got knocked off the wall every damned time we threw a party. And every damned time, it would get hung back up sideways.

Parents come home- house is clean, carpets are vacuumed, everything is immaculate, and we are hosed again by that fucking painting! :smiley:

I know that kids are kids, and I’m acting like a wet blanket here. I’m mostly annoyed because it’s my little baby brother who’s a teenager now, and it’s hard to come to terms with that, especially since I’m not living there anymore and only hear about his antics second hand. I don’t care if he has parties, but I would’ve hoped he’d be more responsible about who he invites over. I’m worried about what kind of crowd he’s fallen into.

If you are worried, look at how he’s taking the punishment–if he’s sucking it up because he knows he broke the rules, he knows he got caught, then it’s probably all normal and ok. If, on the other hand, he’s resisting the punishment because either he can’t understand that what he did was a big deal or because he doesn’t really think your parents have any right to tell him what to do or to punish him, or, most worrying of all, he somehow has it worked out that it wasn’t really his fault so he shouldn’t be punished, then I would worry that you have a level of rebelliousness that could be problematic.

Plus he’s only fifteen. If this is his responsibility level when he’s, say, nineteen or twenty, then you should worry.

My sister and I moved everything valuable and a good portion of good furniture into my parents’ room, and installed a new doorknob with a lock on it to keep the room off limits.

We were careful about who we invited, but got about 30 extra people anyway. But despite all the chaos, the only damage was a single cigarette burn on a chair, and someone puked on the bath mat.

If television and movies have taught us anything, it’s that teenage parties like this are certain to go out of control. But only in ways that maximize the wackiness without causing any real harm. And as a bonus, the teenager who throws the party is certain to lose his virginity with the hottest babe in school.

Now this is fodder for new-age sitcom teenager-throws-a-wild-party-when-parents-leave-town twist! At least good for two separate episodes!

I had the same picture falling-down thing happen to me when I threw a party while my parents were out of town. Since I was raised in a working class, black household in the south, it was the pictures of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy and Jesus Christ falling down and getting hung back up in the wrong order that got me caught.*

  • Not really, but I’ll sell it to any sitcom who’s desparate for stories right now.

I don’t know how he’s taking the punishment or anything, I just heard this all second-hand from my dad today. I’m not going to bring it up when I visit for the holidays, and I’ll probably be over it by tomorrow. For some reason this really upset me though, so I felt obligated to post a thread. Teenagers throwing parties is nothing new, but the fact that it was my brother just shocked me, as nothing like that ever happened with me or my siblings.

I’m actually relieved to hear stories of others who had parties when they were teens, it’s giving me better perspective on this and making me realize that he isn’t just my brother, he’s also a teenager who has his own teen life to deal with. But I’m his older brother and I’m obligated to give him a hard time, even if it’s behind his back on a message board.

As I understand it, current neurology/psychology sez teens act stupid like this, even if they should know better or used to know better or will know better later, because their brains are busy getting rewired.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,994126,00.html
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/teenage-brain-a-work-in-progress.shtml