2012 February 05 Sunday
Troubled Youth: Mislabeling?

In our era when bad kids do bad things they are often referred to as troubled youth. This seems Orwellian. At Merriam Webster the first definition for troubled is "concerned, worried" and that's the definition I would expect. Since lots of youthful criminals are notably lacking in concern for others or worry about their own behavior I see the term "troubled youth" as basically misleading propaganda. They are trouble, not troubled.

The second definition, "exhibiting emotional or behavioral problems" seems more modern. When ideologues abuse a word for propaganda value eventually the dictionaries try to catch up. But the first evoking mental images centered around the original first meaning gives the propagandists their desired result.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 February 05 10:49 PM  Cultural Wars Goodthinker

Abelard Lindsey said at February 6, 2012 9:07 AM:

This is funny. I agree with it.

The term "troubled youth" came from the 1970's social workers.

Michael L said at February 6, 2012 3:11 PM:

everybody (especially teens) exhibit some "emotional and behavioral problems" on occasion. So if you label criminal thugs using this term, soon enough you will have measures designed for thugs being applied to non thugs who fit the same vague label, at least in the deranged mind of some highly credentialed individual with a "social work" or "criminal justice" degree. I think we have already discussed the typical IQ related test scores found in these academic programs that are credentialing people with near life-and-death power over American citizens.

Crazy Horse said at February 7, 2012 4:23 PM:

Isn't it normal to feel worried, depressed, obsessed and even a little paranoid in the world we live in?

Considering the chaos all around us, not feeling "troubled" or not having "behavioral problems" should make us worried. We all should feel the desire to change things for the better and frustrated if our isolated efforts seem meaningless, not the desire to numb our vitality with Prozac.

Being so well adapted to a sick social, economic and political environment is not healthy.

Randall Parker said at February 7, 2012 7:35 PM:

Crazy Horse,

I certainly think plenty of thoughts of a worrying nature. But in real life my main emotions are giddiness, frustration, and boredom. Depression and paranoia? Nope. Don't go there.

The chaos around us: I try to insulate myself from it and succeed for the most part. Like my job and friends. Enjoy life. I think private jokes to myself all day and even voice some of them if the audience is up to them.

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