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Quotations about Teenagers

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

The young always have the same problem — how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another. ~Quentin Crisp

Little children, headache; big children, heartache. ~Italian Proverb

Foolishness, radicalism, morbidity are marks of promising youth, the obvious signs of inward ferment. The melancholy pose, the affectation of pessimism and cynicism, the sentimentality, the conviction of genius, that many of us deplore or deride in certain young people, may be as natural to their age and disposition as the sense of immortality of which Hazlitt writes so feelingly in one of his essays. We should rejoice to find them. They are among the indications of spiritual growth. ~Robert M. Gay, "As I Laye A-Thynkynge," The Atlantic Monthly, January 1917

Heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager wondering about each other. ~Laurence J. Peter

Don't laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find a face of his own. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, "Age and Death," Afterthoughts, 1931

If you want to recapture your youth, just cut off his allowance. ~Al Bernstein

When buying a used car, punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there's a good chance the transmission is shot. ~Larry Lujack, as quoted in Robert Byrne, The Fifth and Far Finer than the First Four 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1993

The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant — and let the air out of the tires. ~Dorothy Parker

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth. ~Erma Bombeck

Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest. ~Karen Savage and Patricia Adams, The Good Stepmother

[A]t eighteen, drawing near the confines of illusive, void dreams, Elf-land lies before us, the shores of Reality rise in front. These shores are yet distant: they look so blue, soft, gentle, we long to reach them.... [A]t eighteen the school of Experience is to be entered, and her humble, crushing, grinding, but yet purifying and invigorating lessons are yet to be learnt. ~Charlotte Brontë, "The Curates at Tea," Shirley, 1849

At eighteen... Love, when he comes wandering like a lost angel at our door, is at once admitted, welcomed, embraced; his quiver is not seen; if his arrows penetrate, their wound is like a thrill of new life; there are no fears of poison, none of the barb which no leech's hand can extract; that perilous passion... ~Charlotte Brontë, "The Curates at Tea," Shirley, 1849

In order to know whether a human being is young or old, offer it food of different kinds at short intervals. If young, it will eat anything at any hour of the day or night. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

As a teenager you are at the last stage in your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you. ~Fran Lebowitz, Social Studies

Too many of today's children have straight teeth and crooked morals. ~Unknown high school principal

Adolescence is like cactus... ~Anaïs Nin, Solar Barque, 1958

Few things are more satisfying than seeing your children have teenagers of their own. ~Doug Larson

Adolescence: A stage between infancy and adultery. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

Mother Nature is providential. She gives us twelve years to develop a love for our children before turning them into teenagers. ~William A. Galvin, 1960, unverified

The best substitute for experience is being sixteen. ~Raymond Duncan, unverified

When the boy is growing he has a wolf in his belly. ~German Proverb

In the time it takes you to understand a 14-year-old, he turns 15. ~Robert Brault,

The invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of life in which people get to stay out late but don't have to pay taxes — naturally, no one wants to live any other way. ~Judith Martin

When the library is so full that the only way to accommodate any more customers is to let them swing from the chandeliers, those are the times I earn my salary. No one should ever take a job in a junior high school in the hope of being appreciated. It's not that the youngsters wouldn't appreciate you if they thought of it; but it never enters their minds. They are so occupied with the roller-coaster zooms and dips of adolescence that anyone not their own age blends into the background. Unless you are unusually strict or unusually lax — spectacularly efficient or entertainingly inefficient — you're just a part of the furniture. Who ever feels any gratitude towards a desk? ~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), "Small Thanks," in The Wilson Library Bulletin, January 1960 [a little altered –tg]

Junior high school spans the explosive years of adolescence; the vast majority of youngsters are too engrossed in the often painful business of growing up to pay much attention to mere adults. ~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), "Small Thanks," in The Wilson Library Bulletin, January 1960

There isn't anything that a teenager doesn't NO. ~Richard E. Turner (1937–2011)

Violet will be a good color for hair at just about the same time that brunette becomes a good color for flowers. ~Fran Lebowitz

The teenager seems to have replaced the Communist as the appropriate target for public controversy and foreboding. ~Edgar Friedenberg, The Vanishing Adolescent

There's nothing wrong with the younger generation that becoming taxpayers won't cure. ~Dan Bennett

Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of twelve and seventeen, for example, a parent ages as much as twenty years. ~Henny Youngman, c. 1960s

Let us just say that teen-age taste in humor is as robust as teen-age taste in music or in sandwiches. It is something that can appeal only to the young and vigorous. After all, if you're looking for the funny side of life — or death — there isn't any equipment much more helpful than a stainless-steel digestion, a liver so elastic that it bounces, and a seventeenth birthday that is still hovering beyond the horizon. ~Gerald Raftery, "In Defense of Teen-Age Humor," in The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 1960

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. ~Author unknown

Chaperons don't enforce morality; they force immorality to be discreet. ~Judith Martin

Slumber parties are inevitable, like death and income taxes. The only way to avoid them is not to have a teenage daughter. ~Paul Storm, 1967

Teenagers complain there's nothing to do, then stay out all night doing it. ~Bob Phillips, unverified

The average income of the modern teenager is about 2 a.m. ~Author Unknown

Telling a teenager the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath. ~Arnold H. Glasow

There isn't a child who hasn't gone out into the brave new world who eventually doesn't return to the old homestead carrying a bundle of dirty clothes. ~Art Buchwald

It's difficult to decide whether growing pains are something teenagers have — or are. ~Author Unknown

A babysitter is a teenager acting like an adult while the adults are out acting like teenagers. ~Author Unknown

The average teenager still has all the faults his parents outgrew. ~Author Unknown

A baby-sitter is a teenager who gets two dollars an hour to eat five dollars' worth of your food. ~Henny Youngman

There is nothing wrong with today's teenager that twenty years won't cure. ~Author Unknown

What a shame that allowances have to stop with the teens: both those that are paid to us and those that are made for us. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Any astronomer can predict with absolute accuracy just where every star in the universe will be at 11:30 tonight. He can make no such prediction about his teenage daughter. ~James T. Adams, unverified

I have seen my kid struggle into the kitchen in the morning with outfits that need only one accessory: an empty gin bottle. ~Erma Bombeck

You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone. ~John Ciardi, 1962

I tell my child, if I seem obsessed to always know where you've been, it is because my DNA will be found at the scene. ~Robert Brault,

A boy becomes an adult three years before his parents think he does, and about two years after he thinks he does. ~Lewis B. Hershey, News summaries, 31 December 1951

You can tell a child is growing up when he stops asking where he came from and starts refusing to tell where he is going. ~Author unknown, c. 1970s

How strange that the young should always think the world is against them — when in fact that is the only time it is for them. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Of course, some teen-age laughter is the result of sheer excess of energy. Consider the closely related problem of giggling. Two fourteen-year-old girls in a classroom can keep each other amused almost indefinitely just by exchanging covert glances. Three girls in a group can readily reduce themselves to semi-hysteria and can produce laughter of the sort that television considers valuable enough to record on tape for further use. ~Gerald Raftery, "In Defense of Teen-Age Humor," in The Clearing House, May 1960

At fourteen you don't need sickness or death for tragedy. ~Jessamyn West

...inwardly, we're much older than other girls our age. Even though I'm only fourteen... I feel I'm more of a person than a child... ~Anne M. Frank, letter, 1944

It is hard to convince a high-school student that he will encounter a lot of problems more difficult than those of algebra and geometry. ~Edgar W. Howe

He wears a lurking and uneasy grin.
From bass his voice will suddenly go thin
And tenor. He turns pink without a cause;
And, even while eating, he will pause
To stare at space—to catch up on his growing,
It may be, or to hear his pulses flowing—
And then come conscious with a sudden rush
And get back to his living with a blush.
~Gerald Raftery (1905–1986), "Adolescent," 1938

Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves. ~Virginia Satir, The New Peoplemaking, 1988

The troubles of adolescence eventually all go away — it's just like a really long, bad cold. ~The fantastically beautiful and kind-hearted Dawn Ruelas, 2002

Snow and adolescence are the only problems we can think of that disappear if you ignore them long enough. ~Changing Times, 1954

Why do children want to grow up? Because they experience their lives as constrained by immaturity and perceive adulthood as a condition of greater freedom and opportunity. But what is there today, in America, that very poor and very rich adolescents want to do but cannot do? Not much: they can "do" drugs, "have" sex, "make" babies, and "get" money (from their parents, crime, or the State). For such adolescents, adulthood becomes synonymous with responsibility rather than liberty. Is it any surprise that they remain adolescents? ~Thomas Szasz

For teen-agers, the after-school snack is as much an institution as the office coffee break... this may consist of such tastiness as a cheeseburger accompanied by the formal side dish of French fries garnished liberally with ketchup. When such a delicacy is followed by a soup tureen full of whipped cream, starvation can almost certainly be staved off until nearly suppertime. ~Gerald Raftery, "Ambrosia — with Mayonnaise Yet!," in The New York Herald Tribune, 1961 September 10th [a little altered –tg]

Small children disturb your sleep, big children your life. ~Yiddish Proverb

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Last saved 2021 Apr 09 Fri 16:37 PDT

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