here’s a thought: the reason why adult/minor friendships are looked upon with suspicion, and the reason why adults with minor friends are accused of being predatory or having bad intentions, is because we think that minors don’t have anything of value to offer adults that isn’t sex/a relationship. it’s a continuation of the way adults devalue minors and their perspectives and contributions to the world.
….No it’s definitely because there’s a huge power imbalance
do you really think we solve that power imbalance with segregation?
op is absolutely right. this is coming from someone who researches and teaches on age and society professionally. modern western society is age-segregated to an unprecedented degree and there is ample evidence that it is absolutely fucking us over. it’s linked to everything from economic hardship to mental health crises.
intergenerational friendships are important. adults who never interact with young people outside of a defined institutional relationship with a built-in power imbalance (like being a parent or teacher) don’t develop the capacity to treat young people as equals, which reinforces patterns of abuse, neglect, social disempowerment, and silencing. young people who lack meaningful connections with adults outside of those same institutions miss out on an incredible source of support and guidance. and everyone misses out on the basic human joy of friendships that could have been really meaningful if we didn’t have this weird, broken ideology that says young people have nothing interesting to say, and no value to adults who don’t either want to raise them or exploit them or both.
op is right and they should say it.
My life has gotten so much better since I hit college and befriended people six years older than me, and went to work and befriended people decades older than me. I could have been doing this years ago when I badly needed friends bc I had none. But no, minors can’t talk to adults except when they’re forced into a lesser role bc THAT’S healthy. :/
A college person being friends with an an older adult is one thing, a teen being “friends” with an adult is another.
fucking genius how you just missed the point. teach me how to do that
how the fuck are minors supposed to be able to identify adults with bad intentions if they don’t have any positive, healthy relationships with adults outside the context of said adult being an authority figure
like, sure, with any relationship between a minor and an adult, the adult has a responsibility that the minor doesn’t. some shit only comes from life experience. but like… that teen who comes to dnd on fridays, the younger coworker, that person met through fandom? i’m not gonna pretend we’re not friends just because i’m older than they are.
it’s not that deep
Like I just. I’m so astounded by the whole “friends” thing that the person a couple posts above is implying just cause.
Intergenerational friendships are like??? So varied?????
Like maybe you’re 16 and working your first job, and you have an old Chinese man as a regular who sits at a table and reads the Chinese newspaper his family mails him, and you start sitting down and talking to him when it’s slow. And he tells you all about the life he’s lived, of being a child in the aftermath of world war two. And he talks to you about the prejudice he’s seen, and the way he sees people treat each other, and how much things have changed. And you learn a lot.
Or you meet a 30-something mother of two that walks with a cane in a group therapy session, and when you speak to her she opens up about her struggles with drugs, and how she wishes to stay better so she can be there for her kids. And she teaches you about having a more open mind when it comes to religious beliefs when you’re an edgy atheist teen.
Or you’re very isolated in your hobbies, and you meet a group of college students that share your interests and are fine letting you join in on their card games and D&D, and you not only learn the games but you get used to a group that’s accepting and just wants to have fun and make everyone comfy, and you learn not every group of people has to be judgemental and scary.
You’re saying that instead of making teens aware of the signs of toxic relationships, and keeping an open line of communication so we can help them take notice of and avoid these things… You’d rather we lock teens in a box where they’re deprived of the positives?
Force so many teens to be around peers that bully and disregard them, when they have prospective friends in local clubs and support groups that just aren’t necessarily in their peer group?
Hardcore Tumblr users really are just puritans huh? Hell even historically, households were made of many generations, and kids helped out in the community and met the adults that kept it going.
Back in college, one of my friends brought her 12 year old sister over to the dorm when her family was in town. For one night, the whole crew instantly adopted her and went out to a playground at 11 PM and had a blast hanging out together. She gave some solid relationship advice to one of the older members of the friend group (who was, in fact 30 at the time! My “college” friends included people >10 years older than the frosh), telling this woman more than twice her age that really, she needed to break up with her toxic boyfriend.
Years later we still get updates on her life, and a bunch of those people went to see her perform on stage six years later when she got the lead role in her college(!!!) production of She Kills Monsters.
Do you know how easy it is for a bunch of 18 to 30 year olds to hang out with a middle schooler and have it be a healthy, fun, and positive experience for everybody involved? Super easy! it turns out that kids are actual people with whole sentient brains and everything. Just be respectful and nice!
This. This, oh my God This. I absolutely adore speaking to people older than me when i meet them on discord in other servers, because they have so much to teach! be it 2 years or 10 years, i love friends like this. they can tell you so much ♡♡♡
When I was in my early teens, I’d sit on the curb next to a man in his 90′s named Oswin, who would sit by the road in his wheelchair all day and wave to the cars. He told me all sorts of stories about his life (sometimes more than once, which helped me remember them). I wrote part of one into my novel.
I got really close to an adult volunteer with a queer youth group in high school, and she took me in like an odd, overenthusiastic niece. I did have a crush on her a little, but it was the sort of thing that teaches you what you like in a person without meaning anything more than that. She and her wife loaned me a pile of lesbian books to read, taught me to cook, and helped me learn to drive. They were like family.
My grandmother’s friends, who I’ve known all my life, are also my friends. One of them is in the last year of her life now, and as sad as I am to lose her, I’m so grateful to have known her, to have been friends with her as close as she and my grandmother were. I’m also grateful my grandmother and I can share this grief and joy.
It’s possible to theoretically have power over someone and not abuse it. It’s possible to love someone, to be vulnerable with someone, and not be hurt.
“It’s possible to love someone, to be vulnerable with someone, and not be hurt” is something I needed to hear today, thanks.
I remember fuck all from when I was younger than 10, which is natural, but one thing I remember very clearly was a highschool student who, when I was like 7, engaged me in a long conversation about something. I remember nothing except the grateful feeling I had at being heard, and having what I thought was a deep conversation. It was one of the first proper lessons in compassion I got.
When I was like 16, I returned the favor. My friends and I were out walking at a park, when my friend Al realized she forgot something and ran home to collect it. While we waited for her, my other friend D and I sat under a tree and had a 30 minute conversation with a group of 6-9 year olds. Afterwards, their mother came over and thanked us.
My younger brother is three years younger than me, which isn’t a lot but when you’re both in highschool/middle school it’s a big difference. I befriended some of my bro’s friends, and even to them I’m known as Mama Shay. One of his friends came out as aroace and came to me for advice while she was still questioning. I used my reputation to help defend my brothers other friend from bullies.
In highschool I befriended the librarians at my school, and often volunteered there after school. I learnt a lot about sewing, libraries and other skills from them. It’s how I realized I wanted to be a librarian. If I was having a bad day at school, and couldn’t go to my friends, I went to the library instead and they would give me a cup of tea and let me sit and read in the office.
Generational friendships are important, because it’s the elder generations job to nurture the next generation, and protect them. You can’t do that if you don’t know them. You can’t do that if you weren’t taught how. My best friend is my mom, and that’s a 30 year age gap. I’m friends with my grandparents, which are a 50+ gap. I’m friends with people 3-7 years younger than me. They’re some of the most interesting and fulfilling conversationalists I’ve had, and my older friends have taught me so much about mental health and healthy relationships. They’re important and should be more commonplace tbh
What does someone 20+ years younger to me have to offer? I don’t know. Friendship, insights, laughter, perspective, a chance to feel connected to my community, frog memes, a chance to show someone the ropes and invest in a human future, the opportunity to connect with another human being?
What did my friends 20+ years older offer me? Friendship, insights, laughter, perspective, a chance to feel connected to my community, Star Trek memes, a chance to be shown the ropes and feel like someone was invested in my future and wanted me to become a good person AND someone I trusted to tell me if I fucked up, the opportunity to connect with another human being.
And I am duty bound to pay that forward. When I am 70 and my currently 20yo friend is late 40s, is thst still going to be weird and bad? Because I intend to still be his fucking friend. I’ve known and loved him since he was like…16? You can love other people’s children. Children who are not blood relatives. It’s not bad to have close younger friends if you have good boundaries. It’s not predatory. Family of choice is a thing. Sometimes you meet someone and they’re just…in your life for life.
Young people need adults. They need peers, but they also need adults. And that goes double for kids with marginalized identities who may have NOBODY else in their lives who has been through it.
I get being cautious, young people need to learn how to set boundaries and learn what is and is not safe and appropriate behavior from adults, I get that young people are vulnerable. I was young once, too, I was vulnerable with bad boundaries too, but Christ. “What do young people have to offer adults?” Jesus. YOUNG PEOPLE ARE O U R RESPONSIBILITY. Grownups, step up. Young folks, learn yourself some boundaries and make friends of all ages.