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Quotations about Teenagers



The best way to keep teenagers out of hot water is to put some dishes in it. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)


I was thirteen years old. Being self-conscious was a full-time job. ~The Wonder Years, "The Pimple," 1989, written by David M. Stern and Todd W. Langen  [S3, E8, Narrator Kevin]


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


Don't laugh at a youth for his affectations; he's only trying on one face after another till he finds his own. ~Logan Pearsall Smith


...at 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


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


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


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


adolescence  The time between pigtails and cocktails. ~Dan Bennett, as quoted in Leonard Louis Levinson, Webster's Unafraid Dictionary, 1967


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, United Feature Syndicate, quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1989


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


      The invention of the teenager was a mistake, in Miss Manners' opinion. She has nothing against people of that age; indeed, she is quite foolishly fond of some such individuals. It is not teenagers whom she wishes to abolish, but only the category.
      Once you identify a period of life in which people have few restrictions and, at the same time, few responsibilities — they get to stay out late but don't have to pay taxes — naturally, nobody wants to live any other way. ~Judith Martin, "Adolescence," Miss Manners' Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium, 1989, missmanners.com


Adolescence: When parents get more difficult. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)


adolescence  The time in a boy's life when he notices that a girl notices he is noticing her. ~Today's Crosswords, as quoted in Leonard Louis Levinson, Webster's Unafraid Dictionary, 1967


Never crowd youngsters about their private affairs... When they are growing up, they are nerve ends all over, and resent (quite properly) any invasion of their privacy. Oh, sure, they'll make mistakes — but... You made your own mistakes, did you not? ~Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988)


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)


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


adolescence  A time of rapid changes between the ages of twelve and seventeen, when a parent can get as much as twenty years older. ~Leonard Louis Levinson, Webster's Unafraid Dictionary, 1967


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


One spring gloomy young Francis Martin discovered that he was in love... Her name was Mary and... she was casting her locks about for him on those lovesick, heartsick afternoons which are nowhere sweeter than in high-school classrooms. ~Jack Kerouac, The Town & The City, 1950


The majority rule is excellent for government, but it doesn't work well in mental institutions, prisons, or families with two or more children. Adolescents not only need discipline but they want it. When children call the signals and run the family they get the impression their parents are imbeciles. Kids who do as they please are not happy, they are confused. The best way to keep your children's feet on the ground is to put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Ann Landers, 1968


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


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, 1963


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, rbrault.blogspot.com


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, 1963


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


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


Labor is the best of condiments for youth's food. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856


It seems that every teen-age girl is eager to wear black... ~Beth Blair, 1947


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


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]


You're a youth rather hard to manage. ~Frederick William Robinson, Under the Spell, 1870


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


In the good old days, when a teen-ager went into the garage, he came out with a lawnmower. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968





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