The following is an email I recently received.

“dear dan, i am 16 and i was wondering if you could help me know what to do, cause i am at the point that i hate myself and anybody else and i feel like theres no hope and i thought that you might be able to give me some advise since you are good at stuff like that.  my mom is always screeming at me and her and my dad don’t love me and i don’t know why cause i try to do everything i can and i’m not a bad kid but they always tell me i am in fact my mom today sayd that i am one of gods biggest mistakes cause i slept threw my alarm and missed my bus. my dad doesnt ever hit me but he is always calling me an idiot or a retard or stuff like that. anyway at school i don’t really have very many friends cause i’m to shy i guess. i don’t know what to do cause i am just wanting to give up even trying anymore cause why should i? have you ever felt like nobody cares if you just disappear cause i really feel that way even with my parents.”

It kept going, but you get the gist.

I got that email a week ago. I admittedly got choked up. It was definitely a “last straw” moment for me.

It’s days like that when I hate opening my inbox. Those days when monstrosities lurk within that completely anger or sadden me. I’ve received at least thirty or forty emails like it in the past seven months. All from teenagers. All from broken, hurting, sad teenagers. My heart has weakened a little more with each and every one of them. In truth, I always feel so lost when I get them. I mean, what can I do other than offer encouraging words in response while I sit on the sidelines being a useless cheerleader for the wounded and bleeding?

[sigh] Today’s post is a long time coming, far overdue, and is probably among the most difficult that I’ve written for a lot of different reasons, most of which are personal to me, some of which will become easily apparent as you continue reading.

Forgive the anger in my voice today. I feel that some strong things need to be said, and I admittedly wrote this post while I was lost in heavy ire over a slew of different things that were going on. I hope that I can speak at least a few words that will make these parents who continue breaking their teenagers stop and think for a damned minute. Because, we have a problem.
Teenagers are idiots.

Teenagers are careless.

Teenagers are stupid.

Teenagers are reckless.

Teenagers are less than beautiful.

Teenagers don’t care enough about the things that matter.

Teenagers care too much about the things that don’t matter.

Teenagers are thoughtless.

Teenagers are inconsiderate.

Teenagers are rude.

Teenagers don’t work hard enough.

Teenagers don’t have their priorities straight.

Teenagers spend too much time thinking about love.

Teenagers don’t spend enough time thinking about school.

Teenagers love to sass and talk back to their parents.

Teenagers love to argue.

Teenagers don’t take care of themselves.

Teenagers are quitters.

Teenagers are lazy.

Teenagers don’t spend enough time with their families.

Teenagers spend far too much time with the wrong people.

Teenagers are walking hormones.

Teenagers are always one mistake away from destroying their lives.

Teenagers are always one bad decision away from premature parenthood.

Teenagers are always one bad decision away from lives ruined with drugs or alcohol.

Teenagers don’t really care about religion.

Teenagers don’t really care about spirituality at all.

Teenagers don’t care what their parents think.

Teenagers don’t want to talk to their parents.

Teenagers are shut off. They are distant. They are uncaring.

Teenagers are, simply put, worthless.

Parents, why the hell do you make life so impossible for your teenagers? Why do you work to make them feel so damned worthless? Why do you set them up for constant failure? Why do you continually labor to strip away every good chance your teenagers have to be everything you demand so regularly that they be?…