Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №7/2010

Common Problems


Answer the questions before/after reading the text.

1. Have you ever experienced a lack of understanding on the part of adults? Where do you come across it most often? At school? At home? Elsewhere?

2. Why do many teenagers seem to have problems with their parents and other adults?


(This is part of a letter sent to a newspaper by a teenage-girl.)

It is not just a problem for you or me, him or her, but a vast majori­ty of teenagers – grown-ups simply fail to understand us. What I can’t understand is why they fail to understand that we are not any diffe­rent from any other normal human being.

The complaint that they have is that we are irresponsible and too easy go­ing and fun loving, we are not really worried about our studies, career or future. Who has the guts to point out that they were also like that during their teenage years? Did they never feel like expressing their emo­tions loudly and boldly? But then, the only thing they succeed in doing is finding loopholes and snags with our work, whatever it be. Any rea­son, according to them is dismissed as a lame excuse. On the one hand, one hears that experience is that we are a bunch of wild kids – jumping, laughing, scream­ing and wailing, doing so many weird things that elders feel like lock­ing us up in a big cage and fixing on the door a sign reading – BEWARE OF TEENAGERS as if we were specimens on display. The next moment we are serious children, so responsible. One learns best from the mistakes one makes, but gauging from the attitude of our el­ders, one wonders if this holds true!

Many of them raise hell over such a trivial matter, curse the poor young­ster vehemently, lecture for a long time on the “do’s and don’ts” and final­ly cool down. But instead of all the screaming and fuming, raving and ranting, isn’t it best to handle the situation as calmly and sternly as possible (like an adult) and to gracefully accept us as young adults with minds of our own.

Another problem with us is that when elders scold us, they expect us to be meek, with our chins buried in our chests, while what is happening is usually the reverse. It is a matter of hurt pride and a belittled ego, so instead, the result is a nose high up in the air and eyes defying the adult’s.

Perhaps the generation gap is at work. This is what causes a diffe­rence of opinion among the old and the young. If only grown-ups weren’t so harsh, if only they realized that they had done exactly the same things during their youth. If only they compromised with us, if only..., if only... Ah! The number of “if onlys” is maddening, but then again I wish – IF ONLY THE GROWN-UPS UNDERSTOOD US.


1. Explain what is meant by the following:

to find loopholes and snags (with...)

a lame excuse

a trivial matter

to raise a hell (out of ...)

ego (belittled ego)

2. Describe a situation when a person is likely to:

stand with their chin buried in their chest;

have their nose high up in the air;

feel that their pride has been hurt;

look at somebody with defying eyes;

lecture on the “do’s and don’ts”.

3. Distribute the following words into two groups according to wheth­er they are used in the text to describe the reactions and attitudes of adults or teenagers. Make sentences to justify your choice.

jump; responsible; submissive; laugh; easy going; scream; fun loving; wail; fume; meek; harsh; unpredictable; rave; rant; scold; curse; irresponsible; worried

4. Make all possible word combinations with the words that follow:

to faila cup of coffee
to feel likewhat smb says
to handlea go at a book
to havethe guts to argue
to findat work
to understandloopholes and snags
to holdhell over of a trivial matter
to raiseone’s breath
to acceptan exam
to bea rule
 expressing your emotions loudly
 the situation
 smth in mind
 a friend
 a pet
 smb as an adult

5. Refer to the text to prove the following statements either Right or Wrong:

1. Teenagers differ greatly from other people in their attitudes and moods.

2. Adults are quite persistent in their attitudes and it’s al­ways easy to guess their reactions to what will happen next.

3. The best way to handle an argument is to express your emo­tions loudly and boldly leaving your opponent no chance to work in a word of their own.

4. It is not reasonable of adults to expect their children to take criticism with calm understanding.

5. The main reason for the generation gap is the lack of understanding between adults and teenagers.

6. Answer the questions and do the following tasks.

1. What is the problem the girl is writing about? Can you for­mulate it in one sentence?

2. What is the generation gap that the author is writing about? Can anything be done to eliminate it? By adults? By teen­agers?

3. Do you agree with the author calling this problem a “com­mon” one?

4. What do you think of the saying that “experience is the best teacher and one learns best from the mistakes one makes”? Or is it better to learn from other people’s mistakes and ex­perience? Have you ever acquired any knowledge or experi­ence through making a mistake?

5. Can you make a list of do’s and don’ts for parents of teen­agers? (You can borrow one or two ideas from the text of the letter.)

6. Now that you are familiar with the grammar in the sentence “If only the grown-ups weren’t so harsh!”, can you make 5 sentences expressing your wishes which would help to bridge the generation gap?

Words and phrases to remember:

to fail + V/N; to have the guts + V’; to find loopholes and snags with; to hold good; to raise a hell out of a trivial mat­ter; to handle a situation; a difference of opinion; genera­tion gap

А. В. Почепаева ,
НОУ ЦО "Школа Сотрудничества", г. Москва