Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

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Who’s the one with a ‘baditude’?


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001

What is a "baditude"? I need to know because everyone keeps telling me that I have one. I guess it has something to do with my attitude. I saw this word on a billboard advertising a certain car, and my parents quickly pointed out that this was the word of the day for me. I was offended by this accusation. Why do they have to single me out with this label? I am not the only teenager in the world with attitude issues.

Maybe my parents need to look in the mirror at their own attitudes. They don't always have the most pleasant outlook on life. My bad attitude isn't hereditary, but I have had some pretty good teachers who have helped me to perfect this way of living. I am not implying that it's anyone else's fault. I know that I am responsible for the ways I act and react in any given situation. But I know I need to take a look at how I let other people determine my moodiness.

I find myself getting really frustrated when I feel "out of control" and when I know I have let other people get the best of me. I hate myself when my attitude is altered because of someone else's power over me. I don't like feeling vulnerable around anyone in whom I don't have complete trust, and for the most part, I don't have complete trust in anyone. It is ironic but I want power over others even though I know what tension that creates. I think my feeling of powerlessness over others is one of the key reasons for my "baditude." I don't want them to control me; I want to control them.

At times, I overreact to authority figures. I seem to get really angry when they think they can boss me around. I think my attitude is the worst when I feel I have no choices. I am not sure anyone has the power to take my choices away, but I feel that's what adults try to do. Adults, if you leave me no way out, I will make you miserable for taking my freedom away. I want to whine and tell everyone that it is not my fault that I am in this situation.

I want attention at times when I feel like an underdog. I want sympathy when I feel trapped and stuck with seemingly no way out. I want an excuse for my baditude and sometimes I want to wallow in that attitude longer than others want me to. I don't kick and scream the way a small child does, but I do other things to make everyone around me know how I feel. My attitude is a clear picture of the way I am feeling at any given time.

I used to figure out ways to please adults. This made them think that I was such a JOY to be around. Now, they seem to want to blame my change in attitude on becoming a "typical teen." I don't think that is all of it. You see, I wasn't happy trying to please the giants. I gave in and tried to be the way they wanted me to be, but that's not who I am. I don't like being a little robot. I have to find me and be that person.

My baditude keeps adults away from me so I don't have to deal with their demands. It is in these moments that I am trying to find me. Yeah, I know there might be a better way to find me, but for now this is working. Please back off and let me find my way. Don't be so afraid of the outcome. My baditude will get me nowhere if I don't figure out a way to be happier in life. Hey, that's my job to figure out. No one can fix that but me. Hey adults, how about working on your baditude about life, and I will do the same!

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- IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker, a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Tucker, who has been in counseling practice since 1979, writes this column under the guidance of a panel of teenage advisers, who approve the topics and offer their insights (in exchange for pizza). You may write her c/o: IT!, X-Press, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridian@sptimes.com.

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