Do you believe there are such things as “bad kids?”

DO you believe there are such things as “bad kids?” We’ve all seen them out there; the loud kids, the ones that smoke, look dangerous or untrustworthy. Some of them swear, talk back, some of them even steal, drink alcohol and take drugs. They’re the pierced, hoodie wearing kids who should be taken away or deserve a good beating.

They’re the kids gone wrong. They’re the kids who should be locked up. They’re the kids no one likes.

But we sometimes forget, they’re still just kids.

It’s easy to dismiss anti-social behaviour as being “bad”, but the concept of bad, when related to children seems to be something that belongs in a comic book or in a horror movie. Human beings (and kids are human beings) function in a far more complex way.

If we were ignored, abused or misunderstood; if we were unloved, neglected and treated like we never mattered, would we, perhaps respond in ways that might be considered anti-social?

In painting our kids in broad and simplified strokes, perhaps we’re missing the details of who they really are.

I know those “bad kids”. If we take the time, most of us probably do.

They write and draw and feel. They use drugs because their parents don’t want them. They are angry because they have nowhere to go and feel no right to want something more. They are frightened.

They act out their frustrations because they are young and they don’t know what else to do. They are anything but one dimensional. They have the same dreams and aspirations as the rest of us. Yet, perhaps, sometimes we don’t allow them the same missteps and mistakes that come with such ambitions.

I don’t believe in bad kids.

I just believe in kids.

— Richard Adams.

If you’re aged 12-18 and would like to write for our Youth Voices column, then contact Richard at

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