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Hurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers (Youth, Family, and Culture)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  647 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
What do teenagers really think about adults? If you think you know the answer, you may be in for a surprise. According to Chap Clark, today's adolescents have largely been abandoned by adults and left to fend for themselves in an uncertain world. As a result, teens have created their own world to serve as a shield against uncaring adults.
Based on six months of participant
Paperback, 236 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Baker Academic
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Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Chap Clark, author of Hurt - inside the world of today’s teenagers, is professor of youth, family and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, president of Parent Teen Seminars and author of fifteen books so has a wealth of experience in academia and in the world our youth live in.

Hurt gives the results of ethnographic and sociological research undertaken by Dr Clark into the lives of mid-adolescents (aged 13-18). He spent a sabbatical relief teaching at a Los Angeles County public school (high
Stacie Pittard
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book as a teenager (about fourteen or fifteen). I read it again when I was nineteen, and I plan on reading it again. As a teenager, I thought this book was comforting. It was nice to know that someone out there understood. In a world where adults make claims such as "I was a teenager once, and it wasn't that hard", it's confusing for a lot of kids. What adults tell their children, and what they expect life to be like for their kids, isn't always what it ends up being. Something is di ...more
Jul 25, 2011 added it
As part my training at a boys home, I read six books in one week on bringing up teenagers. In comparison, this one is average.

Clark does a good job of explaining what teenagers need and why (his research for the book wisely included much personal contact with youth). Yet most of his observations and suggestions are common to several other books.

The stand-out idea I took from this book: Adults have profoundly let down today’s youth (thus the title, Hurt). “Time spend with significant adults, esp
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a former youth pastor I was always extremely frustrated that other youth pastors very rarely, if ever, read books on adolescent development. Most of the books consumed by youth pastors I knew were pretty shallow. They were filled with ideas about event and programs and contained horrible exegesis. This book was one of the few exceptions. Very good information for anyone working with, or raising teenagers.
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it
I had to read this book for my class on counseling youth. It was a thought provoking book even though I do not agree with everything that was said. I think many of the points are over exaggerated, and we must all remember that the book was based on interviews of kids at one school (in CA I believe).
Rachel Jackson
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Dear Lord, Hurt was a letdown. This book was another that I borrowed from my roommate, in what I thought would be an almost hate-read of some nonsense guidance about how to talk to adolescents from, naturally, a middle-aged white man. To my chagrin, it ended up being exactly that, despite it starting out strong, touting itself as a "study" and "research" of what author Chap Clark calls "the world beneath," that intangible realm in which adolescents live and function. The book started off interes ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college-books
Spoke to a passion for teenagers that I didn't realize I had.
Thomas Dehod
Background reading for a paper. Good balance between narrative and framework.
Chrysten Lofton
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I attended Camp Collide 2014 as a counselor and this book was a gift from the kind sponsors running the show. It was their way of investing in the adults, who could in-turn, invest in society's adolescents. I have given my full attention to this, & here is my review.
I do not 100% agree with everything here, but what I did find to be 'spot on' is too important not to address.

In order of importance, who I think this book is for, and wholly recommend it to

1. Everyone raising teenagers and child
Ben  Campopiano
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
"The adult agenda is not about what might work better for adolescents. It's all about let's control the kids, keep them incheck. That is the attitude that turns kids away." --PATRICIA HERSCH (p. 66)

"I cannot affirm that 'the picture of adolescence today is largely a very positive one.' I instead prefer the image of the vaudevillian plate spinner who is skilled at getting several plates to spin at once and even making it look easy at times. But the peformer and teh adudience both know that the pl
Lacie Ernst
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, christian, parenting
This book provided good insight into the adolescent world and how it differs from the world I grew up in only 20 some years ago. Helped me to realize even more the importance of investing in teens; to help them realize that their identity/worth is not in what they do, but in who they are (the opposite message that our culture tells them daily.)
Some key points-

The external and internal systemic abandonment of midadolescents:

One of Clark’s main premises of the book is…”we as a society have allowed
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-on-teens
A valuable read to any who work with adolescents or even those interested in today's youth.

This didn't gain the fifth star for me primarily because a lot of 'findings' didn't really strike me as new news. That is not to say that I learned nothing reading this book, there was much valuable insight. Clark did well in elucidating the abandonment adolescents experience today-- how they are left alone together to navigate in their own world beneath. Hurt certainly reinforced notions of understanding
Jared Barcelos
Clark attempts to describe the ways in which adults have abandoned the midadolescent population, the results of this abandonment, and what adults can do now to work towards a brighter adolescent future. This is his main argument, and in some ways, he strengthens this with evidence, but more often than not he attempts to make his argument by glorifying the past and by making bold generalizations. After some setup with the first three chapters, each subsequent chapter is supposed to outline the ef ...more
Becky B
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A must reader for anyone working with teens or young adults. Try to get the most recent one if you can Hurt 2.0, but if like me that isn't an option, this is good enough. In a nutshell, it explains how teens today feel like the adult world has abandoned them, and therefore, they must form their own "families" of peers. However, they are crying out for adults who will genuinely invest in their lives, listen, hold them accountable, and prove worthy of trust. Chap Clark discovered these things as h ...more
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is based on the author's thesis that mid-adolescents (high-school aged youth) are dealing with abandonment from individuals and social agencies; something we as their parents didn't deal with. This was a disconnect with me as well as the other members of the group I was reading it with as we all experienced abandonment to one degree or another. The constant comparrison to a what I deem a fantasy age made his arguments less legitimate. Nevertheless, his discussions of how teens feel and ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A professor/accomplished individual in this field wrote this book so it's a bit academic in style complete with method for his research & extensive bibliography. However, it's understandable and a must read really for any people working with teens. The ending of "what to do now" is short and overall you will probably desperately want some discussion (and high frustration at broken things like schools). I'm surprised he didn't go more into social media/technology/face in smartphones in their ...more
Jonathan Markham
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book on the recommendation of a very experienced youth worker as a text to give me insight for work among teenagers . At the time I was running a youth group as well as seeking to be a single father to two challenging teenage boys while at seminary (while in my mid fifties I might add!). I found it to be one of the most practical, eye opening and challenging texts I read during this period of my life. There are so many "aha" moments. I would urge every parent , teacher, youth pastor ...more
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is putting words to what I have felt is true as a youth pastor: "today's teenagers are thrown together in false relationships by adults who think kids connect with one another just like they used to." pg. 72

that is "youth group" in a nutshell. which is why no one comes to activities or participates in small groups or the other million things I might come up with. it isn't about the activity it is about who is there. and is that even a bad thing? I think it just IS.... and yet how am I
Jim Gribnitz
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Fantastic book that gives the best snapshot I know of teen and child development in a practical way from a Christian perspective. He takes incredibly important issues to kids (i.e. identity formation) and explains why it is such a big deal and how to help form a healthy identity. Not a doomsday, naysaying book, but an incredibly practical and helpful one.

Warning: there are a few passages that get pretty deep and will require you to read it slowly and possibly re-read different sections. I think
Cindi P.
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Took me a long time to finish this but I'm glad I took the time. Insightful accounts of the world of adolescents and the changes in society that now operate in ways so different from when I was in my teens/early 20's. Also encouraged a response from caring adults who authentically follow Christ in intentional community. I can now choose to better understand and relate to my friends who are crossing that bridge from youth to adulthood, with my eyes wide open and an offer of friendship in that wal ...more
Joshua Serrano
I was very impressed with both the content and methodology in which Clark approaches his research. I was surprised by some of his findings. The main thrust of the book is that adolescents have been systematically abandoned by adults. One contributing factor has been the development of systems that make them busy. I wonder about those adolescents who have chosen to opt-out of the rat race and play video games. He does not address this segment of adolescents. I believe this is one of the shortfall ...more
Lindsay Clark
Jul 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Though well-written and I'm sure well-researched, this didn't ring true for me. Reading this book, one feels almost hopeless about the lives of teenagers, and that just was not my experience in working with them. I felt like this book focused too much on negative things and did not provide any real hope, and like it just wasn't reflective of the experiences of the group I worked with in youth ministry. It seemed blown out of proportion to me.
Allen O'Brien
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hurt 2.0 talks about the systemic abandonment that the adolescents in our society feel. I believe that Clark's assessment is spot on; on the surface of things, adolescents learn to cope and come off as somewhat put-together. Underneath the surface, however, is a social reality with an entirely different world constructed out of necessity; a world that bears your consideration.

If you have teenagers, work with adolescents, or care at all about the future of our culture, this book is for you.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling
The book has a good description of the problems today's youth are facing. However, of those 210 pages before notes, bibliography and index with 186 pages describing problems of today's teens, there are then only twenty some pages devoted to finding a solution(s). This is clearly disappointing and inadequate.
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who works with teens
A sobering look at the state of today's teen. How can we as adults, delve into the world of teens and affect them positively? Caring unconditionally, accepting them where they're at, building a relationship of trust, being there... Chap Clark explores how teens have reacted to the abandonment of adults from their lives and how those who care about it can help.
Katherine Blankenship
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting read into the lives of mid-adolescents. While sometimes taking a decisively negative tone towards educators and the traditional role of mentor, Clark is able to name the ways we can adapt to help with the sense of abandonment felt by youth. Sections are somewhat biased, but all and all a good ethnographic study of the changing youth culture.
Carol Wunderlich
Stuff most youth workers have observed in action, but Chap scientifically confirms the trends we see. may over-state the case sometimes, but a good book... wish parents would read it and not just other people who work with kids!
Robert Evans
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A vital insight into the world of midadolescence providing a helpful framework of understanding to effectively engage in that space. A MUST read for anybody committed to "turn the tide of systemic abandonment" among our teens.
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Lent a greater perspective into the world of adolescents and teens and increased understanding for the struggles and pressures they face. A valuable tool. For anyone who is part of a teenager's life, one of the most loving things you could do, is read this book.
Mar 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Fairly depressing study of adolescents today. Not much advice here, just the observation that our youth have been abandoned by adults who force their own agenda and schedules on teenagers. Made me want to engage more with teenagers I know.
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understanding adolescence 1 4 May 01, 2012 05:52AM  
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Chap Clark (PhD, University of Denver) is professor and chair of the youth, family, and culture department at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he also directs the Student Leadership Project and is coordinator of Fuller Studio. He is on the teaching team at Harbor Christian Center church in Gig Harbor, Washington, is president of ParenTeen, and works closely with Young Life. Clark has authored or ...more
More about Chap Clark

Other Books in the Series

Youth, Family, and Culture (5 books)
  • Teenagers Matter
  • The Children of Divorce: The Loss of Family as the Loss of Being
  • When God Shows Up: A History of Protestant Youth Ministry in America
  • Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World

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