Politicians have been airing their views on Scotland's youth in a day-long debate in the Scottish Parliament.
The SNP said young people should not be stereotyped
Scottish Labour, which has made youth crime a key policy area over the next four years, has been warned by the Scottish National Party that it must avoid demonising all of the country's youngsters.
Scottish Socialist MSP Rosie Kane also sought support for a ban on the word ned, which she said was an unfair label for disadvantaged teenagers.
Fiona Hyslop, SNP education spokeswoman, said the parliament must do everything possible to encourage the young.
She said: "For too long politicians have only used the word 'youth' if it is accompanied by the word 'crime'.
What's happening in other debates we have heard is a generalisation against young people all over Scotland
Rosie Kane, Scottish Socialists
"Let us not spend today praising young people just to kick them in the teeth when it comes to an important debate on allocating resources."
Ms Kane said the parliament should recognise the poverty many young people face and that there have been some "quite worrying attacks on young people" by other young people.
She told MSPs that youth crime has stayed at the same level for a decade.
"What's happening in other debates we have heard is a generalisation against young people all over Scotland," she said.
"These same young people have been badly let down. They have been pushed to the wall for decades and some of them are now the parents of young people we are now hearing concerns about. That is the result of poverty."
Education Minister Peter Peacock said a small group existed in society who were "presenting particularly challenging forms of behaviour".
Lord James: School indiscipline concerns
However, he stressed that he wanted to highlight the good things about Scotland's youth.
He said: "We have a huge amount to be proud of when looking at Scotland's young people.
"We should be inspired by our young people, recognise and applaud the contribution they are, can and will make in the future."
Lord James Douglas Hamilton, the Scottish Tories, education spokesman said his party was right to focus on school indiscipline and pupil attainment.
He said figures showed that the number of reported incidents of violence against local authority school staff had increased from 743 in 1997-98 to 5,412 in 2001-02.
"In the past four years pressure to reduce exclusions has tied the hands of head teachers and caused an unparalleled increase in the level of violence and indiscipline in classrooms," said Lord James.
"I again urge the minister to review and withdraw the arbitrary targets of exclusions, as it appears wholly inconsistent with the determined policy to enforce discipline in schools."
Green MSP Eleanor Scott said young people were judged "by much higher standards than adults", and said the executive was "pandering to the image of children as troublemakers".
Dr Scott added: "I think we ought to take our hats off to young people who are actually in many ways much better than us.
"Even very young children have a great sense of justice and a great sense of environmental responsibility, which we then, through the society we've created, kick out of them over the ensuing years as they move into adulthood."
The MSP attacked the idea of sending the parents of persistent offenders to jail, saying this would result in more children being placed under the care of the state.
Labour MSP Johann Lamont said an "awful lot of young people" suffered precisely because of what their parents had done to them.
Robert Brown: Few persistent offenders
"What we have to confront is that some of our young people, from a very early age, have their life chances severely diminished because of family and parents who are not supporting them appropriately, or indeed are neglecting or abusing them," she said.
Liberal Democrat Robert Brown said that of about one million under 16s in Scotland, only 1.4% were reported for offences and just 0.1% were persistent offenders.
He insisted that the executive plans set out in the partnership agreement would help support children throughout Scotland.
Tory MSP David Davidson said more should be done to warn youngsters about the dangers of "binge drinking".
The SNP's Fergus Ewing said that while youth crime was a relatively small problem, it still caused suffering for countless Scots.