That period between childhood and adulthood can be a challenge for everyone. There isn’t a perfect road map to growing up but there are a few things teenagers want their parents to know.
I did an email dialogue with several teens (and teen experts) so their voice would be heard in this post so here goes. A few things teens wish their parents knew about them.
17 Things Teenagers Want Their Parents to Know
- I hate disappointing you.
I don’t set out to disappoint you but sometimes I know I do. I really do want to please you. When I disappoint you (and I know I will), please know that no matter how I respond, it crushes my spirit.
- I need your approval.
I need your affirmation, your encouragement, and your support. I need to know you are proud of me and that you are not sorry you ever had me. I may be growing up, but I am still your little girl/little boy.
- Please be authentic in your actions as well as your words.
Just be real. Don’t tell me one thing and then live differently. If work is hard, I can pray for you. If you are struggling with your faith, let’s talk about it. Don’t tell me everything is okay when I can clearly see it isn’t. I desperately need your faith in God to be real and lived out in real life.
- Tell me you are sorry when you mess up.
Don’t brush over it or make excuses. You can’t always be right and I can’t always be wrong. Show me, lead me, teach me that saying you are sorry when you mess up is good.
- Listen to me. I mean really listen to me.
Seek to understand my world, my life, my views. Don’t always talk at me. Talk with me. Listen to me even when I don’t say a word. Reach in and ask when needed.
- Don’t discount my struggles and my stresses.
They are real to me. My world is different than your world. My world is different than the world you lived in as a teen. I just need to know you care about my life and you want to understand how I feel.
- I need you to be my parent.
I need my friends and I need you to have your friends. I don’t need you to be my friend. Only you can be my parent and I really really really need a parent.
- I need you to be secure, happy, and confident.
I can’t give those things to you and I can’t carry the weight of this for you. Please find that on your own. I can love you and pray for you.
- Don’t obsess over how you look.
I live in a world where how you look is everything. Everyday I am hit head on with body image messages. It is so hard. I need you to remind me that looks are NOT the main thing in life. When you say negative things about how you look (I am too fat, I hate my hair, I need a different body, etc.) I feel helpless. This is a battle ground for me and I need a warrior parent to help me fight it.
- Sometimes I am afraid.
Afraid of growing up, of becoming an adult, of taking on more responsibilities. I am not sure I can make it. Your belief in me makes all the difference in calming my fears.
- Sometimes I don’t even understand my emotions!
All the changes taking place in my body and my mind can set off emotions from out of nowhere. I don’t even understand when they suddenly appear whether anger or tears. Please be as patient with me as you can and know it may appear the emotions are aimed at you when they really aren’t.
- I am excited to stretch, grow, and become more independent from you.
Thank you for giving me room but for also being there for me. Your support of me growing up, your belief in me in growing up gives me confidence I can make it.
- I know sometimes it is hard for you to know how to parent me.
I know I can be a challenge. Please don’t ever give up on me. Please don’t give up parenting me.
- I need you. I really do need you.
- I love you. I really, really do love you.
- Please know that your prayers over me and for me make a significant impact. I do see and I do hear.
- And I still need regular hugs.
“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
Do you have a teen you love in your life? Here are 17 Things Teenagers Want Their Parents to Know: Click To Tweet
If you have a teen in your life, go give them a big hug and let them know how thankful you are that God chose you to be their parent.
And ask your teen to read the post and tell us what we missed. We would love to hear their input.