5 Things Teens Wish Their Parents Knew


This is a guest post from my daughter Jennifer.  Jennifer is a high school junior, participates in way too many clubs to list, and blogs at The Purple Branch.

Teenagers are complex beings. I don’t think there is one general type. There is a variety. As a teenager myself, I have observed the variety and learned the distinctions, but even I can’t say I completely understand teenagers. However, I do have a grasp on the general teenage perspective. I can tell you five things teenagers wish their parents knew.

  1. We are under incredible pressure and have extreme stress with school and extracurricular matters.

This is the most obvious struggle teenagers are faced with. It is a lot of stress we aren’t used to deal with. We aren’t as experienced as our parents are with stress so when we encounter difficult situations we aren’t very pleasant. This is often why teenagers are pegged as moody. We haven’t learned how to conduct ourselves when we are faced with many tasks. But we are still learning!

  1. We want freedom!

This is the most common complaint teenagers have. I completely understand parents need to have rules for their teens, but it is annoying. It’s annoying because we are right on the verge of adulthood, and we can’t wait for the freedom that accompanies it. I understand that there is the issue of safety that worries parents. I am glad my parents worry about their kid’s safety, but I think they worry about it way more than teens do. I think the best way for people to learn is through experience, and if you limit their freedom, their learning will be limited as well. Also limiting freedom is probably the most common form of resentment teens have toward their parents.

  1. Asking is much better than commanding.

As said before, teenagers often want to have the perks of being an adult. One of which isn’t being treated like a child. It is very annoying when parents command you to do something with a stern voice. Every little annoyance can lead to long term resentment. Instead of saying “Vacuum the living room” say “Could you please vacuum the living room?” or even “It would help me out a lot if you could vacuum the living room”. Teens know when your parents ask you to do something you have to do it, but it sounds less like they want to control you. You sound like you look at them as mature instead of childlike.

  1. Some of us struggle with expressing how we feel.

It may seem like teenagers are distant a lot. They may never say I love you. I can’t speak for all teens, but most do love their parents. They are just not comfortable with saying it. And it can be simpler emotions that teens have trouble expressing. If they are sad, stressed, or frustrated they most likely won’t tell you. They will act differently and not too pleasantly. This can explain sudden changes in mood. As I have said before, teenagers are still learning to juggle all of their stresses in a pleasant manner. We also aren’t really comfortable with saying what’s bothering us, but if you ask us what’s wrong, it will make us feel like you care. Even just asking how we are feeling would help us to open up.

  1. We are trying to figure out who we are as much as you are trying to understand who we are.

Teenagers are far from perfect. Most of us don’t really know what we want to do or who we want to be. Those are questions that we are trying to answer. They are typically the center of a teenager’s thoughts. Ever since we stepped into high school it’s been all about your future college, job, life, and self. We are trying to figuring it out, just like you are. I don’t think long lectures about who we are supposed to be is going to help us figure it out any quicker. Maybe try talking to your teen without judgment about their ideas, aspirations, and possible plans. It will help both of you to understand each other better.

Hopefully these five teenage complaints will help you connect better with your individual teen. I want to make the point clear that these are from my perspective and not your individual teens, but I do believe I have a grasp on the general sources of dissention between parents and their teenagers. Teenagers are complicated. That is a simple fact. However, it is not impossible to understand them. Thank you parents for caring to understand!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.