What Teens Want Parents (and Teachers) to Know
by Nadine Briggs
Conversations among teens happen organically and sharing successes and struggles are what bond them. Sometimes the topic of interest is their parents.
Teen rebellion against their parents is a sign of normal development. They need to be able to separate from family to be able to move on to whatever they choose to pursue after high school. They are also caught in between still needing their parents but also trying to find their own identities and independence. For both the teen and their parents, we have found that the more they understand the “why” behind their actions, the more understanding of each other they will be. At their request, I am sharing their comments about parenting on four major areas, screen time, micromanaging, punishment, and anxiety.
This is their message to both parents and teachers. The conversations are verbatim complete with grammar and punctuation errors. To sum it up, one teen said:
“Can you, like, write my mom an email or something? I’d like that.”
Why, yes. Yes, I can and for other parents who might need to hear directly from teens what’s on their mind. Read on for teen thoughts:
On Screen Time
One teen expressed that most issues are blamed on phone usage. “I have a stomachache” the teen mocked followed by what Mom was likely to say “yeah because of that dang phone!” Clearly this is a humorous exaggeration to make the point.
Another teen “my parents don’t want me to be anxious but then they don’t understand that playing video games relaxes me.”
“Parents shouldn’t blame their kids struggles on other things they enjoy in life like video games.”
Another teen in response “don’t blame everything on things we are passionate about.” First teen “EXACTLY.”
“A lot of my friends who play video games (not addicted) have better organizational skills, focus better on their work and are also more helpful to others who need their help with work. Also are more relaxed?”
“They need to let their children express their feelings without micromanaging them.”
“Dont nag me. If im gonna learn something the hard way let it happen.”
“I got sheltered a lot when I was a kid and now my mom regrets it.”
“Because I have autism and my parents were worried that I would get bullied so they overprotected me. Well guess what I got bullied anyway. In some ways it toughened me up. “
“Allow children to make mistakes and grow from them instead of sheltering them and never allowing kids to learn from them ever. “
“Don’t try to protect your kids from the hard parts of the world. Physical/mental pain sucks but it’s important for personal growth. “
“Yeah that’s what we need we were having a meltdown; an adult screaming at us. That really helps our sensory overload. “
“Turn things into learning moments instead of focusing on punishment.”
“When I was a kid getting punished just made the situation worse and my parents didn’t figure that out until we went to therapy together. “
“Try to better understand their view when they are upset. Also take them seriously when something is wrong. Figure out the details and go from there to solve the problem. “
“Getting punished just makes me mad and escalates the situation but to be fair most of the time when I got punished I deserved it. “
“I said and did a lot of things I’m not proud of when I was in middle school.”
“Grown ups just like power. When they say “because i said so” its code for “just because I’m god and ur gonna listen to what i say or else.” Another teen in response “my parents think that too.”
“And when they look for the truth sometimes the truth just means what they wanna believe happens.”
“If I lost my temper w teachers as bad as my parents I woulda got expelled so i deserved to be punished sometimes even if it made me angrier.”
This section is paraphrased since the person did not type in the chat.
My parents make a lot of comments about my appearance. My clothes, hair, whether I choose to wear makeup or not. I want to express myself my way and not look the way they want me to look. I don’t need to be told that I have a pimple on my face or that I need to lose weight. Another teen in response “like they think appearance shows happiness. “Mary (not her real name) has the best points she should do a Ted talk.” “My grandma is worse than my mom, it’s crazy.”
“Most adults are too cocky to realize they’re not always right.”
“If my dad had anxiety he wouldn’t’ve screamed at me to toughen up when he thought i was anxious.”
“Yeah like they don’t understand fully how we feel.”
“Then they do things that make it worse.”
“When my parents are annoyed by me being anxious or agitated they sometimes will tell me that videogames are the problem. Meanwhile videogames are one of the few things that can distract myself from my car wreck of a head.” Another teen response “a debate.”
“Saying toughen up makes us feel worse, saying that is actually rlly hurtful.”
“Telling your child to toughen up without any context can make them think that they are alone and that you are not going to be there for them- or that no one is going to be there for them. People are social- it’s better to encourage people to talk to others and make conversation about their issues. They can find solutions to their problems. Also not internalize their issues, which could become repressed anger, which is a bigger problem (and actually makes them weaker rather than tougher).”
“I feel like teachers should go thru like a group w you so they learn this stuff.”
“There is a kid in my class that definitely is not neurotypical. he seemed to be getting sensory overload during science class and the teachers kept crowding around him and telling him what to do and asking him questions back to back. He was laying his head down on his desk and trying not to cry and none of the teachers including the school psychologist would not give him a break. Please just know when kids are obviously about to internally combust.”
“Parents should be proud of who their kids are and support them.”
“My mother is actually doing very well.”
Privately to Nadine: “YOUR SPECIAL NO MATTER WHAT WITH CHRISTIE.”
Privately to Nadine: “I BELIEVE IN YOU”
“Something else that I feel parents should do is have a no judgement policy, like let their children know they can come to them if there is a problem. Like for example their kid goes to a party where there is shady business happening, then the parent picks them up without question.”
Perhaps check in with your teen and ask him or her to give feedback on how you are parenting them? If you are open to learning how they feel and willing to make some changes, your relationship with your teen just might become better than ever.
If your child or teen needs coaching to help them make friends, contact us to schedule a trial https://calendly.com/simplysocialkids/30min or find out more about our weekly programs or Just for Fun clubs or learn more by contacting us at https://www.simplysocialkids.com/.