Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, nestled in pretty ambiguous, murky and undefined time in a person’s life, is teenagehood. It’s something all parents get warned about, usually through whispers and little-dropped hints, each of them delivered by grey-haired parents with more lifelines than an old avocado. But for teenager’s, it’s something even worse entirely.
It’s one of the most confusing stretches of time they will ever get slapped with, where their bodies are changing, their mindset has to adapt and they fast have to make the transition from being your baby to being their own person, able to navigate the world on their own two feet, and that requires a certain understanding from you.
There is no parental roadmap to help guide you. There is no blueprint that explains the best way you can do right by your teenage kids. There is no step-by-step guide that you can study while helping your once tiny offspring grow up. But there are a few things your teenage kids want you to know that will help them out big time. And, no, we’re not making these up. We’re taking these from Reddit posts and directly from the source, meaning you can trust they are feelings all teenagers share.
So, without further ado, here are some things every teenager wishes their parent knew about them:
- The Disappointing You Thing Sucks
No teen sets out to purposely disappoint their parents, but sometimes they do, and they know they do. Yes, you warned them that doing such and such would be a mistake and that you could guarantee this would happen because you did the same thing, but teens need to learn on their own accord too. They want to please and avoid disappointing you, but they are only human, and one’s learning hard and fast at that, so no matter how they might respond after doing something “disappointing”, know it crushes their spirit too.
- Don’t Read Their Journals-Slash-Diaries
As parents, we all want to better understand out teenagers, especially when you’re butting heads with one another and communication has fallen by the wayside. But, please, if they keep a journal or diary or somewhere to jot their swirling and whirling thoughts, refrain from picking it up and reading it. They may not be telling you something right now, but they will eventually, in their own time, when they have figured out exactly what they want to say. In the meantime, it’s your job to just be their friend and support them no matter what. Trust us, if your kid has something that’s big to them to say, such as coming out, and you already know because you read their journal, it will be humiliating. The words in a journal are for their eyes only – what they tell you is for you.
- Stop Saying “Because I Said So”
The reason for this is simple: it’s not a valid answer. Nor is it a rational one. Think about it for a second. If you can’t be bothered to take the time to explain your reasons, then how can you possibly expect your teenager to respect them? The answer is: you can’t. We’re not saying that explaining your reasons will prevent every argument from happening, but it will prevent some and give you a better grounding. Just saying ‘because I said so’ every time your kid questions you will only lead to a bad relationship.
- Their Bedroom Is Their Sanctuary
Every teen needs their own space for some peace and quiet and solitude, and it will help your relationship if you give it to them. Let them have somewhere to escape, somewhere to sulk, somewhere to phone their BFFs in private, and make sure your download speed is top notch so they can play video games with their mates online. If they do storm off and slam the door, give them a minute to breathe and think and then knock to request a chat. By doing so, you will allow them to escape in some way, and all teens need that feeling or they will start to suffocate.
- Say Sorry When You Mess Up
We all expect our kids to say sorry when they mess up, so don’t for one second think you can move the goalposts, brush over it or make excuses when you do. Parents can’t always be right and kids can’t always be wrong, that’s not fair. Instead, show your teenager how to say sorry, lead them in the right direction, teach them the importance of owning their mistakes and show that saying sorry when you mess up is a good thing.
- Really, Really Listen To Them Speak
The world of a teenager is a complex and odd one and, usually, they don’t understand it themselves. It’s confusing. That’s why you need to really listen to them, try to understand their world, their life and their views. Don’t just talk at them because you think you know best, but talk with them. Talk over their thoughts and feelings. Listen to your teenager even when they don’t say anything. Just be there for them and reach out when you think they need you.
- Their Problems Are Real Too
No, they might not have to put food on the table, keep a roof over the head, manage as a single parent, find ways to get a promotion or deal with the pressures of adulthood, but don’t discount their struggles and stresses because they are real to them. Their world might well be different than your world, and the world they live in now is probably worlds away from the one you lived in as a teen, but they still need to know you care. They need to know their life and worries and struggles are cared about, so try and understand them. Try and empathise a bit more. Try to see why they are feeling how they are.
The teenage years are a challenge for both you (the parent) and them (the teen). But the sooner you can understand this, the sooner you will be able to overcome the challenges as a team.