10 Teen Truths (Written By A Teen)
The other night as I was making dinner, my teenager walked through the kitchen sulking and complaining about all kinds of things. Her sister, friends, homework, food, me…nothing seemed quite right. Everything felt wrong. She was clearly feeling highly misunderstood. My response to her teen-angst wasn’t at all what she needed. In a quick flash of good parenting (they sometimes come like a thunder bolt when I need them most) I told her to write it out. Since I was clearly NOT understanding her and her spoken words (it was likely the tone she was using that ensured that) and that I knew that nothing I could say would make “it” better, I suggested she write it all down and get it all off her chest.
She plunked herself down right there at the family computer and began to frantically type. She came up with a list of things I found pretty enlightening. After reading the list, I asked if there was anything I could do to react to these things in a way that actually helped, not hurt. Alas, she came up with a list of what I could do (and what you might consider doing) in response to what she has dubbed her 10 Teen Truths.
1. We're tired.
Even when we sleep and lounge around all day, we’re still tired. But, it’s funny, because although we’re a tired we never want to go bed at a decent hour. Parents, please, don’t nag about bedtime. It only makes us want to stay up later.
2. We procrastinate.
We truly want to get things done… but there are so many better things to do instead. Why do homework when you can be on Facebook or Instagram? So much more interesting. Parents, please, we usually get our stuff done even when we procrastinate so giving us praise for getting things done when they’re due would be very encouraging.
3. We get mad.
Nobody even tries to understand our point of view! We try to get our point across but everybody rolls their eyes and thinks we’re crazy. Parents, please, just listen to us and don’t scoff at our ideas. At least try to understand and consider what we are saying.
4. We like to complain.
Whether our head hurts or we have to take a math test, we’re always complaining. Parents, please, have sympathy for us and try not to get annoyed. At least we’re communicating.
5. We feel unloved sometimes.
We always feel like our siblings are loved more than we are and that they never get in trouble as much as we do. Parents, please, don’t be harder on the older child just because they “know better”. Try to treat all your kids equally and listen to both sides of the story if there is a problem. Don’t favor the younger kids. It’s infuriating!
6. We're hungry.
We’re always hungry. Always. When our parents make dinner, even if it’s good food, we never feel like eating what they make. It seems like we always want what we can’t have. Parents, please, it’s pretty simple; consider our food suggestions and get us our favorite snacks.
7. We will always want more.
Going back to the point of wanting what we can’t have. We always want more because nothing is ever enough, or at least that’s how we feel. Parents, please, kindly, gently remind us that we have a pretty good life having what we do have.
8. We sometimes hate on others.
Anybody beyond our group of friends who is seemingly cooler, prettier, more popular, etc. is instantly despised. Parents, please, don’t angrily accuse us of being mean (even though we are), instead gently suggest that we try to be a little more tolerant.
9. We think everyone is watching us.
We all think we’re being watched, talked about, and judged, when in reality nobody really cares. Parents, please, help boost our self-esteem. I know my mom definitely taught me not to not to put myself down or care what others think. It helps. Please do the same.
10. We actually do care about our grades.
Even if we act like we don’t care, we actually really do care about our grades. Shhh, it’s a secret. Parents, please, don’t nag us about doing our homework. It just makes us mad. Instead, help us set up long term goals and offer us small (or large) rewards for good grades. Money is always nice. Teenagers love money, but I’ll save that for my next list.