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15 Thoughts Teenagers Wish They Could Share with Their Parents

15 Thoughts Teenagers Wish They Could Share with Their Parents

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1. I don’t really think you are stupid and ignorant. I just need to affirm my existence by thinking differently than you.

2. I’m no longer a child, and I want to make my own decisions. When you make all my decisions for me, I need to rebel to assert my independence. When you tell me you trust my judgement, even in small things, I feel validated and don’t need to rebel as much.

3. I feel good when you ask for my opinion. When you show respect for my ideas—as ridiculous as they may seem to you—I feel safe opening up to you. I am no longer a childYou show respect by listening attentively to my thoughts in a nonjudgmental way. If you can do that, we can start to talk.

4. When you start lecturing, I stop listening. When you think I’m wrong and the issue is really vital, asking questions gently to guide my thoughts in another direction works much better than a lecture. So does showing information from reliable sources. Trying to impose your views on me might make you feel powerful, but it makes me clam up and run away.

5. Appreciation is great . . . just remember that I’m not a kid! So don’t say “Good boy” or “You’re finally listening to me.” That would be a prescription for immediate rebellion. Appreciation sounds like “I really admire how responsible you are about your Sunday job,” or “Thank you so much for cleaning the kitchen. I was too tired to do it.” Basically, show me appreciation in the same words you would say to your friends.

6. Trust is so powerful. When you show me that you trust me and my abilities, I feel good about myself and about you, and I don’t want to disappoint you.

7. When you speak negatively about my friends, I dislike you, not them.

8. I dress the way I dress to assert my independence. And sometimes to gain recognition. If you throw a fit because you don’t like my style, you fall into a trap. You prove I can push your buttons.

9. It’s much easier to respect you when you respect yourself and others. Respecting yourself includes keeping calm and speaking in a kind way, even when you really don’t like what someone else is doing. Respecting others includes your children. Then, if I ever lose my cool and raise my voice, you’ll be able to say, “I don’t yell at you. Please don’t yell at me.”

10. My body is changing, my hormones are raging. I have too many teachers, and each of them gives us work as if nothing else existed. I worry about the horrible acne, the terrifying exams, the popular kid who’s not my friend. The math teacher doesn’t like me, and I don’t know what’s going on in biology. My friends are applying for jobs at a summer camp, and I don’t know if the camp will accept my application. I worry I might have bad breath, and I worry the other kids might speak about me behind my back. I don’t talk about all this because I'm overwhelmed and embarrassed. So please don’t get upset at me if my room is a mess or if I act grumpy. I need support, not lectures.

11. Don’t ask too many questions. It’s sooooo annoying. If you listen with interest and don’t criticize, I might share on my own.

12. Nobody likes to be bossed around. If you tell me you expect me to wash the dishes, clean the car, take out the garbage . . . I don’t like it. But if you say, “We are a family and we share responsibilities. Your father and I work and do XYZ. But we can’t do everything. We need our children to pitch in. Don’t ask for more than I can handleWe all want to make this a nice home”—that makes sense and I don’t feel treated like a kid. It’s also easier when you show me a written list of chores and ask me to choose which ones I’d like to do. And please, don’t ask for more than I can handle.

13. In my friend’s house, the family eats dinner together almost every night. And they have a rule: No devices at the table. The parents and kids talk to each other about their day, what’s coming up in the next few days, or whatever else is on their minds.I know I text at the table, but I secretly wish we were like my friend’s family.

14. Sometimes I want to be an independent adult. Sometimes I feel I’m growing up too fast, and I want you to take care of me. I actually like it when you know how to give advice in a smart way. You know, like when we’re just chilling, having a chat. You talk to me like one adult talking to another, and you give me a little advice—sort of in a friendly, caring way, but not a bossy, top-down way. Not often; once in a while. I kind of like that.

15. It might be awkward and not my style right now to say it, but I do love you. I’ve always loved you. I think one day I’ll be able to say it again. In the meantime, bear with me.

Sources:

Principles of Education and Guidance, ch. 14; Ethics of Our Fathers 4:12, and Bartenura and Rabbeinu Yonah ad loc.; Tanchuma, Beshalach 26; Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Talmud Torah 5:12; Rashi, Exodus 17:9; Sefer ha-Sichot 5704, pp. 92–94; Igrot Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz, vol. 4, pp. 302–3; Igrot Kodesh of the Rebbe, vol. 12, p. 100.

Nomi Freeman is the daughter of the renowned Argentinian Kabbalist Professor Avraham Polichenco, of blessed memory. She is well known for her seminars on spirituality and Jewish mysticism. Mrs. Freeman has lectured extensively in Canada and abroad. Contact her here for lecture engagements.
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Lone Chasid August 24, 2016

I wish i had a way to show this to my parents without making them feel like i consider them to be doing a bad job raising me. Reply

Lorigay Woodmere April 3, 2017
in response to Lone Chasid:

why not just say, 'hey, I read something you might find interesting."?
My kids and I talk about many things and we use my car as 'the safe zone', they can say anything (while be respectful), and unless someones safety is in danger, nothing that is said in the car is repeated TO ANY ONE. And it goes both ways. They aren't allowed to repeat either. Reply

Anonymous November 12, 2014

absolutely amazing and true!!
thank you! Reply

Anonymous November 5, 2014

YES!!!! literally this is me!!!!!!! thanks for this article it really made my night you dont even understand. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Reply

An 11-yr-old July 31, 2014

VERY TRUE YES! YES! YES!!!! so true... this article is spot on.
especially number 10.... that is really true Reply

Anonymous July 30, 2014

Who is the adult and parent? The challenge with this article is that it offers little insights on how to deal with some of these healthy and not so healthy thoughts. Example - sure, I trust you - but on the level of a 13 yr old or 15, 18 etc....a 13 year old doesn't have the same experience as a 40-50 year old...hence why parents are concerned about attitudes and choices of 13-18 yr old - they do not have the life experience to understand all of the repercussions of their decisions....this article in between the lines seems to suggest - "Hey, I wanna be an adult so treat me like one"...that's a very dangerous approach..our role as parent's is to help teenagers make healthy decisions and explore and experiment with making them w/o harmful or long term repercussion so that when they do become an adult, they have a framework to continue to do so on their own as an adult - not let them do whatever they want because they want to express themselves or assert their independence. Reply

Dmitry July 30, 2014

Great but a little bit... overwhelming. We adults are also children - of you know Who. With respect to us, ignoring item 4 above is not necessarily helpful, too. Reply

Lisa Suffern, NY July 29, 2014

The 'greatest compliment' My daughter-in-law just forwarded this article to me...asking me, her husband's mother, "How did I do it?" meaning, how was I so successful is raising 5 beautiful, seemingly well-adjusted children into adulthood. Well, this list is a good start - certainly no one teaches you these things in "Mom & Dad school" but balanced commonsense and consistency (along with prayer) go a long way... Reply

Uri Sukhodolsky Phoenix, Arizona July 29, 2014

Agreed on most, but not all Most points here are really very good (listening attentively in a nonjudgemental way, showing appreciation, not losing cool) but I do take issue with one piece of advice, "Don't ask too many questions." Why is it ok for a teenager to dictate how many questions his/her parents get to ask? I get that they should be wise questions and communicated in a pleasant manner, but are you really suggesting that they can cut their parents off at any moment by saying, "you've asked too many questions already, enough for today!" I would think that you're raising a child with lots of chutzpah if that is "how things roll" in your household. Reply

Gabriel Ioan Tomuta Edinburgh Scotland uk July 29, 2014

Nice article and berry touching Reply

Rachel Los Angeles July 29, 2014

Really excellent!! Thanks for a great piece Reply

Anonymous Texas July 29, 2014

Awesome This was a terrific essay / note. I felt like it was written directly to me! Reply

Anonymous July 29, 2014

B"H

Wow, thank you! I love this kind of article to help me be a good mom. Reply

Chana Schwartz London July 29, 2014

It's amazing. I loved reading this article. Reply

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