15 Things Teenagers Wish Their Parents Knew (By Teenagers)

things teenagers wish their parents knew

I just got out of my teenage years and boy, what a ride it has been! We go through so much unimaginable change as teens. A lot of us like to keep things to ourselves. Some teenagers wish their parents knew that, amongst many other things.

However, some teenagers feel obligated to hide the way they feel because they’re afraid that parents will judge them, get mad at them, and won’t be by their side.

If you’re a parent reading this, then congratulations! You’re one of the few parents that at least took the first step in trying to understand their teenager rather than trying to fight them.

Hopefully these 15 points will help you form a better relationship with your teen(s) and make everyone feel better because of it.

This post was written with the teenager in mind, so everything that is going to be shared will be from the minds of current and recent teenagers.

If you’re a teenager reading this, I hope you can relate to some of these topics yourself and maybe even share this with your parents to read.

Let’s get started!

15 Things Teenagers Wish Their Parents Knew

1) Not Every Conversation Has to Be a Lesson

Sometimes, teenagers just want a friend. You’ve been there with them for 13+ years and all you want to do is teach, discipline, and mentor.

Take a step back from the discipline and ask them how they’re actually doing. What’s new in their life? I bet you have no clue. And if you think you do, you’re still wrong.

Teenagers hide a lot of things, but that’s only because they feel they can’t share them with you. Take a second to think why that might be.

Are you constantly judging their choices? Are you criticizing every single thing they do?

What you should be doing is asking questions like a friend would. And when they answer, shut up and listen to them!

Related Post: How to Be a Successful Teenager

2) We Get Tired, Stressed, and Anxious Too

Yeah yeah we’ve all heard it before, “when I was your age life was so much harder”. Life is probably so easy for a teenager, right? WRONG!

In fact, teens in the last decade have reported higher stress levels than adults! Teenagers wish their parents knew that, but most parents just neglect it because they’re young.

That’s not an excuse for teenagers to not be stressed, anxious, and tired. We have plenty of work to get done.

Homework, school, friends, drama, sports, hormones, relationships, chores, dealing with parents judgement, and so much more! These are all affecting your teenager during any given day.

Please, don’t neglect your teenager when they say they’re anxious, stressed, or especially depressed. We have feelings too, no matter what age.

3) Our Room is Our Safe Space

After a long day of school and other daily activities, we come home to our quiet place. It’s our safe haven if you will.

We can unwind, do what we want, and have the privacy (most of the time) to be ourselves.

Here’s what teenagers want you to do:

  • Respect that we need that privacy a lot, even if we’re in our room for too long
  • Knock on the door first and wait for confirmation to come in… please!
  • When you leave the room, close the door
  • Unless absolutely necessary, don’t come into our room for stupid things (text us instead and we’ll do it)
  • If you see we’re in the middle of something and you need them to do a chore, ask for us to do it when we “get a chance”
  • Let it be our room (we’ll open the windows, organize our desk, etc.)

If you were in the middle of watching a show or doing something you love, would you want to be interrupted every few minutes to do something you hate? Of course not, so don’t do it to them.

We understand that chores need to be done and that you need help with things. That doesn’t mean it’s fair to pull us away right in the middle of “us time”.

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4) We’re Still Learning A Lot

We’re going to make mistakes. That’s the whole point of being a teenager. It’s right in between being a kid and being an adult.

Let us learn new things by ourselves, and let us do it our way.

Some parents like things done a specific way. Instead, encourage your teenager to do it in a way that seems most efficient to them.

As long as the job gets done, what do you care? Plus, it helps teenagers feel more independent and not hovered over all the time.

Teenagers wish their parents knew how annoying it is to be told how to do things. I still can’t stand it!

Eventually we’re going to stop making decisions for ourselves and only do what our boss tells and be quiet. If you don’t want that for your teen, let them make decisions alone!

5) Stop Forcing Things We’re Not Into

Yes, we’ve heard that “computer science is the future”, our grades are our life, and jobs are how you make money.

However, that doesn’t mean we have a passion for those things. Maybe we’re into art, sports, entrepreneurship, or videography.

The world is changing, and I hate to say it but, teenagers are more aware of the change than adults are.

Stop thinking you know your teen because you probably don’t.

We don’t want to hear about your favorite majors for US and your favorite job ideas for US. We want YOU to hear what OUR favorite majors and job ideas are.

If that’s hard for you to respect, that’s okay. Just understand that your teenager is going to grow up and be their own person. Don’t ruin their confidence now, because it will affect the rest of their lives.

6) Respect Our Privacy

Our privacy is like the blanket that keeps us whole. The moment you start trying to lift that blanket up, we’ll always be on edge, trying to hide everything from you.

If we want to tell you something, we will. The more you get nosy or judge us, the less we’ll tell you about ourselves.

That’s a teen’s nature. If you don’t support us, we don’t want to share.

Related Post: 7 Ways to Avoid Negativity 

7) Don’t Bug Us When We’re Upset

When I’m upset, don’t ask me every second, “What’s wrong! What’s wrong!”

We want your affection, but we don’t want you to pry. When we’re ready to speak, we’ll tell you what’s wrong.

And if we don’t want to, you should respect that as well!

DO NOT make fun, judge, or imitate us when we’re upset. We’ll remember that stuff and good luck having us share our feelings ever again.

The moment we know that you’re asking “what’s wrong” for yourself, is the moment we stop wanting your attention.

DO NOT assume things when we’re upset. If your teenager has a boyfriend/girlfriend and they come home upset, don’t blame their sadness on their relationship.

If you don’t know why we feel this way, respect that, don’t assume, and be there for us when we’re ready.

8) Ask If You Can Share Your Thoughts

Teenagers wish their parents knew to ask before they share. Meaning, listen to your teenager.

If you get to a point where your teen is sharing their feelings, listen to what they have to say. When they’ve finished what they have to say, ask them this question:

Would you like me to share my thoughts?

If you pull out this question on your teen, they will be in shock! They might even be so shocked, that they’ll have no choice but to say yes.

If they say no, you need to understand that and just be there for them. Teens don’t always want your advice or opinion. At times, they just want a friend to listen.

9) Take A Different Approach

When you speak to your teenager, how are you treating them? Do you ask if they’re okay doing something? Have you tried other strategies before?

Maybe your way to speak to your teenager is by yelling. Yelling is never the answer just to ask for a favor.

Instead, try asking extremely nicely. Or be patient with them when they speak.

There will always be a different approach to take when you speak to someone. In the end, we want to be treated like adults, so speak to them that way.

If you currently talk to them like a parent, try talking to them like a friend instead.

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10) Reward Us, Don’t Hate Us

There are times when we try really hard at home… to keep dishes clean, our room tidy, and get laundry done properly.

Other times we’re too lazy, get busy, or simply forget.

Either way, teens wish they were rewarded for when they do something right. Most of the time, you only notice what’s wrong.

We don’t blame you, that’s human nature. We naturally point out the negatives because… it’s easier.

When we do something right, let us know! We love positive reinforcement.

When we do something wrong, remind us. We get caught up in things just like you and make other priorities.

Eventually, we will learn to do things right more than wrong and it’s a win-win for everybody.

11) We Rebel Because We’re Curious

To put it into better words, we don’t rebel just because. We rebel because we’re trying to decide things for ourselves.

If you tell us how to do something, we’ll try and figure out if there’s a better way… an easier way. If you tell us not to do something, we’ll try and figure out why. The only real way to figure that out is to do it.

Experience is how teenagers learn their lessons and it’s often something withheld from teenagers. They’re too young! It makes sense.

They’re the most curious species on the planet so let them learn on their own. You can guide and provide assistance, but do not force things to be your way.

This is what causes us to “rebel” in your eyes, but it’s not rebellion… it’s just curiosity.

Related Post: How to Calm Down Quickly

12) Com-pro-mise

If there’s one thing teenagers wish their parents knew, it’s to compromise. Everyone say it with me… com-pro-mise.

Teenagers absolutely hate this saying:

“Because I said so”

That is not how you treat an adult. These are young adults you’re speaking to.

If you think about it, you would hate that saying just as much if it were told to you by your boss. It’s simply rude and unfair.

One thing you might not know about teenagers: they actually love compromise. They are more than willing to come to some sort of agreement where everyone is happy.

If you can provide a reason to back up your argument (sorry for going all English teacher on you there) then you’re one step close to understanding your teen.

Treat us like adults, and your home will be a more peaceful place.

13) Our Emotions Are Just as Valid as Yours

We’re allowed to cry, feel pain, grief, and all other emotions that come with the human body.

As far as I’m aware, I don’t think it says humans aged 13-19 aren’t allowed to feel emotions in any biology textbook.

DO NOT tell us not to cry or especially threaten us if we continue to cry.

How about asking if we’re okay or trying to understand their side of things. Not everything is about you being a parent and them being your kid. You’re on the same playing field when your kid becomes a teenager.

If you saw your best friend upset, how would you react? Do the same for your teen.

14) Our Phone is Our Social Life

Parents listen up! If you think your teen is ruining their life because they’re on their phone, you are wrong.

You grew up in a different generation, we know. Things were different back then, we know.

When you were a child, televisions were new to the world and you adapted, because that’s what humans do. We adapt to the world around us or we get left behind.

If you don’t understand that, then teenagers honestly feel sorry for you. And just because you don’t understand, it doesn’t mean that you have to take that away from your teen.

Here are a few things a phone and social media does for teenagers:

  • Connect with friends
  • Make new friends
  • Learn new topics
  • Understand the world faster
  • Manage their finances
  • Receive job opportunities (yes, jobs!)
  • Join groups about passionate interests
  • Learn internet safety
  • Have access to billions of knowledgeable resources
  • Grow a following
  • Have a voice

I can go on and on. This is just a fraction of what’s available to them on a little hand held device that you feel the need to diminish.

Don’t make fun or judge them because they use their phones. If anything, you should be jealous and ask them how to stay in the present world without falling behind.

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15) We Love You, It’s Just Hard to Show It

It’s true. No matter how frustrated we get, we love and appreciate what you do for us.

We’re grateful that you take time to make us food, bring in an income, drive us places, keep an eye on us, care about our future, and all the above.

We’re mysterious humans and it’s hard for us to show our affection sometimes. We often feel you don’t appreciate us either and it turns into a war of negativity.

If you start to show your appreciation towards teenagers, they will start to show it back. It’s hard for us to come out of that bubble before you do, so be the bigger person… for us ?.

Our brain can only feel so many emotions at once, especially with hormones bouncing through our bodies every second of every day. We apologize if we conserve that love for you and put it into something else.

However, I’m confident that if you implement some of the advice from this article, you’ll be on your way to a better love and understanding for each other.


There you have it! 15 things teenagers wish their parents knew sooner and understood from the start.

Congrats to the parents reading this who are willing to make their relationship with their teen even better. You are one step ahead of every other parent!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions from real teenagers who go through this stuff everyday, feel free to leave them down below! Thanks for reading!

  1. I agreed with most of your post but , while there is some good that comes from having a cell phone you did not mention the overwhelming bad, free range to a cell phone offers. Yes to social, yes to staying informed (but can also do that through a laptop). But you did not mention the overwhelming anxiety, depression, cyberbullying, time consuming, loss of focus, predators, sexting, insecurity that comes from simply having one. There has to be a good balance and good boundaries set with parents and kids.

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing your input!

    I completely agree with everything you’re saying. I’m sure most people would, which is why I decided to highlight all the positives that come from it too since most people only discuss the negatives.

    There definitely does have to be a good balance and I appreciate you pointing that out!


  3. I am a new teen I have only been a tee. For little time but I fully agree.I love my mom very much and she is doing great raising me.

  4. Again, from an old Granny, thank you so much. I’m Gen X and I really want to understand this generation. This helps tremendously. Thanks!

  5. Hi, Daniel!
    As a 15 year-old teenage girl, I can’t help strongly agreeing all the 15 facts you describe truthfully & beautifully.
    #3 is so relatable! Indeed, my room is my little lovely world. I go ballistic whenever my mum comes in without knocking the door and leaving it open.
    #4 In my opinion, we are not only learning & picking up new skills but also forming ourselves. We’re constantly evaluating, treasure grabbing & re-assembling our own identities & oh man, how I wish my mum knew this.
    So, heading off to send this to my mum!

  6. Hi Mandy,

    I’m so glad that you’ve found relatable things in the post and that you’re sending this to your mum! I hope every teen has the guts like you to share this with their parents.

    Thanks for reading!
    – Daniel

  7. Hi Daniel,
    I really enjoyed your article it was so helpful to me.
    I’ll be implementing all of it!
    I also see a lot of articles on how teens can make parents proud, but I wonder what about the other way around? What makes teens proud of their parents, ( single mother in this case!)
    Thanks 👍

  8. Hey Yve,

    I’m so happy you’ve found it useful and are beginning to implement some of the tips! You’re an inspiration to all mothers out there 🙂
    Wanting to be a better parent for their teen starts with the parent’s conscious decision to make a change. You’re awesome for that!

    Take care,

  9. Somethings just feel awkward to be spoken about with our parents no matter how nice and “able to relate” they appear. I do want to speak to them about stuff but I feel like it’s just not right. Funny enough, I can talk with my friends about it

  10. Hey Faithie,

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. To be honest, I never told my parents anything!

    But once I did, I realized that I was running away from a better relationship with my parents. I’m so happy I did and I think you should give it a shot. Start small and at the very least, send them this post!

  11. The fact that mostly the people who’ll read this are probably teenagers and not their parents is sad…. 😔

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