The Teen View on Parenting
Imagine if you could step into someone else’s shoes, even only for a moment. That’s what we asked youth from across the country. But not to step into just anyone’s shoes — to step into their parents’ shoes. So, we asked teens “In the future if you have kids, what do you want to give them so they’ll succeed in life?”
The answers we received offer a glimpse into the teen view of what they really want and need from their parents. Watch the video to hear from teens nationwide, and read on to uncover ways parents matter to teens.
Give Us Your Presence
A lot of the times, the best way to show support for your teen is to simply be present. Be there for our soccer games. Be there for our art shows. Be there to see what we care about. It shows that you’re invested in us, that you’re interested in what we’re doing. From the teen view, it shows that you’re interested in us.
This doesn’t have to just be for our interests either. Being there when we get home from school or back from a friend’s house can make a big difference. We just want to know that you’re there if and when we need you. This is about more than just physical presence though. It’s also about making yourself available, whether or not you can physically be there. Prioritizing us. Listening to our thoughts and opinions. Getting to know us for who we are, and letting us know you’ll be there when we need you.
Help Us Find Out Who We Want to Be
Adolescence can be a very uncertain time. From the teen view, usually we don’t know what we want to do, where we want to go, or the type of person we want to be. And sometimes we are terrified to find out! We also usually feel pressured to choose. Give us some room to find our place, to make our own choices. It might be hard, but let us learn about ourselves through our own experiences.
That doesn’t mean you can’t help us — the exact opposite actually! We still need your advice. We still need your guidance. But don’t force it on us. We will make mistakes. But we need to learn for ourselves just as much as we need you there when we hit the inevitable bump in the road.
Be Willing to Open Up
If we were in your shoes, we would want our teens to open up to us. To tell us how they feel. As a teen, though, taking that first step sometimes feels uneasy and uncomfortable. Seeing our parents open up themselves can make a big difference. It helps us feel more secure and willing to share our own feelings.
Be There When We Need You
Above all, be there when we need you for emotional support. Be the shoulder we can cry on and the ears that will listen. If we need you, be there for us. If not, wait there for us.