18 Things Your Teen Isn’t Telling You

Chances are, your teen has FAR more to say than they're letting on...

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 18 Things Your Teen Isn’t Telling You

Not long ago, my three kids and a bunch of their friends were hanging out at our home chilling out, watching movies, playing video games, and of course, eating me out of house and home. 

I typically give them plenty of space (okay, I admit I do spy on them every once in a while to make sure they’re not up to any mischief), but this particular evening I mosied on down to the basement and struck up a conversation with them. 

I was truly amazed at how open most of the kids were with me. They were telling me things I was pretty darn sure they weren’t telling their parents. Things they weren’t too proud of, mistakes they made, and even how they felt about the way their parents parent them. 

At one point, I asked one of the kids, “Have you ever talked to your parents about how you feel?” “Oh, heck no,” he said. “My parents tell me what to do… I can’t tell them what do to. That’s not how it works in my house.” 

It’s a harsh reality, but our teens really DO have a lot to say, provided we just give them a chance.

Curious now that I realized these kids really could shed light on what’s lurking behind the mind of a teen, I asked them, “Tell me some things you wish your parents knew.” Here are just a few things they shared with me: 18 things your teen isn’t telling you.

18 Things Your Teen Isn’t Telling You


#1 I Need Space and Privacy

Don’t take it personally when I come home from school and hide out in my room for a couple of hours. The pressure of life wears me out. I need time to just be by myself and play video games, scroll through my phone or just hang out. Don’t worry… I still love you.

#2 I’m Going to Mess Up… Maybe Even Royally

I’m not perfect. I’m going to make mistakes and disappoint you. I don’t mean to. But I’m learning and figuring things out on my own. Just stick with me when I do. I’m not a bad kid and you’re not a bad parent. It’s just that growing up isn’t easy. 

#3 I Love When We Just Hang Out

Every time we’re together, I feel like you’re either reminding me about something, telling me what to do, or lecturing me. Can’t we just hang out? I love when we go out for breakfast or lunch, watch a movie together or cook together in the kitchen. Stop trying SO hard to raise me right (you’re actually doing okay). Just have a little fun with me. 

#4 Please Listen to Me, Even if You Disagree

If you want me to act like an adult, you have to treat me like one. Don’t shut me down when I try to voice my opinion, even if you disagree. How else am I supposed to learn how to stand my ground or handle conflict calmly and respectfully if you don’t teach me?

#5 I Know You Worry, But Your Long Lectures Don’t Help

I know you don’t want to hear this, but I’ve heard most of your lectures before. You’re not teaching me anything new and it just frustrates me. 

#6 I Need You

I pretend I don’t, but I do. I need to know you trust me, value me and love me. And, I really do want to spend time with you. I’m just picky about when. So, the next time I’m in the mood to talk, I’d really love it if we could just talk a while. 

#7 When You Freak Out it Makes Me Think Twice Before Telling You Anything Else

I want to come to you. I want to tell you things – the good and the bad. But not if you’re going to freak out every time I tell you something you disagree with or that worries you. I’d come to you so much more if you (at least) tried to stay calm and just listen. 

#8 Your Rules and Boundaries Don’t Bother Me as Long as They’re Fair

I know you want to protect, guide and teach me. But when I mess up and the consequences are over-the-top it makes me resent you and I want to rebel. 

#9 I Love All the Little Things You Do for Me

I may not always say thank you. Sometimes, it might seem like I don’t even notice. But I do. When you make my favorite dinner, do my laundry, run an errand for me or help me with my homework, it makes me feel loved. 

#10 I Still Look for You in the Bleachers

I know I’m older now, but no matter how old I get, I’ll always look for you in the bleachers, auditorium or stands. Just knowing that you always show up makes me realize that you’ll always be there for me cheering me on no matter what. 

#11 The Older I Get, the More Freedom I Need

I can’t learn to become the adult you want me to be if you’re hovering over me or trying too hard to protect me. I know it’s not easy for you, but I need to be able to make some of my own decisions AND mistakes when it comes to my life.

#12 Sometimes, I Say Things I Regret

I’ll be in a bad mood and I won’t know why. I’ll be rude to you sometimes and I know you don’t deserve it. I don’t always know why I say or do the things that I do. It confuses me as much as it confuses you. I’m sorry.

#13 I’m Going Through a Ton of Changes Right Now… Try Not to Be Too Hard on Me

I’ve grown two inches in the last several months, my feet are getting bigger, my voice is changing and there’s hair now where there wasn’t. I’m trying to figure this all out and adjust to it all. If you could go a little easy on me, that would be great because growing up is really hard.

#14 I Know I Act All Tough, But I’m Really Sensitive

It hurts me when you yell at me. And, it really bothers me when you give me the silent treatment, tell me I’m lazy or that I’m selfish. Just talk to me gently and work with me (not against me), and I’ll learn. When you don’t, it makes me want to build a wall around myself and shut you out.

#15 I Want to Do Things My Way Sometimes

I know it bugs you when I don’t wear a coat. I know you hate it when my room is a mess. But I’m getting older and it really bugs me when you tell me what to do all the time. I’ll clean my room, just give me a chance to do it on my terms. Not yours. 

#16 Fitting In Matters to Me

I know I told you I don’t care and sometimes, I don’t. But most of the time, I don’t want to be different.

When you’re a teenager, fitting in feels good and safe. So when I tell you I want that expensive name-brand hoodie or cool athletic shoes all the kids are wearing, it’s not that I’m entitled. I just want to feel part of the crowd and not so alone. 

#17 Nagging Doesn’t Work

I don’t know how to tell you this, but I tune you out when you nag me. It makes me feel incapable when I’m not. It makes me feel like you don’t trust me when you can. Leave a note on my dresser, send me a text, or tell me once (okay, maybe twice since I’ll probably forget). I WILL get it done. Just don’t nag, pleeeeassse. 

#18 No, You’re Not Cool… But I Love You Just the Way You Are

You’re not the coolest parent on the block, but that’s okay. I don’t need you to be. I don’t always say it. I don’t always show it. But I really do love you. I have a lot of growing up to do physically and emotionally. If you can just keep loving me every step of the way, I promise I’ll come around. Just give me a little time to grow up. 

If you enjoyed reading, “18 Things Your Teen Isn’t Telling You,” you might want to check out these other posts!

25 Things Your Teen Son Probably Isn’t Telling You

21 Cheat Codes for Parenting Teenagers – Because This Level is Really Hard

21 Cheat Codes for Parenting Teenagers – Because This Level is Really Hard

What are some things you believe your teen isn’t telling you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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1 comment

Sandy Magoon January 1, 2023 - 9:10 pm

Think I will try this


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