A Message To Parents, From Your Teenager

 In Parent Sanctuary

My brilliant friend and mentor, Diana Sterling, conducted a research project many years ago, searching for an answer to the age old question, “What do teenagers need from the adults in their lives?” Hundreds of teens were interviewed and their answers were recorded so that Diana could look for common themes to emerge. She was able to group the responses into seven categories and the results were incredibly simple, yet absolutely life changing.

It turns out, teens want what we all want – to be respected, listened to, appreciated, and given the chance to grow into independent adults. I think that parents tend to forget that. We get busy with our own lives…maybe we don’t like our jobs, maybe our marriage isn’t what it used to be, or financial problems are overwhelming us. Whatever our issues, we need to prioritize our parent/teen relationship.

Sometimes we have a hard time remembering what it’s like to be a teen, struggling for independence, yet not quite confident enough to venture out into the world alone. The challenges they face in today’s world are light years more serious and life threatening than when I was a teen. I think a lot of us don’t give teens enough credit for waking up each morning, knowing what they will face throughout the day.

I ask you to read the following poem with an open mind and an open heart. The teens who were brave enough to pour out their hearts to Diana had this to say to the adults in their lives. Hopefully, it will give you something to think about the next time you are frustrated with your teen – they really aren’t asking for much!!!

A Message To Parents:

     If you RESPECT me, I will hear you.

     If you LISTEN to me, I will feel understood.

     If you UNDERSTAND me, I will feel appreciated.

     If you APPRECIATE me, I will know your support.

     If you SUPPORT me as I try new things, I will become responsible.

     When I am RESPONSIBLE, I will grow to be independent.

     In my INDEPENDENCE, I will respect you and love you all of my life,

Thank you, Your Teenager


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