Having children is one of the most rewarding, and yet one of the most challenging and demanding, things we can do with our lives. When there are toddlers or teenagers around, both seeking independence in different ways, it can feel like there is a lot of conflict and misunderstanding between us and our children. Can parents of teenagers really know what’s going on for them, or what it’s like to be a teenager today?
I asked some teenagers, from a variety of family backgrounds, 2 questions and these are their responses.
What’s it like being a teenager in 2015?
It’s confusing – sometimes people treat me like I’m a child and sometimes they expect me to behave like an adult. But I don’t feel like a child and I don’t feel like an adult – I don’t know what I am.
There’s always a secret to keep.
There’s always pressure to do really well in exams, and that being the only way you can go.
It feels like I’m never good enough.
No-one takes me seriously.
I feel different.
Everyone expects you to be grumpy because you’re a teenager.
Some people can be quite patronising.
If you do something good in the community people think you’re being paid or forced to do it – not that you are just being kind.
It’s better than it was in the olden days because we have more technology.
There’s always a fear of missing out on what’s happening – that’s why we need to keep checking social media – to make sure we don’t miss anything.
I struggle with comparison.
What do you as a teenager need from your parents?
Money, food and shelter. (Most frequent answer)
To listen to me. My mum never listens – she makes her mind up about something before I’ve said anything.
I want them to back off sometimes but still be there if I need them.
I need them to care but not interfere.
They need to lighten up a bit.
Let me be me.
To trust me.
To accept what I want to choose to do.
I need them to talk to if things go wrong.
I just want them to stop arguing and get on better with each other.
You can see more about the activities we offer for young people here.