Having the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of high-school teens gives me plenty of opportunities to hear about the joys and disasters of being a teen. And more often than not, both the ups and downs involve family members. So last night I asked them the following question:
If you could give parents everywhere a piece of advice about parenting teenagers, what would you say?
The answers were candid and thoughtful; here is the synopsis of their responses:
- Don't be my coach. Be my parent. Just be there and tell me I did a good job, but let the coaches do the coaching.
- Communication is really important to avoid hurt feelings.
- Trust us to do the right thing. You raised us right, so let us make decisions.
- Give us space when we ask for it.
- Notice when we do things right, not just when we do things wrong.
- Spend time with us and really listen to what we say.
- Don't embarrass us in front of your friends or tell people stuff about me.
- Take time to understand what is going on in my life so you know what I'm going through.
- Don't always be a parent...sometimes be a friend, because I tell things to friends that I wouldn't tell to my parents.
- Listen to us, because we might say something you hadn't already thought of.