Saturday, January 25, 2014

25 Things Teenagers Won't Tell Their Parents

After spending well over a decade in Student Ministry, I learned a lot about the Parent-Teen relationship.  I discovered that there are a lot of things teenagers think and feel, but don't say and won't say to their parents.  After talking with several teenagers and listening to them share their hearts, I compiled this list of 25 things teenagers won't tell their parents.

1.     I need accountability.

2.   I won’t hesitate to lie if it keeps me out of trouble.

3.  The reason I don’t make great grades in school is because good grades seem to be good enough for you.

4.  When I see my parents acting ‘weak’ or compromising in their convictions, it makes me think I can get away with more.

5.  If I don’t see God as a priority for you (as my parent) during the week, then why should He be a priority for me?  Please do more than tell me how I’m supposed to live and start modeling it for me.

6.  I may be dating someone; even if you’ve explicitly said I can’t.

7.  This may surprise you… but yes, Mom and Dad, I look at porn.

8.  I’m way more ‘open-minded’ to things like homosexuality, abortion, and pre-marital sex than your generation… because media and culture have spent more time training me than you have on these issues.

9.  My parents are way more influential in my life than I would ever let them know or believe.

10.  I know I’m a kid, but I’m probably more stressed out than your average adult.

11.  I really wish my parents would ask me good questions and take the time to listen to my responses.

12.  How I see myself is greatly contingent on how my parents see me.  I wish they’d spend more time telling me the good things about myself.

13.  If I don’t have the freedom to talk to you about my sinful temptations and desires, then I’ll get my guidance from other teenagers that are experiencing the same temptations as I am.

14.  The reason I do things like send sext-messages (snap chat), text and drive, drink or try drugs and/or look at pornography is because I don’t think about the consequences.  I need your help doing that.

15.  When you glorify the sins in your past, it makes me believe I can do the same and end up just fine.

16.  The reason I’m always seemingly avoiding conversation is because I don’t know what to say, or how to say it without it without disappointing you.

17.  I really wish my parents would act, talk, and dress their own age.

18.  I want to be perceived as someone older and more mature than I really am, and when someone treats me like that, I’ll open up to them.

19.  I need help setting boundaries.  (Sexual, Relational, Personal, Moral, etc.)

20.  I hate it when you don’t hold my siblings accountable for their mistakes but you nitpick every little thing I do wrong.

21. After a while, I really do start believing the lyrics to the songs I listen to.

22. You know that stuff you have hidden in the house (alcohol, pills, porn)?  I know it’s there.

23.  You know that friend of mine that you’re suspicious of and don’t trust at all?  …you should really trust that intuition.

24. Even as I make poor choices, your advice and example replay in my head.  Please be consistent in that example because I’m going to grow up to be just like you.

25.  I don’t need more stuff or toys or electronics.  I don’t need another friend.  All I really need is a Mom and Dad.


  1. Thanks for compiling kids are still little but I will think of these as they grow. Sat under your Dad's teaching in Marietta. Thank you!

  2. Speaking as someone who just finished their teenage years, this is entirely true.

  3. Ive got a 16 yr old and an 11 yr old girl.. wow.. these ring so true.. Im feeling so guilty

  4. This is completely true, but as a parent of teenagers and three more to come, how do I handle these. Why are there no parenting tips.

    1. I wrote this as a guide for a Student Ministry Parenting Conference I spoke at recently. I'm working on unpacking these 25 and doing a follow up soon. Thanks for reading!

  5. Hey Jordan. Great list! Mind if I use some of these in a parent newsletter for our youth ministry with a credit and link to the post?

  6. Wow. So, so, so true. Every parent should read.

  7. I'm a teen myself and I have to say these are right on! All parents should know these so they are aware of us! Lol! These are very true!