Seven Things We Teens Desperately Want Adults to Understand

You can't even imagine what it's like to be a teenager. I know you don't understand me, that's why I need you to know some things about me ...
Seven Things We Teens Desperately Want Adults to Understand
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

“Grumpy, complicated, unpredictable, immature, rebellious, disobedient, dissatisfied…”. You can describe me in many ways. However, if it’s a challenge for you to live with me or even understand me, it’s even more difficult for me, I promise you. It’s for this reason that I need to tell you that there are certain things that we teens need adults to understand.

I’m well aware that you’ve no idea what it means to live in a body and mind like mine. Indeed, it’s clear that you don’t remember being a teenager yourself. However, even if you did remember, there are many things that just aren’t the same anymore. Because my present isn’t like your past. The world of now has another rhythm and completely different mechanisms that, although you think can be compared with your time, just can’t.

You often tell me that I don’t know what life’s all about and that I’ll discover what it means when I become an adult. However, do you really think being a teenager is easy? Do you think that being my age means living in blissful ignorance and permanent happiness? If so, you need to understand a few things.

“You don’t have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for everyone.”

-John Ciardi-

girl looking at mobile representing what teenagers need adults to understand

Things teens need adults to understand

There are some words that I hear a hundred times a day and that every day become more suffocating. They’re the words “You have to.” In fact, everybody gives me orders, but nobody ever stops to ask me what I want. If asked, I’d instantly reply “I want to be invisible.” Yes, I’d like to blot myself out so that no one would see me, and then I wouldn’t have to suffer so much.

Because lately, everything hurts me and I get so tired of everything. Tired of discovering that getting older isn’t what I thought it would be when I was a child. Before, I laughed about everything, now I cry about nothing. I’m tired of the indifference of my teachers. They hurt me, they only give me tasks that I don’t like, that don’t interest or motivate me. My classmates hurt me as well.

You need to understand that college is like a jungle where only a few survive. Therefore, if I come home angry and lock myself in my room, it isn’t because I’m rude. Going every day to a place where you don’t know if today you’ll be left alone or you’ll be ridiculed hurts. In fact, if I could have anything right now it’d be Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility.

On the other hand, I do understand. I know I’m lazy and I live in a messy room, but my room is my world. My untidiness keeps me balanced. My room’s my refuge where I can escape with my video games, Netflix, and my music so that life doesn’t hurt so much. Therefore, I need you to know some things, some of the realities in my life that might help you understand me if you want to…

1. I need space; I’m not really running away from you, I’m looking for myself

Stop moaning at me for spending the day in my room with the door closed. Don’t yell at me, don’t threaten to take my wifi away if I don’t go out. Talk to me normally and I’ll make you understand that I simply need my space. I just need a corner where I can think, rest, and rearrange my thoughts in peace…

2. Talk to me without arguing

I’m tired of arguing. In fact, sometimes, all I hear from you are orders, shouts, and threats. Try to be patient with me and try to talk normally. If you want, let’s go to a place away from home, away from our normal environment.

Talk to me about whatever you want. Talk to me like a normal person and you’ll see I’ll react much better.

3. Don’t judge me, don’t make me think that I’m a real disappointment

Sometimes, even if you don’t say it out loud, it shows in your expression. It seems the only thing I do in life is disappoint you. However, you’re judging me without knowing me. You tell me that I’m lazy when in fact I’m feeling devastated by things that I can’t even explain. In fact, I’m hurting inside most of the time and the last thing I need is for you to tell me that if I carry on the way I’m going, I won’t get anywhere in life.

Don’t increase my suffering, be patient with me.

4. Don’t do things for me, don’t spoil me, give me opportunities

I know you want the best for me, but if you don’t give me any opportunities, I won’t know what I’m capable of. Give me independence so I can be proud of myself and show you what I’m capable of doing. Don’t spoil me. If you do, you’ll just feed my unhappiness.

5. Restrict my internet and mobile use, remind me that there’s life beyond the screens

If you try to restrict my use of my mobile phone or take away my tablet or computer, I’ll hate you. I’ll scream at you that I can’t live without being connected. However, I really need your help to understand that there’s life beyond the screens.

You may not have realized it, but my addiction to the Internet means that I’m only aware of what happens in that universe. In fact, every day it makes me feel more stressed, more anguished, and more exhausted. Therefore, you really should ignore my protests and stop me from using it so much.

Mother talking to her son representing what teens need.

6. I need specialized help

Sometimes, although I know you want the best for me, your support alone isn’t enough. In fact, there are times when I might need to talk to a professional. Don’t just leave me alone because, even if I don’t tell you directly that I need help, I often feel so lost and only a psychologist can guide me at those times.

7. Don’t give up on me, tell me you love me, because even if you might not believe it, I need you

I know I drive you crazy. There are also days when I’ve had enought and all I want to do is leave home. However, I do need you, so please don’t give up on me

Remind me that you love me, tell me even if you don’t think I deserve it because I’m always angry with the world. Tell me that you’ll always be there for me, in every moment and situation. Don’t give up on me because, even if I never tell you, I love you too.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.