10 Things Kids Wish Their Parents Do

1) Please talk to us about things that aren’t school related.

I am defined by more than my GPA, how I did on my math test and whether or not the recess aid likes me. parents-need-to-know-this.jpg Obviously, you know that, but sometimes out of habit you only talk to your kids about school stuff.

2) Find out about colleges besides the top twenty and jobs besides doctor, lawyer, accountant.

I have an idea, lets not constantly ask Juniors and Seniors in High School whether or not they are considering Brown or Harvard. There is so much pressure to get into these schools and parents seem to pick the careers and schools that are literally the hardest to get into. We like to think we are different. If you know our unique interests help us think of other careers and schools that are not so typical.

*I title this picture: “Please don’t ever tell my friends you go to the Renaissance Fair”

3) Ask us what we think is fun (this actually changes over the years)

I love you mom and dad! My parents still get me I Love Lucy things. I loved loved loved I Love Lucy when I was 11. My tastes have changed (thank goodness) I have moved on from Hanson and Backstreet Boys (THANK GOODNESS). Our tastes change quickly and I know that my parents get my I Love Lucy calendars because they remember the sweet (annoying) little girl who tried to dye her hair red and actually asked for vitameetavegimin in the pharmacy, but come on, now I am seriously into Project Runway…do they have a calendar for that?

4) Don’t say ‘we want you to do your best’ and then ask why we got a B on our test.

If you really just want us to do our best, act really excited with anything higher than a C+, or anything we seem really excited about.

5) Please just listen, problem solve later

We never think we need help, so when we vent, even though you are the guru of all parenting and can solve all of our high school problems because you have been there, done that–don’t try to help us until we ask.

6) If you think we are a good kid with a good head on our shoulders, then give us a chance to show it, back off a little and watch what happens!

How can we a puppy show you he won’t run away if you never let him off the leash! Ok, horrible example, but you get it.

7) Give us time to unwind before asking us about our day

Some kids like to get a snack to unwind, some watch TV, some brood silently, some fight with siblings, whatever your kid’s habit is to unwind from a day at school, let them do it and then try talking about things that are non-school related.

8) Please have interests and hobbies other than US

Self-explanatory…ok not really I have to add a comment. You are cool too! Go out there, make us prepare dinner on our own a few times a month and join a bowling club or book group, anything really, it makes you calm and gives us a chance to have friends over without your permission (just kidding…but really go get some hobbies).

9) We semi-like sitting down to dinner and hearing about your day

Even though it looks like we are not listening, we usually are and secretly like family dinners.

10) Be willing to be our scapegoat

Anything uncool/lame/weird I do I usually blame on my parents. Please just be ok with this. If someone makes fun of an outfit I bought, then I tell them my mom bought it (sorry mom). When I didn’t want to do pot, I told people my parents were crazy and drug tested me (they didn’t really but it got people off my back). This works for both of our benefit and usually can keep us out of trouble, so just be willing to take the blame with our friends.

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15 Responses to “10 Things Kids Wish Their Parents Do”

  1. Katy
    March 11, 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    I like #8!
    I’m just starting to have a life, my kids told me I should.

  2. Debra
    March 14, 2008 at 7:59 am #

    Loved the tips Vanessa, I work with teen girls and I wrote the book My feet Aren’t Ugly, A girl’s guide to loving herself from the inside out. I am always stepping into the reality of the teens, and this really helps me. Thanks for being out there for out teens, Debra

  3. Vanessa
    March 14, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    Debra- Thank you! I will check out your website it sounds great


  4. bill
    March 23, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    We do most of that. Number four, I have a problem with, but the others, I think we’ve got knocked. Well, usually.

    Yeah, I’m a parent. Is it apparent? Apparently.

  5. Andy
    June 5, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    How do get your kid to study when he considers homework and studying uncool?

    In my world of work, the cool guys are the geeks with the high pay and the nice office, while the uncool guys are the ones cleaning the toilets. Yea, they were cool in high school, but not any more. How do you get that across to a seventeen year old?

  6. Vanessa
    June 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    ahhh yes HW being uncool. This we sort of have to figure out ourselves. The best way I can think of (my brother was kind of like this) is to get him someone (another guy) who is in his 20’s and popular/cool with women who values education. If he can see another cool older but still young guy who is popular with women and doing well and likes to study it will help influence him and the guy can teach him lessons you can’t because you are a dad = )


  7. max
    July 31, 2008 at 10:53 pm #

    This article should be labeled, “10 complaints by kids saying, `Get off my back!`” If you read between the lines, they’re stating that they don’t want to be harped on important things that parents are always concerned about. 1. If kid’s really did well in school, parents wouldn’t even bring up the school subject. 2. Parents don’t bring up lawyers, doctors, accountants, unless they are lawyers, doctors, accountants. Most parents just wish that teens had some (any) clue as to what they want to do in life. 3. Parents don’t have to ask what is fun for kid’s/teens. If they were passionate about anything, parents would know. 4. School is not hard, and they don’t even grade on a curve. Parents know best whether the child tries their best or is not. Playing Nintendo the night before a test is not trying your best. 5. Another, Get off my back! attitude. Really? Who wants to hear venting from anyone, especially from someone who’s saying, “I don’t want your help!” 6. “Yeah, yeah, Back off and let me make my own mistakes.” In reality teens don’t listen to parents anyways and will do that anyways. 7. Coming home at 6:00 at night (or later) wasn’t long enough for teen’s to unwind, give me a break! 8. Trust me, parent’s want nothing more than to do something else. 9. As long as parents back off at the dinner table, kid’s are cool. (I can agree on this one, though) 10. Scapegoat! Are you serious!
    The younger generations are getting rude, obnoxious, and downright disrespectful, and it’s 100% the parent’s fault. I am all for listening and understanding, but giving kid’s more leeway is just asking them to walk all over you. Balance of love/discipline is only way.

  8. Megan
    January 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    With all due respect, this is why I disagree with your comment.
    1.Kids who do well in school still hear all about school. As a magnet student, my teachers, on level peers, and new acquaintances , define me by that, it’s hard to have my parents do the same.
    2. Most teens do have a clue. Their ideas just aren’t what their parents want to hear.
    3. Hate to break it to you, but your kid doesn’t tell you everything they like. Later in your comment, you make a reference to video games. See if your child is interested in doing something like that for a living (bonus for 2) or even wants to do it as a hobby now. There may be a club or class in the area for teens on video game design that he/she doesn’t know of, or is too embarrassed to ask about because it’s nerdy. Also, just because a kid likes something doesn’t mean it’s a passion. There is a major distinction.
    4.Some teachers do grade on a curve. Have you asked your kids? Also, schools have gotten more competitive since college has become a bigger and bigger deal. Scholarships are hard to come by, especially with the economy as it is these days. How do you know if your child is trying their best? And you “just can” is as bad of an answer coming from an adult as it is a teen. As for video games the night before a test, I can’t say I have any comments about that. In magnet the sheer idea of video games before a test is preposterous.
    5. Do you want to hear about your kids problems or not? Anyway, believe it or not, teens can figure some things on their own. If they truly sink, they will seek help.
    6. Do you realize that the main source in a parent-child relationships is lack of trust of the parent from the child and of the child from the parent? Apparently not? (no pun intended)
    7. I can’t make a comment on this one, because I have no idea what your kids are doing, but I get home at 6 from cross country or track practice. I need a hot shower to physically and mentally unwind before dealing with anything or anyone.
    8. Then why don’t you do us all a favor and do it? Your online long enough to make a comment to rebuttal this entire article, so you obviously have enough time to perhaps read a chapter in a book, start a puzzle, work on a model, whatever it is you like to do.
    9. Oh good, we agree on something. I think you might enjoy how we do dinners at my house, though, so I am going to say something. At our house, if you cook, you don’t clean. In other words, if my mother and father cooked, my brothers and I would clean. If I cook with my oldest brother, my parents and other brother would clean. We all enjoy the meal, so we should all have to work equally for it.
    10. I fail to see your issue with this one, so there’s not much I can say.
    I agree that a big portion of kids attitudes is the parents fault, but I can’t say all because peers do effect some (oh goody), and you do have to give leeway, but I think we define the words in two different ways.

    Anyway, thanks for the article, Vanessa, I loved it, and couldn’t agree more. I’m working on a project on helping adults to understand teens and it has given me some great ideas to share.

  9. Vanessa Van Petten
    January 5, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    Thank you Megan!


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