[Video] What Teens Want You to Know

We did a feature on KATU Channel 2 News for Portland OR, check out the video and article below:

By Shellie Bailey-Shah, KATU Problem Solver Published: Feb 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM PST Last Updated: Feb 20, 2012 at 4:52 PM PST

Do you ever wonder what your teenager is thinking behind those rolling eyes?

KATU Problem Solver Shellie Bailey-Shah sat down with three teenage girls for a frank discussion about what they wish their parents knew.

The teens write for the website www.radicalparenting.com. It’s an advice website for parents, written largely by kids, ages 10 to 19.

Teens Seek Risk

“You feel good when you do something that’s risky,” admits Claire Aubin, a high school senior.

In fact, researchers at the University of Texas have found that the teen brain is actually wired to take more risks. So parents should try to encourage risk-taking in a positive way.

“Like it’s probably better to go whitewater rafting with your family than drift your car,” laughs Aubin.

Give Support Not Solutions

Teens want parental support, but they don’t want parents solving their problems.

“Ask us questions that will help us arrive at our conclusion rather than forcing us into what you think we should do,” offers Stacey Abrams, a high school senior.

Don’t Hover

Teens say “helicopter” parents who hover over their children are actually communicating that they don’t trust their teenagers.

“You have to allow your child to make mistakes for themselves,” warns Aubin, “because if they can’t do that, they’re going to be making mistakes as soon as you’re gone, and there are going to be a lot of them, and they’re going to be bad.”

Don’t Minimize Social Rejection

“For a teen, being accepted by your peers is a lot of how they identify themselves as a person,” explains Abrams, “so when you don’t experience that acceptance, then it definitely hurts.”

Research from the University of California at Los Angeles reveals that the teen brain registers social rejection as actual bodily injury or pain. So getting along with friends is a big deal for teenagers.

Don’t Compare to Your Experience

While it’s true that every parent was once a teenager, teens want parents to understand that times are different and so are the ways they express themselves.

“We have grown up with technology, so it’s not really an option,” says Ruby Lambie, a high school senior. “It’s necessary for us to communicate with other teens.”

Parents should keep in mind that teen communication is now more instant and sometimes more complicated.

Teens Do Care

Vanessa Van Petten, the founder of www.radicalparenting.com, asks all her teenage writers this question: what’s your biggest worry in life?

The answer for 90% of them was pleasing their parents. So teens really do care… eye rolling and all!

If you’d like more gender-specific advice on how to communicate with your teens, click here to see a web-exclusive interview with Vanessa Van Petten:

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