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MyTutor for Parents

5 things teens wish their parents knew about them

·// October 18, 2021

It can feel like you have to be a mind-reader to know how your teen is really getting on. Maybe you’ve tried the familiar prodding questions: ‘How was school today?’ and ‘How are you?’, hoping for a brief glimpse into their world. You might get answers that don’t say an awful lot–answers like, ‘I’m OK. Things are fine.’ 
You want to be there for your teen, but it’s tough to know how when they say so little. We surveyed 500 students across the MyTutor community, and asked them, What do you wish your parents knew about you? We got some insightful responses, and have picked 5 top answers to share with you. Let’s dive in.

I wish my parents knew that…

1. ‘I’m a teenager’

This might at first glance seem obvious– you know that your teen is a teen. But what does that mean to them? In our survey, teens overwhelmingly answered that they craved more independence. They want more of a say on how they spend their free time. One teen told us, ‘School is important. But I like being out, too.’ Social life came up often when teens reflected on what’s top of their priority lists. Spending time with friends means feeling part of a community. That sense of belonging helps boost their mental wellbeing while also satisfying their desire for fun. One teen mentioned how her parents don’t always understand what fun looks like. ‘I get bored very easily, but chores don’t eliminate boredom.”  If you’re unsure how much independence to give your teen, try having a conversation with them about it and experiment by giving them some more freedom in their routine.

2. ‘I’m trying my best’

Quite a few teens in our survey told us that they feel under pressure. Pressure from school, from peers, and… pressure from their parents. ‘There’s a lot going on,’ a teen told us. ‘I wish my parents were more patient when it comes to my grades.’ As a parent, you know what it’s like when you’re trying your absolute best, only to feel like you’re coming up short. So how do you support your teen when they’re feeling the pressure too, while also giving them space to find their own way? One teen told us, ‘To start, it would be good if my parents let me talk, and just listened.’

3. ‘It’s hard to find motivation to study sometimes’

These days, there are a lot of ways to procrastinate. Your teen might have the best intentions to start homework. Everything is laid out, ready to go… meanwhile, half an hour has passed, and they’re still on TikTok. ‘Studying is hard,’ as one teen told us. ‘That’s one of the reasons why I procrastinate.’ In our survey, teens listed a few things which help them feel more motivated. Fun lessons, a mentor who empowers them, and homework which gives them chances to be creative, were all mentioned as motivators when it comes to their studies.  

4. ‘I am not them’

Many of our surveyed teens want their parents to know that being a teenager now is very different than it was in their parents’ days. ‘It isn’t really fair to make the comparison,’ one teen said. A few admitted that it felt like they were letting their parents down when they were being compared to what their mum and dad were like at their age. Even worse, was being compared to their siblings. ‘I’m my own person,’ as one teen put it. Most teens in our survey understood why their parents fussed over them. ‘Although I am clumsy and a bit silly sometimes, I’m going to be OK. They don’t need to panic about me.’ You will always worry about your teen. But it can help to know how they are ready to take chances, and are eager to begin finding their own way. 

5. ‘I worry about them too’

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It might seem like teenagers are living in their own bubble with the world revolving around their social lives, but they actually worry about you too. In fact, over 76% of our teens said they worry about their parents. ‘Mum works very hard for our future, and I wish she could relax a bit more,’ a teen told us.      

We know how much you care about your teen, and that you just want to better understand where they’re coming from. It can be a prickly stage in life, those angsty teenage years, and at times it can feel like they’re shutting you out. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to let you in, or that you aren’t a VIP to them. As one of our teens said, ‘I want my parents to know that I love them, and I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me, even if I don’t always say it.’ 

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