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What teens worry about.

Posted by on May. 14, 2009 at 4:42 PM
  • 5 Replies

teens-talkingthumbnail.jpg (This is the accompanying post to the previous one about how to talk to teens.)

Teens love to talk: they love to talk online, on aim, on the phone, at school, after-school, at the mall, in the car, behind their friends back–what on earth are they talking about?…and why does sudden lock-jaw occur when parents are within a five foot radius?

I decided to see what the most popular calls were at a hotline called Teenline (where teens call in to get help from other teenagers) So what are the most popular issues? What do teens today really worry about? And why aren’t these issues brought up more with parents, counselors and teachers who can actually give advice and seek help?

1) Relationships
Teens frequently want to talk to other teens about relationships with parents, siblings, friends and teachers. This is a broad topic I know, but interactions, building relationships and friendships are extremely important to teenagers.

2) Abuse
This includes sexual, physical, verbal and neglect as types of abuse. Many teens call in for ‘friends’ or people they know who are being abused to talk about what abuse actually means. Frequently, teens want to know where is the line between parents who are yelling and verbal abuse? What are the laws on spanking children?

3) Sex
Despite the attempts of many school health classes, teens have lots of questions about pregnancy, condoms, abstinence and oral sex.

4) Drugs and Alcohol
Issues with addiction and parties come up for teens when they know of friends who might be dealing or using drugs.

5) Suicide
Unfortunately, a great number of teens think, worry about or know someone who is considering suicide. Many times teens feel isolated and alone and need someone to talk to, but do not know where to turn when they might get in trouble or have to divulge secrets they are not ready to tell.

Surprisingly, Teenline gets an equal number of male and female callers. All kinds of teens today are dealing with these issues, not just girls, not just poor kids, not just rich kids, not just kids in private school…everyone is dealing with these important, and sometimes very serious issues.

For parents, maybe you are wondering—why your teen does not talk to you about these issues. Teens feel uncomfortable talking to adults because they feel they will not understand what is going on for them today, they are afraid they will get in trouble and worry that they will be judged.

Therefore, it is important for adults to be aware that even though teens might not act like drugs or sex is a big deal to them, they do actually worry about these issues.

Be sure to check out the accompanying post to this one “Three Ways Parents Can Get Teens to Talk”, to get your teens to feel comfortable talking to you about these issues.

If you like this article, read our other Radical Parenting Articles.  If you are really inspired, think about taking the Radical Parenting Pledge..are you radical enough?

by on May. 14, 2009 at 4:42 PM
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Replies (1-5):
by on May. 15, 2009 at 12:21 AM

This was interesting, because I thought about all of this while I was a teen, and although it seems like all my son thinks about is video games, I know some of these are a concern to him.

by on May. 15, 2009 at 7:18 AM

Thank you for posting this. As a parent we can never be armed with too much information.

by on May. 15, 2009 at 11:49 AM

It's always nice to have a little bit of insight....:)  Thanks for posting this. 

by on May. 15, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Thank you for the post 

by on May. 15, 2009 at 12:51 PM

I look at it like this, our teens aren't always going to tell us what's going on in their "world".  The more we know the better we can understand them.  It's always tough with the first teen.  I am better prepared now than before.  I still have 2 more to go.

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