During teenage years, children often experience a wide variety of complex emotions and situations. When puberty hits, it’s especially common for teenagers to retreat within themselves or reach out to friends instead of disclosing their problems with their parents. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t trust their parents.
It is simply the most natural response for them trying to assert their own independence. If you are a concerned parent that is unaware of what your teenager is truly experiencing, you’re not alone. Here are five common experiences teenage children go through—and don’t tell you.
Their Love Life
Due to their raging hormones, teenagers usually experience a range of emotions that eventually point them in the direction of romance. They could be infatuated with a classmate, experiencing unrequited love from afar, or frequently dating people from school. In any case, they are prone to developing strong feelings and attraction to others, and they’ll be wanting tons of attention.
This is an age at which they believe they need romantic love in order to be complete. They might want to be in a relationship in order to fit in with everyone else at school, too.Regardless, their naivety will cause them to be vulnerable to heartbreak. One week they are deeply in love; the next week they may swear off relationships altogether. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster, sometimes.
Social Interaction and Bullies
Your teen might actually have a hard time opening up to people. They could be painfully shy or very insecure about a physical or intellectual trait.
In school especially, teens are often tormented for being too passionate about learning. They get teased for being overweight or scrawny. They could simply have a childhood nemesis—although that is increasingly uncommon.
Teenagers, for the most part, socialize well by the time they reach high school. However, there is always a select few who don’t quite fit in. If they don’t invite friends over your house and they don’t talk about classmates, that might be an indication that they don’t have their own social circle.
Their Grades Are Struggling
Most kids don’t like to admit that they don’t understand something. This could not be truer for teenagers. Several weeks can occur before you even find out about your child’s grades, unless you directly seek them out on a regular basis.
Also, teachers generally don’t have the time to call home about concerns with a student’s grades. That means busy parents like you will have to find out for yourselves.
If you never see your child doing homework and they don’t talk about school, this might be a red flag. They will be fearful to share this information, since it’s a big disappointment that could result in severe consequences. Proceed with sensitivity, especially for teens that are genuinely struggling in this area.
They Crave Privacy and Independence
A lot of teenagers see themselves as cooler than their parents. But beyond likable status, teens are actually forming a solid framework for who they are. They may not want you to see the rough patches they experience in this process.
Oftentimes, they’d rather you see a finished product of a polished individual. They want to make the right choices so you can be proud of them.
They desire a chance to be free from your rules and influence. Simply put, they want to handle their business their way, not yours. If they pull away from you for a period of time, this might be why.
They Are Having an Identity Crisis
There’s a high possibility that your teenager’s biggest struggle is the act of establishing who they are. You might see them go through different phases as a teen: the emo, the jock, the nerd, the cheerleader. They could dress in all black one year, then dress preppy another year.
A lot of influence happens through their friend groups. You’ll most likely see them act differently, too. They could go through a period of time when they question everything: their sexuality or gender, their future career path, their morals and ethical values, and other major identifiers.
If you don’t approve of their choices, or if you refrain from giving them the right to change their mind, then they may not want to include you in their world at all.
There’s no doubt about it—teenagers are complicated. They encounter physical changes to their bodies, social changes amongst their peer groups, and they are expected to balance school work with a series of challenges that contribute to their overall wellbeing.
Although the common way for them to cope is to share their lives with anyone but their parents, it’s not an action meant to intentionally hurt or disregard parents.
In fact, they are only trying to figure out who they are by making their own decisions independently. However, like all children who are still developing, your teenager will need consistent love and support, despite their lack of verbal communication.
Take the cues explained above, and consider alternative methods to communicating if need be. Your teen may not speak about their problems, but that does not erase them. Establishing trust and providing endless support will always be your greatest foundation to a healthy relationship with your teenager—a foundation that will impact them for the rest of their life.