Communication, or the lack of it, is one of the major issues confronting parents and their teenagers. Many parents aren't aware of their teenagers' hopes, dreams, aspirations, desires, problems or issues. Somehow we never get around to sitting down and discussing these things as a family.
On the other hand, teenagers rarely stop to think about their parents' love, dedication, goals, ambition or responsibility for them. They don't think about the decisions parents make on their behalf and how these decisions, in turn, affect their teens.
I asked some teenagers to write a paper that could be titled “What I Expect From My Parents.” The results were revealing, to say the least.
I think we can all learn from them. They can help us in our family relations. They can help us bridge the proverbial generation gap.
Following are excerpts from several of the teens' essays:
Essay not easy
Writing an essay on “what I expect from my parents” isn't easy, but I'll try.
First, I don't expect my parents to be perfect, but I do expect them to do their best.
One thing that I expect is for my parents to give me the advice that I need when I do and don't want and need it.
Communication is another thing I think parents and their teens should be able to do. If not too well, then they should try to improve it. I think if you talk about your problems, it will help to find the answer and is also a good learning experience-most of the time.
Another thing I expect but don't like is discipline. If all the parents would discipline their teens, the world would be a much better place. Most drug abusers, teen pregnancies and runaways are caused by bad homes, parents always being away and no discipline.
I also feel that families should do things together. Some time should be spent with friends, but there should be a lot of togetherness in the family. Talking about friends: I expect my parents to treat my friends as if they are their friends too.
I know my parents aren't perfect, and I love them the way they are. They don't have to have all those things down pat, but I would like them to try.
Teenagers didn't realize
When I started this project, I didn't realize all of the things teens demand or expect from their parents. There are a lot of things I never really thought about before.
I expect my parents to love and take care of me. Things such as nurse me when I am ill and give me a home I can feel loved in. Many teens don't have a home that they can really feel loved in. When I say “loved in,” I mean things that involve a family.
Having family discussions can really help you with problems at school or home or to just sit down and talk about things. It helps you to get to know your parents even better.
I expect my parents to teach me all about the right way of life, so I can grow up knowing about right and wrong.
I expect my parents to let me have privileges and let me make some of my own decisions in regard to privileges. I expect them to tell me if I am wrong in a decision so I won't do it again.
I also expect my parents to have fun with me, whether it be hiking, playing cards or just a game of catch or going to see a movie. It doesn't matter what we do as long as we have fun.
Teenagers aren't unreasonable
It's really hard for me to write about the things I expect from my parents, because I have never really thought about it before. I suppose most kids don't stop to think about their expectations for their parents, and if they do they never tell their parents what these expectations are. I know I never have, so I am really glad to have this opportunity to tell them.
I want my parents to respect me as a person and also respect my privacy. I expect them to be honest with me always. And, more important than all the things I have mentioned above, I expect my parents to love me. It would be nice if they told me so every once in a while.
I really hope I am not expecting too much from my parents; I don't want to be unreasonable or over-demanding. I realize that because of today's economic problems it's really hard for parents to provide for their children. So we (teens) have to be understanding and patient. We have to realize that they are trying to provide for our needs, and I honestly believe my parents are doing their best to provide me with all of the things I have mentioned above, which makes me feel great.
Parents are the greatest
There are a lot of things I expect from my parents, but there are also things my parents expect from me.
First of all, I think my parents are the greatest, and they do many things which I take for granted.
Just about all my expectations my parents fulfill. They are always there when I need them. There may be times when we have communication problems, but they are always worked out.
My parents always seem to know what is good for me, even though I may not think so.
I expect my parents to let me do things on my own. I think sometimes it might be hard for them, because they have to judge things to see if they are right or wrong for me.
Parents should take responsibility seriously
First off, I would expect my parents to take the responsibility of being a parent very seriously and to use that ability wisely.
Second, I expect my parents to be exceptionally good parents and for them to give me the same respect that they expect from me.
Also, I expect them to be there especially when I need them. I mean, I know lots of kids whose parents work 9-to-5 schedules and they are never there to say, “Did you have a good day?” People wonder why teenage crime is up. It is because they are left out in the dark when the going gets tough.
I am glad to have my parents, and if it weren't for them, well, I wouldn't be here. So all I have to say is that I love my parents, and all I expect is for them to love me and just be themselves. Good parents.
I am not anybody else
First of all, I expect my parents to be there to help me through all my problems.
I also expect my parents to believe in me just as I believe in them.
Next, I expect them to love me. I really love my parents, and I really expect them to love me. But I also expect them to discipline me because that shows me they really love me.
Next is to let me grow up. Sometimes I get confused because you do everything for me, then you expect too much.
Also, let me experience some things for myself, because if I don't sometimes I don't learn my lessons the first time.
The next thing is, let me be me. I am not anybody else, even my brothers and my sisters. I can't be anybody else.
Support in time of need
One thing I expect from my parent is support, the kind of support that gives me the food I eat and the clothes I wear. Then there is the other kind of support I expect, the kind of support and backing up that gets me through life and most of all through my various problems. I expect understanding when I need it and that word of advice that gets me through the day.
The thing I expect most is love, the love and attention I need. Next to love, the thing I expect most is trust. Trust is of great importance. If you don't have trust, you don't have much.
I expect privileges such as spending the night at a friend's house and going to a shopping mall with a friend. You need trust to do these things. If I didn't have trust, I couldn't be relied on and wouldn't have as many privileges. I expect me to have trust in my parents as I expect them to have trust in me.
I also expect respect. I expect them to give me as much respect as I give them.
First, let's start with the things all kids expect. I am talking about things like love, your parents being there when you need them, and directing you in the way to go. All kids expect their parents to be there when something exciting or sad happens. But not all kids' parents are there when they need them.
Sometimes the parents are too busy with work or something. Yet other times it's a split or divorce in the family that causes that parent not to be there. I fortunately feel that my parents have always been there for me to ask questions and tell of all my achievements.
My parents directing me in the way I should go and setting a good example have also helped me in growing up.
I expect some respect from them just as I am sure they want the same out of me. I don't want them always calling me stupid or dumb (which they don't). I want them to accept me for who I am, no matter if I am good in sports or in school or not. I expect my parents to plan things as a family and to enjoy doing things as a family. Some of the funnest times are when our family only goes skating or hydrotubing.
The last thing I expect from my parents is a little freedom. I mean freedom to make some of my own choices. I also mean freedom to go places with my friends or by myself sometimes. Along with freedom goes trust. I want my parents to trust my choices and trust me to choose the right friends. I feel trust is what I expect most out of my parents.
Love more important than food
One of the most important things is food. There are lots of times when I feel hungry and they or myself fix something to eat.
Another important basic thing is love, which is just a little more important than food! Seriously, I expect my parents to love their kids so that they draw close and closer together. Some families in the world consist of hate, so lots run away from home and never return.
Another really important basic thing is that I expect them, my parents, to always be there when I need them. Sometimes, when I am troubled or in trouble, I can always depend on them to help pull me through.
I expect my parents to do themselves what they teach me to do. A small example would be like if my parents told me to say “please” and “thank you,” then they should say it also.
Make me behave
I expect my parents to give me love and support. Because once in a while kids get to a point where they think that nobody loves them. But you can always turn to Mom and Dad for love.
I also expect my parents to make me behave and to do things right. When you get older, you are going to have a lot of responsibilities, and if your parents bring you up to be a responsible person you won't have any problems out in the world.
I don't expect much
I really don't expect a lot from my parents. Of course, I expect things like a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. My mom does a pretty good job at that.
I expect some money every now and then and some time of my own and time to spend with my friends. You could probably call that privacy. I also expect a thank-you or maybe a little word of encouragement every now and then.
But I also expect understanding and trust. My mom probably needs a little brush-up on those two categories.
I also expect a little religious help, maybe a little Bible study now and then. And, most of all, going to services on the Sabbath. But not too much to where it gets a little too much in this area.
Probably most of all love. I know my mom gives me a lot, but sometimes I wonder. I guess that is the typical parent for you.
Even though I only live with one of my parents, I don't feel deprived because I never really knew what it was like to live with two parents. I guess you could say that I get what I need. But I really don't expect much.
Needs someone to talk to
Sometimes when you feel bad and you need someone to talk to, your parents should be there. But, if you want help for your problems, you have to open up and tell them just what it is.
You may not like their solution, but you have to realize it is in your best interest and they care for you.
Parents need to teach their kids all the valuable things they have learned in the short time their kids are around.
Parents, don't yell
I expect love and compassion from them when I do something wrong. I expect a chance to do things that I have never done before and a choice on things that I have to do. I expect them to have fun with me, as well as for me to have fun with them.
I expect them to be able to talk sensibly and not to yell if you do something wrong. I expect them to believe what I say and not to doubt me. I expect them to help me when I have a problem that I can't solve.
I expect parents to correct, even though we don't care for it. I expect my parents to correct me when I have done something wrong.
Parents should help us work out problems when they can and not tell us to ask later or act like they are listening but really are more interested in the TV or the newspaper. They should try to be there when we need them. But also let us have our privacy when we need it.
The main thing I expect parents to do is love their kids and to show they do.
Parents, set an example
I expect parents to set the example for us. If they do not set the example, we have no role model and no one to look up to to try to be like, not that we want to be exactly like our parents. We as teens feel the need to look up to someone, if not a parent then an older brother, sister or peer.
Parents need to be the teachers. They need to show us what is right or wrong. Parents should set down laws.
But responsibility is important too. I think they should let us make some of our own decisions, even if they think they are bad ones, provided they are not dangerous or harmful to us or anyone else. When we learn the hard way, we learn the most and it sticks with us longer. I think parents should give us a chance to prove ourselves, to make our own decisions and learn what life is all about.
When parents constantly put their children down, they learn to be shy. If parents give their children praise and approval, they learn to appreciate and like themselves. This poses another expectation: self-esteem. Parents should be encouraging and uplifting.
Parents should do what they tell us to do. If they tell us not to fight, yet they fight all the time, how are we supposed to feel about fighting? If they can do it, why can't I, right?
Wrong. No one should fight. That is a problem that needs to be worked out.
Parents need to be honest. There are some things that parents keep from us that are okay. We should know about things that affect us and our family. If we are all honest with one another, it makes it easier to deal with life and its many problems.
Parents should be there when we need them. They should offer help, listen and try to understand some of our problems.
Teens expect honesty
I think that the most important thing I expect out of my parents is honesty. I think that all parents should be honest with their children. That goes vice versa too. When I ask my parents for their opinion, I expect them to give me an honest opinion of what they think.
I think that love goes hand in hand with honesty. It really makes me feel sad when I see parents that don't love their children. They don't care what their children do or what kind of trouble they get into.
My parents seem to be really concerned about what I do and the people I go around with. Sometimes I am really happy about that.
Correction is another thing I expect my parents to do. Everybody needs correction at some time or another, no matter what the age. Most kids today don't get the correction that they need; they don't get along with life either, because of that. My parents have corrected me, and I am really glad that I learned when I was little that just because things don't go my way that doesn't mean that you get mad and throw a tantrum about it.
My parents are honest with me. They do correct me, and there is no question in my mind about whether they love me or not. I know they do.