A GREAT read for Parents, teachers, counselors… anyone interacting with teens today. The teen experience and how we can support them.  So compelling, if we can take the time to really listen to what our teens are going through.

Q.  If at times your Parents don’t really understand things and what you’re going through, what do you want them to know?
A.  I appreciate how much you care about me and I know that you want to be involved in my life.  I know how to behave and I would like more independence.
A. Please just try to listen and gain perspective instead of lecturing or telling me about how things were for you.  
A.  I’m trying my best to do everything to the best of my abilities… but sometimes I just can’t.
A.  I want you to know that I have bad social anxiety and its effecting my actions and what I do and don’t do.
A.  Sometimes your too strict about little things.  You don’t trust me even though I’ve never given you a reason not to.  Please be more understanding.
A.  Kids may experiment with drugs and alcohol and may become addicted, and you may not know it.
Q.  What is a good way for Parents to respond and/or start a conversation with you AND respond to you?
A.  “Hey… how’s it going?  If you ever need to talk I am here for you.”  If they would talk to me like this…. It makes me feel like they actually want to listen and hear what I have to say.
A.  “Hey, how was your day?  How are you feeling?”
A. “How is ____________ going?”  “How are you feeling about ________?”  “Is there anything I can do to help you with _____________?”
A.  “Did anything happen at school today?”
A.  “I know that you’re a good kid…..” 
A.  Just say “Hi.” When I get home not a whole lot of conversation.  Start that a little later after I’ve had some time to just be home.
A.  “I understand you are a teenager and a lot of things are happening around you right now.”
A.  “How do you feel today?”  “OK… I will get you help so you don’t feel like this anymore.”
Q.  What’s it like to be a teen today?  Describe your teen experience…the good, the bad, what it’s like for you?  
A.  Being a teen today is hard.  But it can also be so much fun.  I’ve found that with all the drugs and alcohol going on around me, it’s a challenge to hold true to my morals and refrain from following the crowd.  And, I imagine that’s how many people my age feel.  But I also feel that being a teen can be fun, new and exciting when you find the right people to surround yourself with. 
A.  It is very hard with all the pressure to do the right thing and to prepare for your future.  It is also very stressful to do things for fun with all the school work we have.  Then there is the extreme social pressure to fit in with everyone.
A.  It’s rough.  People are not as nice or honest as they should.  School is hard.   People just need to be kinder to each other.  
A.  It’s a high-pressure roller coaster.  You can feel on top of the world.  The suddenly feel like you are in the pit.  The added stress of school, sports and extras make it that much harder. 
A.  If we’re involved in a bunch of activities it gets overwhelming and tough.  Sometimes the best way to avoid social pressures and anxiety it to just NOT go to some of the school/social events at all.
A.  Being a teenager today takes the courage to say no to our generations norms (vaping, sexting, drugs).
A.  There is a LOT of peer pressure for all sorts of things (drugs, alcohol, vapes).
A.  Peer pressure.  Very high expectations from everyone, and trying to be “cool”.
A. Being a teen today is awesome!  School, sports, and clubs are all demanding and thinking about my future is stressful, but fun is still fun!  Like when we’re just hanging out with friends, listening to music, going to the movies… just being with our friends J
Q. What do you need that you are not getting from someone, whether it’s your Parents, Peers/Friends, or the Schools/Community?
A.  Sometimes I need to talk to my Parents about things but I feel they won’t understand.  So, I just feel I need to try to be more open and understanding to what I’m going through and what I am sharing with them.
A.  Parents need to be more understanding of what their kids are going through.  I think they need to listen to their kids more and not just lecture and punish them.
A.  I need everyone to understand that is it so hard to be a teenager today and I wish that they would all be more supportive.
A.  What I think I need is for everyone else to be informed about the dangers of smoking, marijuana and vaping.   And, then to act on that knowledge.
A.  I want our schools to educate students about the harm of vape.  A vape assembly with scientific evidence would be effective in middle and high schools.
A.  More leadership advice on college preparation, college life and applications, testing, essays, etc.
A.  I would like to be listened to and for people to actually listen to my problems and then help me to resolve them. 
Q.  What do you think is the biggest teen issue today?  
A.  The biggest issue I believe would have to be the drugs and partying.  Teens fall into it because there is so much pressure but also many parents aren’t disciplining their kids.
A.  I think mental health issues, specifically the fear of failure on many levels.  And, substance abuse of vapes and drinking is also a big problem with teens right now. 
A.  Vaping.
A.  We are greatly influenced by the music we listen to and by the strong urge to fit in with our peers.
A.  Mental health and anxiety.  We have a LOT of pressure and too often kids turn to substances to “let loose”.  We can prevent that with better support. 
A.  Many teens today smoke weed and are using vapes and they think this it this is not harmful. 
A. Extreme stress from school. Parents and friends leads to drug and alcohol use. 
A.  I feel like mental health is an issue that people don’t talk much about.  I also feel that adults don’t understand how hard it is to go to school every day and then do everything else (work, sports, church, activities, etc.)
Q.  What is your primary influence to be drug-free?  How do you think you are able to stay true to that with so much pressure?
A.  I personally feel I don’t need that in my life because I want to stay healthy and in control.  I feel that I can have fun without drugs or alcohol and that I would regret doing it.  
A.  I think it’s really myself.  I want to do well in the future — I don’t want my life to go down-hill.
A. My influence to be drug-free is to protect my body.
A.  I chose a friend group that doesn’t care what others think as much.  And, I stay away from drugs because I know that things would only get worse in my future.  
A.  My Parents showing me that I can have fun without substances.
A.  I care about my future.   
A.  I know that everything is temporary.  I want to make the most of my time and keep a clear mindset.
A.  I see other people my age making poor decisions and it influences me.
A.  My influence is knowing what it leads to.  And also seeing what the people I love went through.  
Q.  What is something that you will work towards or focus on?
A.  Learning to overcome academic challenges.
A.  A strong focus on the things that really matter in life. 
A.  Making my school a safer place.