Think You Know Your Teens?

[deleted account] ( 11 moms have responded )

Not sure if this really is a debate, or just airing a concern.

I teach Freshman this year, ages range from 14-16 years old. This was just a weird week for kids hanging out in my classroom after school. Why? The end of the year is approaching and they want to beg me to make up missed assignments and failing grades. In any event, I have students that share so much of their personal lives about what goes on in their homes, or things that their parents would never approve of like sneaking off, stealing, sexual activity, etc. Private stuff, and even comments about what crappy parents they have for whatever reason. I tend to reply with a statement like "Don't you think that's too personal?" or "Have you shared this with your parents?" I do have a good rapport with my students and I know they feel comfortable talking to me. (Surprisingly since I am so hard on them in class) I guess what I am trying to get across is this: If you think you know your teens, you *might* be clueless. Your teen's teacher might know more than you do.


[deleted account]

Quoting Jen "I try my best but I'm sure there are things my 14 year old doesn't tell me. What is your suggestion? If you heard about a 14 year old engaging in sexual activity, would you tell their parents?"

No, I do not report sexual activity to a parent since it is not illegal in nature. But, I like I stated above, I do try to give some advice/counsel to kids. I DO encourage a student to share this with their parent. I do try to get kids to see the bigger picture of "Your parent is there to love an dprotect you. There should never be any secrets between you & your parents". However, if any parent ever approaches me about any kind of a conversation, I will share the details. But I do not initiate a conversation unless it is life-threatening or damaging to self or others. My advice? Contact your child's teacher and simply inquire if he/she has any behavioral changes, or engaged in conversation that might seem personal in nature.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 05/07/2011




I agree, many times it’s easier to talk to people outside your family; especially when they are not so judgmental of you.
My son is 8, so I have no teens yet, but even now I keep an open dialog with him, and as he gets older im going to try and not be so judgmental of his actions and his words…meaning im going to hold back the urge to wring his neck if he tells me some thing he did that I would not approve of…(unless its life threatening, against the law…ect)
But I also realize that your teen is not going to tell you 100% of everything, and that’s fine…but as far as drugs, sex, sneaking…ect I want to be able to know what going on. And much of that starts when they are young; If you scare, belittle them, threaten them and shut them down NOW as they get older they will hide more and more things for you (the parents)
And the hard thing is as a parent is finding that fine line

[deleted account]

Which is why it's so vital to actively keep the lines of communication open. I try my best but I'm sure there are things my 14 year old doesn't tell me. What is your suggestion? If you heard about a 14 year old engaging in sexual activity, would you tell their parents?

ETA - What about if they were engaged in other dangerous activities? Drugs, criminal stuff, sexting, self-harm?

The best parent may miss signs, we are only human.


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Shae - posted on 05/15/2011




My mum and I had a pretty good relationship.
But I still didn't tell her when I first had sex.
But on that thought she was the first person I went to when I found out I was pregnant.
However my English teacher was the first person I told about another teacher saying derogatory things to me.
I always felt my parents were too busy with life to sit down and listen to me complain about my latest homework, were as he was being paid to listen to our opinions, and he cared about our opinions.
I always told my mum the important things.
I also respected her rules of no drugs other then prescriptions in her house, whether it was alcohol, cigarettes, gunja, and because of that I didn't touch them at all.
I think getting a comfortable relationship with your teen, so they feel that they've done something wrong, before you tell them, is important. So that they don’t feel they can’t tell you when they know they’ve done something wrong, but they still know you’ll be disappointed that they have.
This is a VERY hard line to stand on.
I think you should talk to your teens teachers, see if they’ve got a good relationship with one of them and every now and then call up and see if they’ve got any ‘juicy gossip’ on what your child has been up to. I don’t think it’s their job to hunt you down unless something serious has happened.
I’m glad I’ve got a good relationship with my mum, but then, my English teacher is a person I like to call my friend. He came to see me in hospital when I had my daughter, he came to her naming day, and he’s invited to her 1st Birthday. We all need different relationships, and a student to mentor relationship is important, they spend a lot of time in your child’s life, and if you and your partner split up you would talk to him/her about your child, so why not someone else who is helping in moulding your child into an adult.

Christina - posted on 05/08/2011




I'm not stupid enough to think when my almost 11yr old son is teenager that he will tell me everything. That's why it is MY job as his mother to stay in tuned with what is going on in his life. It's my job to know where he is, and know if he is sneaking out. My mom knew when I started having sex at 16yrs old, even though I hid it from her and lied about it. She wasn't stupid.

Tara - posted on 05/08/2011




I am my 15 yr old's teacher, literally, we homeschool, he takes classes online, but I am his teacher. We have a very close relationship, he talks openly to me about sex, drugs, alcohol, concerns about relationships and friends, concerns about the world and the environment, politics, etc. etc. we are very much on a peer level when it comes to our dialogue.
As well, I'm the "cool" mom in our community. The majority of the teens my son hangs out with call me their "other mother" lol. and they all feel they can talk to me about anything as well. I take that role seriously as I know many of them have parents who are oppressive when it comes to sex etc. teaching only abstinence with the threat of "you better not get knocked up so help me...."
So I do agree with most that teachers or other trustworthy adults can play a HUGE role in some teens lives when their own parents are not able or willing to do so, BUT I think many parents today feel a lot closer to their teens than we did as youth.

Bondlets - posted on 05/07/2011




lol, since I am my teen's teacher I'd say I know them very well. Actually, I am thrilled with the openness my teens have with me. I wish I had felt as comfortable and safe with my own parents growing up. We've worked hard to maintain this kind of relationship with the hope that the teen years would find us close to our teens rather them pulling away; thankfully, the former is exactly what we have. Hopefully this continues because I love nothing more than the time every day when our teens sit and talk with us. They know they can trust us 100% with anything they have to say (their words, not mine) and I love that we are the first ones they come to if they have something going on. I love the teen years. :)

JuLeah - posted on 05/07/2011




My teacher's seemed to actually care about me, my folks really didn't. My teacher did know more, they asked and or listened when I talked. My parent's never did.

[deleted account]

Thanks for the great replies. I agree, it is far easier to talk to someone who is non-judgemental and someone who will simply "listen". Oh I agree 100% to keep the lines of communication OPEN and always questioning, but not harassing.

Yes, I am required to report dangerous or illegal activity. I reported to the guidance counselor about a possible eating disorder concern, and then to the Assistant Principal abot a concern that one kid does not go home. He bounces from friend's house to friend's house every single night with a lame excuse of "I don't like it there". It is then up to them to investigate. A few months ago a kid showed up stoned, so I had to discreetly call for Security to come to my classroom and remove him form my classroom. (If I simply sent him to the office he would have ditched school or not shown up). As far as sexual activity, well I was told that I cannot intervene as it is not illegal activity. BUT, I can refer to the school nurse if I suspect something more than just kids having sex: possible pregnancy, multiple sex partners, STDs, etc.

I do try to offer advice/counsel them without stepping on any parental toes. Let's face it, I am NOT their parent!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/07/2011




I think teenagers have so much going on withing their own bodies, they become so emotional that they will talk to anyone that has ears and is not a parent. I think parents know their kids better than anyone....unfortunately that doesn't mean they are privy to daily activities.

Isobel - posted on 05/07/2011




My daughter's only ten and I can already hear it. I have already told my husbandish guy that we can count on two things...Eve will hate the air that I breath for a couple years and they WILL tell him that he has no say because he's not their "real" dad...this much is guarenteed.

I think we will know (for the most part) what they are up to...cause we did it too. BUT it's our job to make it as difficult as possible.

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