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There is so much societal pressure placed on teenagers, and even with that understanding, society can be pretty rough on kids. It’s not an uncommon thing to hear an adult say, “I hate teenagers,” which honestly frustrates me, because when it comes down to it- they need just as much compassion as anyone.

It is during the teenage years that teens begin to find their way into the world. This can be a very daunting experience when everyone is judging you, which can cause some teenagers to pull back. They spend so much of their time trying to meet the expectations of the world, the rest of the time they are trying to figure out who they are, and in turn, they may end up hiding things, even from their parents. Understanding what they are hiding can equip you with the knowledge to be there for them when they need it most, even if they don’t know how to ask.

1. Stress.

While your teen may not want to let on, they are likely stressed. Life is new to them, and everything is changing, not to mention the fact that they are trying to understand themselves in a sea of hormones. It can be a lot, just be there and listen.

2. Going to parties/ experimenting with drugs/ alcohol.

Teenagers want to feel like they fit into the group. They will be invited to parties or at least want to. At those parties, there are likely drinks and possibly even drugs. Even if your child does not let on that this is happening, talk to them openly about this topic.

3. Friends/ boyfriends/ girlfriends they know you don’t like.

When your child brings home a person you do not like and you express a dislike about this person, they are likely going to find a way to see them. Instead, of deciding for them, coach them on how to choose the right people.

4. Bad grades.

Your kids do not want to disappoint you. So, they aren’t likely going to want to tell you if their grades start slipping. Make sure you make your home a safe place for failure and always allow them to openly communicate about things, even if you don’t approve.

5. Sex.

Even though girls do want sex too, the pressure of this is coming mainly from guys. Talk to your kids early about sex, so they will understand it instead of learning from others.

6. Online activity.

The internet is a crazy place, so it’s likely your child has been around someone or even looked at something unsavory on the internet. Not to mention the fact that internet bullying is alive and well. It is helpful to set up parental controls on your child’s internet usage and phone usage and always make your home a safe place to discuss social problems as well.