“Mom And Dad, If You Only Knew Me!”

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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"I don't get my kid anymore. They're not that little girl or boy I used to know. Now that they're a teenager, they've changed!"

Have you ever found yourself saying something like this?

If you have, you’re not alone. In fact, as people who have not only parented a few teenagers (and are currently parenting two pre-teens), my wife and I also spent more than 15 years working with teenagers in student ministry and we heard parents say this.

Throughout our time we discovered a few things that teenagers really wish their parents knew about them. Here are 4:

1. “Just because I’m not talking to you doesn’t mean something is wrong with me.”

In my 15+ years working with families, I watched countless parents attempt to force their teenager to talk to them when they weren’t saying much. And then the parent would become angry when their teen refused. Many times the parent would show up in my office and say things like “Somethings wrong. They’re not talking to me anymore!”

My response was usually something to the effect of “Uh huh…and?”

2. “You’re not the only influence in my life!” 

Many years ago I led a group of teenagers to a week-long conference where many student’s lives were changed. One of those students, a kid who was entering his junior year of high school, decided to get baptized. His parents (in fact, his entire family) were actively involved in our church and were faithful members.

When we returned home, and he shared his decision with his parents, they were shockingly not that excited for him. The reason? They couldn’t grasp that their son would make such a big life decision without them present. They had it in their minds that they were exclusively the influence. His dad actually said, “That’s a decision he’s supposed to make with us.”

Sorry to disappoint you mom and dad: this kid’s parents were not his only influence and neither are you! You can fight this or argue with me but it is a proven fact that there are more voices than just yours speaking into your child’s life. This is especially true during the teenage years. You should celebrate this. You should want other adults and mentors guiding your student.

Obviously this applies to positive influence. Unfortunately there are a ton of negative voices vying for their attention as well. Your hope is that a healthy crop of strong mentors and caring adults surround your teenager in this crazy world. It strengthens your parenting. Although you’re not the only influence in your child’s life, you can be the greatest!

3. I’m trying to figure a lot of stuff out so give me a little slack.” 

Their friends, their body image, their likes and dislikes, their emotions, their future, their independence, their view of the world, their mistakes and failures, their dreams, their insecurities, and much much more! A teenager’s world is a giant vortex moving fast than the speed of light. With mass technology and communication this just speeds it up.

There are so many things going on inside of their hearts and minds and it’s important that parents take a step back and understand this. In no way does this mean they should shirk responsibility or get out of healthy challenges. What it does mean is that you as their parent need to pick and choose which battles you enter into with them. Sometimes you just need to stay off their case and let them be them.

4. “I love you and I look up to you more than you know.” 

They might not show it. In fact, most of the time, they won’t. But your teenager is watching you closely. And, they love you. Through this vortex of emotions and insecurities they are looking for a guide- someone to show them the way. Guess what? That someone is you! While your voice loses its influence a little through the teenage years, and while other influences play a role, you, as their parent, are still the biggest influence. And at some point, if you stay consistent, your voice will regain it’s role as primary influence.

I promise, if you get this, and you stay steady on this path, the dividends will pay off someday! Not necessarily today, but someday.

If you’re the parent of a teenager, what struggles have you had with your child?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.