Things Adults Say to Make Teens Feel Unwelcome

There are many phrases adults drop during daily life that can affect a teen’s self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. Three of these topics are guilting & gaslighting, generational difference, and not listening to us. Here are some phrases that parents or adults in our lives say during our day to day lives, arguments, confrontations or even in school. Please read this with an open mind for we are not accusing you of anything rather trying to bring to your attention what kind of effect these phrases have on us. 

Guilting & Gaslighting

“I’m just the worst aren’t I”

“Life isn’t fair”

“Remember this specific bad thing you did from when you were younger”

“It’s all in your head”

These are all phrases that parents, teachers, and other adults state daily. These phrases guilt us into thinking we are in the wrong and redirect the issues that we are trying to address. Oftentimes these phrases are used specifically when bringing up an issue with an adult, and when an adult says this it shifts the blame without truly addressing the issue.  This makes us feel invisible and invalidated.

Generational Differences

“You’re too sensitive”

“Your generation is ruining {insert random unrelated thing here}.”

“Everyone in your generation has that dysgraphia thing right? None of you know how to write.”

“Back in my day…”

Yes, we understand that the world was one way when you were a kid, but it’s a whole different ball game today! What is socially acceptable and appropriate has shifted. Our technology, the way we work, and what is okay and not okay has changed with the times. It’s time to get with the program and get down with what’s what.

Not Listening

Constantly disagreeing with us to prove a point.

“Teach me how to fix my phone but dont do it for me”

“Don’t teach me how to use the internet”

“I know better”

There are certain things that you adults do better and certain things that we do better. Times have changed and the ways things are done have changed. The unwillingness to listen to us when we are trying to teach or to have a civilized conversation is very discouraging and frustrating for us. Respect is a two way street: we want to be respectful, and we want you to respect us, too.

All in All:

Adults- if you’ve said these phrases to the teens in your life, all is not lost. Communicating during stressful situations can be difficult. Apologize, accept the past, and shift the way you talk to your teen in the future- they will thank you.

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