This Is What Your Teen Really Thinks About You

The Girl ProjectWhen my mom friends who happen to have teenage daughters at home get to moaning about said kids, my brain turns off. I put in just enough energy to make the appropriate "Uh huh, how horrible" mutterings of sympathy, and that's it. I just don't need to hear about how much your kid hates you. Because that's what they all say, isn't it? That by the time your daughter hits puberty, she will think you're (take your pick): an idiot, overbearing, out to get them, a fuddy duddy.


That's what parents say. But as we march straight toward the teen years, the part of me that refuses to listen to those moms so I don't dissolve into a puddle of anxiety is trying to keep my ears open to hear what the kids think. And now I don't have to strain quite so hard.

Because like me, photographer Kate Engelbrecht wasn't content with what the parents and the media have to say about teenage girls. She wanted to hear what they're thinking, straight from the source. And after sending 5,000 digital cameras plus questionnaires out to girls ages 13 through 18 across the U.S., Engelbrecht is sharing the thoughts of the daughters of America with the world in Please Read (if at All Possible): The Girl Project, a book slated to hit bookstores on August 30 (available for pre-order now on Amazon).

The photos and topics are an amalgam of dark desires and sweet confessions. The anonymity of the project empowered the girls to speak the truth not only about themselves, but the world around them.

I confess I expected the worst. Drugs. Sex. Booze. It's anonymous, right? But most of what they said should make you feel safe, Mom and Dad. Our kids want to feel loved and trusted. And they count on us. For reals. Here are some of my favorite "real teen" thoughts on their parents:

When asked "what is the hardest part about being a teenager?"

  • Trying to get your parents' trust.
  • Meeting expectations held by parents, friends, teachers.
  • People do not understand what you are really feeling because our parents grew up in a different decade.
  • Having to prove to adults that we're not as immature, bad, dangerous, or dumb as they think.

When asked "what is the best part about being a teenager?"

  • The best part of being a teenager is being coddled by your parents you don't have a worry in the world.
  • Being able to mess up and know you can fall back on someone.
  • Being able to live through life without worrying so much because your parents got your back and your friends are always there.

Not so bad, huh? Makes me feel better anyway; how about you? Do you ever wonder what your teen thinks of you?


Image via Amazon

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