Teen Talk: What makes you feel loved by your parents?

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s February 2018 issue.

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During the teen years, it often feels like parents are walking a veritable minefield when communicating with their hormonally-charged offspring. It’s seeking a balance and treading carefully lest you set off the dreaded eyerolls and door slams, or perhaps worse: The Silent Treatment. Here's the thing, though, I love teenagers. They get a bad rap, but with every fiber of my being, I think they are an overwhelmingly inspiring and impressively fantastical group (unfortunately the squeaky wheels tend to steal the spotlight).

Throughout these tumultuous teen years, it’s fair to say that parents just want to know what their kid is thinking and feeling. They want to be involved, but not overbearing. It was easier, wasn’t it, when they were little peanuts, and we could do no wrong (you know, unless we put their sock on wrong); for years we were an extension of each other. Snuggles and chats and stories were a given. We were the fixer of all the owies. But these teenage years…It’s different. They’re once again in a cycle of establishing independence. They are striving to find a balance between standing on their own two feet and still needing our love and support…Wait, do we ever stop wanting the love and support of our parents?

Perhaps that’s the truth underneath it all, we will always need our parents’ love and support, but what we specifically need evolves over our lifetime. Which brings us to teens in the here and now. We recognize that in a world of unique individuals how we perceive love is different for each of us. The idea that we all have our own “love language” is intriguing, isn’t it? We wondered, then, what is it that makes teenagers feel loved by their parents? Our wondering took us to a variety of teenagers ages 13 to 18, many of whom shared their thoughts anonymously, some who offered us their names, but all who shared their heart with us.

I feel loved by my parents when…

  • …they talk to me about things like I’m old enough to understand them. I like when they treat me like I’m an adult. –Abbey
  • …we can have fun, and they make me feel like I can tell them anything. –Anonymous
  • I feel loved by my parents every day, but I love it the most when I get to have one-on-one time with them. I love my siblings, but I love when I get my parents to myself. –Sarah T.
  • …they do everything they can for us. When they make sacrifices so we can have food on our table. –Anonymous
  • …they ask how my day was, or if I’m okay. When they ask questions, I really know they care. I also feel loved when they put things they had planned aside to help me with something. Everything my parents do makes me feel loved. –Alex Amestoy
  • …if I get a B+ or something, they don’t make me feel bad about it; they support me and make me feel better. They build me up. –Anonymous
  • It's the constant support in everything I choose to do in my busy life. They always inquire about everything and check in. They show up, and they support me 100% in anything I choose to add to my already full plate; I know they believe in me. –Charlie W.
  • It’s the countless, “checking in” on me and “how was your day,” that is what I think makes me feel loved by my parents! And of course, the awesome trips and vacations! -Thomas