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Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 09/ 4/2009

TEENS to PARENTS: Calm Down!

By Valerie Strauss

The Answer Sheet asked a handful of high school students to advise parents on how to help kids get through the school year. The teens revealed what they want their parents to do--and what they don’t want them to do. Notice the trend in the “don’t want” responses--and ask your own kids how they would answer.

Aishwarya Venkat
Senior, Annandale High School
Annandale, Va.

WANT: I think just the mental support of knowing that your parents will back you no matter what college decision you make, which job you take, which internship you take, etc. is very important to me. I think the most important decision on their part would be trusting me with the car and just being supportive of everything I do. It’s the best thing they can do for me.

DON’T WANT: I would like for my parents to calm down about college, jobs, grades, etc. I think most parents, including mine, get very very stressed out during Senior Year, and end up frustrating their children even more. I think I worry enough about college without daily reminders from them, so turning down the college hype would be helpful.


Adam Turay
Senior, South County Secondary School
Lorton, Va.

WANT: This school year, I want my parents to do a better job providing me with resources. Last year I didn’t get my AP books until fairly late in the game, about two weeks before I had to take the exams. I’ve always had to rent SAT prep books from a local library, and I was among the last to get an advanced graphing in my math classes. They wouldn’t spring for giving me Internet access on the old computer in my room, either. This year, I hope my parents will help me out when it comes to stuff that I need, especially when it’s furthering my education.

DON’T WANT: I want my parents, mainly my mother, to stop asking me such highly specific questions about “the future.” This was a frequent habit of hers during exam season and I fear that as start applying to colleges this fall (I’m a senior), my mom will start prodding me to come up with a detailed "life plan" for the next few years. I feel like I have quite a few options to explore and being pressured to choose something now will not be at all conducive to making the right decisions. I want my mother to stop pressuring me about the future and let me deal with the present.


Nikki Kaul
Junior, McLean High School
McLean, Va.

WANT: I’m being completely honest when I say this, but my parents do everything in their ability to help me out. So I don’t really feel like they need to improve on anything in that sense.

DON’T WANT: What I would want them to stop doing is being uber-inquisitive on nights that I review for tests. While I understand they share my anxiety for the test day, they tend to go a little overboard in making sure I’m prepared. Therefore, they tend to start nagging a little, keeping up with constant reminders, and a little too much micro-managing. I understand it’s only for my benefit, but I dislike anything in excess, and sometimes the micro-managing can come in excessive amounts sometimes. The stress they put on me of meeting their expectations, as well as my own and dealing with the anxiety of the test is also a habit that I wish my parents would stop doing.


Hojung Lee
Senior, Mt. Hebron High School
Ellicott City, Md.

WANT: As the new school year begins, what would you want your parents to do that would help you most during the year.
I would like my parents to provide me rides and just do basic stuff to sustain our family. Support me during my senior year and be encouraging. That’s really all I need.

DON’T WANT: It would be nice if they decrease the amount of pressure they put on me but I still understand their perspective and I know that what they do to me will be all beneficial. Parents do that just to help you so I can’t complain.


Naveed Siddiqui
Senior, Eleanor Roosevelt High School
Greenbelt, Md.

WANT: I would like my parents to be more involved when things are not going the way they should be at school. The parents have a tremendous amount of influence upon the school that students will never have.

DON’T WANT: My parents do everything pretty well when it comes to my education. They push me when I need motivation, but also give me space when things are not going too well.

By Valerie Strauss  | September 4, 2009; 11:38 AM ET
Tags:  parent involvement, senior year, stress  
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Next: 7 Things I Learned This Week


I'd like to add my perspective:

WANT: Senior year is tough enough without parents nagging, and I need at least a few hours a week when I can unwind. My parents have agreed not to ask me about homework or college applications on Friday afternoon, and in return I promise to finish as much of my schoolwork as I can before dinner on Sunday so I'm not working all night.

DON'T WANT: The media (but of course not The Post) does a great job of working parents up about all the horrible things that kids could be doing when they're not being supervised. I'm still the kid that they raised, I've not been in trouble with the police before and I get good grades. They shouldn't insist I list exactly where and with whom I spend every second of my free time.

Posted by: SamG1 | September 6, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

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