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We Asked Teens: Parental Encouragement For Teens

We all know the importance of encouragement. But what kind of parent encouragement do teens value? We asked teens to answer.

“What’s a time when you were discouraged or down, and your parents did something that helped?”

“When I first started high school, getting into new study habits was very hard. It was difficult to keep my grades as high as I wanted them, and at times I felt very discouraged and bad about myself. My parents were able to encourage me to work harder, while telling me stories of their own high school mistakes. They assured me that I had plenty of time to improve my grades—not only this year, but throughout high school.” —Aliza, Cleveland, OH

“I was really dragging one night as I was finishing an assignment, and my mom came in my room to check on me. It was pretty late at night, but seeing the stress on my face, she said, ‘Come on, let’s go have a bowl of Cheerios in the kitchen.’ It may sound strange, but we literally sat together in almost silence for 5-10 minutes eating our cereal. Then I went back to my essay and really got into a rhythm with it.” —Jeanne-Marie, Cranston, RI

“The most important thing my parents do is listen. And I don’t mean listening to reply, or listening to judge. Just listening and hearing and loving, and being present with me in the moment. Most of the time I don’t really need advice; I just need someone to hear me and show that they love me.” —Emma, Orem, UT

“I used to be convinced that my younger sister was better than me in everything. She was the more talented actress, musician, student, athlete, etc. One day I was really upset, and my mom sat down next to me. ‘So what if she’s better at all those things,’ she said. ‘You’re one of the most compassionate people I know, and I think that’s better than being talented.’ Of course, she also told me she didn’t think my sister was better in all those things, but it’s the part about being compassionate that really stuck with me.” —Madelynn, Manila, Philippines

“One day I was having a very bad depressive swing and was feeling really down, and I was crying. My mother simply gave me a hug and said that in time, things would get better. I know the advice is pretty generic, but it’s nice to be reminded in dark times that the sun is coming and nothing can stop it.” —Marissa, TX

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