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Why does my teenager not tell me everything about his or her life?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 06/30/2020 at 2:02pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Johanna Liasides, MSc


I work with youth and young adults to help them improve depressive symptoms and self-esteem as well as effectively address family, relationship and peer conflicts.

Top Rated Answers
March 13th, 2015 1:10am
Everyone values privacy, and teenagers especially do not always like to share every aspect of their life with their parents. This is perfectly normal. Sometimes, certain things are best to tell different people (eg. friends). It is the same way that you would not tell a certain person in your life everything, but you would share different aspects with different people. If there is something you want to know in particular, perhaps give gentle reminders to your teenage child that you care and that you're there if they want to tell you anything - carefully addressing the subject, but not forcibly pushing through it :)
December 19th, 2014 10:27am
Teenagers are funny, they feel telling their parents or guardians is scary, they are sometimes worried that they might be angry, not take them seriously, laugh, be very worried and concerned about them. It is never a good idea to take it personally, they just don't want to worry you or make you out of your comfort zone. So what they sometimes do, is speak to childline, speak to a friend or friend's parent and sometimes if they have a mentor at school, they talk to them. It is perfectly normal for this to happen in a parent's life, almost every teenager goes through this phase.
December 17th, 2014 3:15pm
Teens do not always tell their parents what is going on because they think should have their own privacy and secrets. Usually these are counted to a friend.
December 23rd, 2014 4:49pm
First of all, it might be something that comes with puberty. Teenage years are usually defined by a "rebellion" against parents and what they stand for, therefore, sharing every aspect of their life with their parents is not desirable anymore. And that is perfectly okay. If you suspect something unusual might be going on with your child, it might be a good idea to carefully address it with them, but without pushing too much.
June 5th, 2017 10:00pm
Teens are in a middle spot between being a child, when their parents need to be managing their activities and risks, and being adults, when they'll be managing their own lives. It's natural for them to want some privacy, to learn to understand the world without help and make their own decisions about what to do. Part of good parenting is learning to let go - making sure that, once your child has a foundation in ethics and understanding, giving them enough space to explore the world and make decisions, and that includes making their own mistakes. It's important to give them that space when they still have the fallback support of parents, so they learn to judge risks for themselves. Some parents think, "but I can't be helpful if they won't tell me what's going on!" But part of being helpful is not knowing! Teens need to figure out what's important, what they can do alone, and what they need help with, and they can't do that if a parent is always involved, even if the parent is only providing loving support.
December 28th, 2014 9:20pm
I'd assume it's for the same reason as you don't tell someone about yours. Everyone wants some privacy, and I don't think your child is doing it to hurt you or because they don't trust you.
July 27th, 2015 12:23pm
As a teen , who had several courses about parenting , as I used to ask my self about this endless gap between us and our parents , I have found in many stories of that kind that teens find their parents very judgmental, when ever a story is told by a teen , tens of conclusions, advices and judges are given by the parents , which makes us (teens) prefer prefer being silent than talking about our lives , and what I found as a solution, that every parent should put him/her self in his/her teenager's shoes , and to make a flash back to his / her feeling when he/she was in his/her teenager's age ..
November 6th, 2014 2:08am
it could be that he/she thinks that you may not understand their situations that she/he is facing it.
November 7th, 2014 6:46am
Often times, you act as an authority figure so it's hard for your teen to relate to you and see that you've actually gone through all the stages they have.
June 6th, 2015 12:19pm
Teenagers are in the process of detachment. This is normal and neccesary. Even those teenagers closest to their parents won't tell them everything. They all go through a period where it seems they shut you out. They will go to their rooms and shut their doors. You will feel excluded and wonder what happened. It will pass. Expect them to join the family for dinner. This is a nonnegotiable. But, expect changes in their level of intereaction with you. Don't push. Remain calm. Be patient.
December 15th, 2015 5:05pm
It's an awkward stage, being a teenager so much is changing and they are just trying to navigate through theser changes, they may be afraid of disappointing you with their actions, be there to support , and love them, as well give them a safe secure place as they pass through this phase.
June 7th, 2016 6:03am
Often it can be very scary for a teenager to come out and say how they feel about something in their life, they are either trying to keep themselves, or you safe. It could be that they are hiding an underlying mental health issue, and therefore don't want to worry you, so feel as though it is best to tackle it alone. Sometimes opening up can be very hard, and especially hard to the ones that we love the most, but know with encouragment, they can and will open up. The key is to give time and not to push them.
October 24th, 2014 12:24pm
Becasue teenagers may not feel a need to do so. At most of the times it's because they do not want parents to be a hinderance in their lives like what I initially thought. But after a few major lessons learnt, they will start sharing. Having no on to share their sadness or problems with, they will eventually choose parents as their new friends. Every teenager will have to go through this pace in life, it's all about how you treat your kids. Whether to be friends or parents is in your hand. I was once a teenager and this is how i exactly felt when I was in high school and college. They will have much more better things to talk to their friends than parents. Most of the time it's because of the age gap and generation differences. Things will be fine, trust me. Maybe you can show signs that you care and you're willing to give them a shoulder to lean on. Good luck.
December 7th, 2014 9:03pm
Think back to when you were a teen, did you tell your Mom or Dad everything about your life? I've always considered myself to be very close to my Mom even throughout my teen years...but there were things in my life that were just better left unsaid to spare her feelings towards the situations. Sometimes teenagers are doing things and have drama that they just don't want to break hearts with. I say, let it be that. Their own little secret. Don't worry because if it is THAT important, I'm sure they would tell you!
January 3rd, 2015 4:36am
Not only do teenagers like thier privacy most of the time but they may not tell you everything about thier life for many other reasons, for example, they could just want you to trust them.
March 11th, 2015 9:39pm
There might just be a lot going on. Teen years are hard (as I'm sure you know from experience). There's a lot of stress that he/she isn't used to. I think just letting him/her know that you're there to talk to, they'll talk eventually. Hope this helps :)
Anonymous - Expert in Parenting
June 3rd, 2015 9:16pm
There always comes an age during the teenage years where teens just want to be left alone and feel that not talking about their life is a form of independence. Don't worry about it too much unless you notice a change in their attitude or mannerisms.
January 25th, 2016 5:48pm
Because maybe they want their own space, their own life and they are learning how to deal with things on the own. Telling everything doesn't always have to be a bad thing.
September 5th, 2016 2:35am
He or she is scared or shy.communication is like a balloon,if you don't blow air it doesn't look nice but if you blow too much air it will burst. Find ways and means out of your busy schedules and have time for the kids.
June 30th, 2020 2:02pm
Being a teenager is not easy. You’re going through many ups and downs both biologically and mentally. There’s a lot of pressure, you need to make decisions about your academic future, learn as many things as you can, discover yourself -this never stops- find what makes you happy and sad and sooo many other things. Being a parent isn’t easy as well. However, as a grown-up you know more. Teenagers aren’t obligated to tell everything to their parents neither other people. As all humans, we need to keep some things about ourselves. I believe it’s better for a parent to be there to listen to each child or children when they need their parent or parents. For me, this is more important.