What I Wish My Parents Knew

What I Wish My Parents Knew

Honest thoughts from middle school students and how you can help.

Sherlock Holmes we must be. You know, we ARE dealing with the middle school student here, so Holmes’ method of solving mysteries could be beneficial in understanding this perplexing person living amongst us. This confounding creature truly is a mystery in itself, in one moment needing the comforting words and enveloping arms of a parent and in a flash, slamming the bedroom door with a mutinous exclamation of “Leave me alone! You just don’t understand!” So, how in the world do we find out during these tumultuous years what it is they really wish we knew? Although no Sherlock, as an educator I have the unique opportunity to reach into a world typically inaccessible to adults. When posed with the question, “What do you wish your parents knew?” three distinct categories surface amongst students. Sixth, seventh and eighth graders respond with struggles in school, a lack of understanding or listening to their feelings, and finally a need for more time spent with parents. You heard me right… take a look.

School is hard and I am trying my best. 

I wish my parents knew…

how much stress I have every 6 weeks on my GT projects and other classes

… how hard middle school is and going through so much drama

… that I try my hardest in school and sometimes I get distracted, but I work hard

… that I was studying at midnight on the weekends and not sleeping 

… that I won’t be the smartest kid in the world

My parents can help me by…

… not getting mad if I don’t do the best on a test when I am truly trying

… studying with me 

… encouraging me


My emotions are real. Ask and listen. 

I wish my parents knew…

… how sad I truly am and that I have feelings too

… my feelings when I’m upset or sad because I don’t like talking about them because I’m afraid I’d get in trouble

… my feelings all the time

… how I actually feel because sometimes it’s hard to explain to them

My parents can help me by…

… listening to me express my feelings

… asking me how I feel

… listening to me when I wanna explain


Support me.

I wish my parents knew…

… that I’m always anxious about something 

… that being yelled at for everything isn’t normal

… that listening to music does help me fall asleep

… not everything is as easy as it seems for me

My parents can help me by…

… spending time with me

… spending more quality fun time 

… not being on their phone all the time


Tweens care. They care what we think. They want us to listen. Surprising as it may seem, they desire time spent with us. So, the next time you’re ready to fire away a critical word or two or three, ask yourself… will this help or will it hurt? No need to pile on. Our unwavering support speaks volumes. Encourage. Inspire. Reassure. These years take patience. Lots and lots of patience! In one moment you hear, “Spend time with me.” and in the next, “You’ll never understand!” However, the reward comes when this once tempestuous tween transforms into the adult friend you never thought imaginable. 

On second thought, to emulate Sherlock is not our answer, but rather his ever-faithful assistant, Watson. The steady reassuring companion. Watson, it is, dear friends!

Renee Davis

Renee Davis is a working mother of four grown and flown kiddos, a 15-year veteran teacher and married 28 years to her amazing husband, Scott. Working with thousands of youth, they both hope to change young lives for the better. For the past three years, Renee has been passionate and privileged in creating content and curriculum for an innovative middle school class, focusing on social and emotional learning, daily living skills, as well as organizational skills. The course has been a success according to parent and student responses. In her spare time, Renee loves having brunch with her husband, chatting about work with her three boys and shopping the latest trends with her daughter. Of course, viewing the antics of their new kitten and elder cat have kept her chuckling as well.

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