Monday, August 29, 2011
Inside the Mind of Teens
By Vanessa Van Petten, creator of RadicalParenting.com a parenting website written from the teen perspective to help parents understand them. She is also the author of the parenting book, “Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?”
When I was 16 I thought it was my Dad’s goal in life to make me miserable. I was convinced that he had a
running list of all the ways he could embarrass me in front of my friends, trick me into doing more chores
or make my curfew earlier.
Our relationship would have continued to devolve until one day I saw my Dad reading a parenting book.
I flipped through it while my Dad was in the bathroom and realized a lot of the things he did that drove
me crazy he was getting right out of this book! I looked at the other parenting books on our shelves and
realized that they were all written by adults. I wondered—has anyone ever asked teens to write to their
I decided to build a website where teens could answer questions and write to parents called
RadicalParenting.com. I couldn’t believe how quickly it grew and how happy both teens were to get their
voices out and parents were to have a new outlet for connecting with their kids! We now have over 120
teen writers who give advice.
Teenagers, when given a neutral space LOVE talking to parents and often offer some of the best insight
because they are going through it themselves. We have also be so excited to help parents who feel like
they cannot reach their kids and teens.
I think teens and parents can work together to overcome their differences and learn to work best
together. We have just come out with our book: Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded and
it is a radical approach to parenting because it is written from the kid’s perspective! We would love for
you to check it out—if you are brave enough to see what kids have to say!