For Dad

An essay concerning the emotional secrecy of teenagers

In an article about the teenage mind, one may believe the best way of creating a decent argument is to rely on quotes from neurosurgeons and world-renowned psychologists, but in reality those people have no idea what the hell they’re talking about. Sure they may have studied at the most prestigious universities for as long as I’ve been alive, and possibly have won a Nobel prize or two, but they are not the omniscient narrators of my life. I am.

The only person who knows what is going on in their brain is the user of that brain. Why? Not because of their knowledge of the human brain, but because of their sole ownership of that single brain which no one — emphasis on no one — besides the owner has access to. It’s like an unhackable Facebook account; the owner of the account has the password, and no one else can gain entry.

This essay does not follow the misleading path down the seemingly useful yet realistically useless trail of quotes from “credible” sources. Instead of relying on the unstable opinions of educated adults, the voice of teenagers creates a much more dependable foundation for an essay about teenagers. The question is, how does one gain entry to the unhackable account of a teenage mind? The answer is simple: by owning the account.

This leads to my next point. Considering I can’t trust a neurosurgeon to provide me with a confident argument, and without the password to a teenager’s mind, the only way I could create a stable opinion regarding the teenage mind is to be a teenager myself… So I guess it’s a good thing I’m as teenage as they get. Chances are unless you’re a teenager you don’t know exactly what’s going through a teenagers brain, so if you don’t mind, please step out of this conversation and let the experts do the talking.

First of all, asking a teenager why they chose not to share their feelings is a terrible idea. Not only will they be annoyed, but they will not answer. If a teen does not want to share their thoughts, obviously they would not want to share their reason for why as well. This is because of three undeniable factors; One; teenagers hate when they are bombarded with questions. The question itself does not matter, but none the less any question can drive a teenager mad. The range is endless, anything from, “what do you want to study in college?”, to, “how was school?”, or even the classic, “is anything wrong?”. Asking teenagers questions is like walking into a minefield: one wrong move — or in this case question — and everything blows up. After being asked what she would do when her teenage children were in a bad mood, University of Minnesota professor and mother of two teenagers Ellen Anderson responded, “I think that talking to my teens when they are frustrated or annoyed won’t help. My kids are emotional people, but they are capable of dealing with themselves.” Teenagers do not want to talk about their emotions with adults. If need be adolescents will talk amongst each other about their feelings, either way, they certainly are capable of dealing with themselves. So it’s simple, if you want to know why a teenager is in a bad mood, whatever you do, do not ask them why they are in a bad mood.

The second undeniable reason teenagers do not want to share their thoughts is because unfortunately there isn’t a function of Google translate which changes feelings to words. Basically, teenagers have absolutely no clue how to describe what they are feeling and explain why they are feeling that way. “When my parents or teachers ask me what’s wrong when I’m stressed out or unhappy I usually respond saying, ‘I’m fine’, when actually I just don’t know how to explain why I’m not feeling well,” said sixteen year old Central high school student Joey Waite when asked how he deals with his emotions. It is hard for everyone — especially teenagers — to express their feelings. It is asking too much of a teen to demand an explanation for what they are feeling. Unfortunately for Joey Waite and the rest of his generation, explaining why they can’t explain something is equally difficult, and in turn creates a deeper hole of teenage secrecy.

The third cause of teenage secrecy builds off of the previous. Not only does a teenager struggle to explain what they feel and why, but they struggle to understand what they feel at all. Teenagers are often unaware of their emotions. Shortly after explaining how difficult it can be to explain his emotions, high school student Joey Waite said, “It’s not just explaining my feelings that’s hard, but interpreting them is a challenge too.” Joey expressed that his feelings are difficult to understand himself, which shows once again how the causes of teenage secrecy begin in a deep hole of emotions which teenagers cannot pull anything out of, and when something emerges it is difficult to understand and explain. In short, teenagers minds are secretive to their owners. Not only do they keep secrets from others but also from themselves. So when an adolescent tells you they do not know what’s wrong, usually they are not going to have the slightest idea of what is wrong.

In finality, it is important to understand that teenagers are sensitive beings with twisting rivers of secrets and emotions flowing through them. It is not always their choice to share or not share their thoughts, because they not only do not react well to being interrogated, but also struggle themselves to understand what they think and why they think it.


As you may have interpreted from the title, the audience of this essay is in fact a single person. The goal of this essay is to show my father my thoughts concerning the subject of teenage secrecy. I could not care less if he is the only person to ever lay eyes on these words, because after he read them, he understood why I am an emotionally secretive teenager. My father has always been one to think that I hide my feelings from him because of problems with our relationship. But that is no more. Now, he knows the truth.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.