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10 Things Parents Really DO Understand About Teens

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Sam Koppelman, one of the dynamite contributors to HuffPost Teen (and an intern here this summer) has written a post for that page titled "10 Things Parents Just Don't Understand About Teens." It is wise well beyond his 16 years, but, nonetheless, there are a few things that we over at the Parents page would like clarify on behalf of our entire demographic.

So consider this "10 Things Teens Just Don't Understand About What Parents Don't Understand About Teens." Sam's list is in bold. My thoughts are underneath.

1. Parents just don't understand that not all teens like Justin Bieber and One Direction. So, to all the parents who are thinking about what to get their teens for their birthdays, ask us before buying the new Justin Bieber perfume at Macy's.

I hear you, Sam. My parents made the same mistake with "The Partridge Family." What I didn't realize then was being clueless was kind of part of the job description. Your job as a teen is to reject what came before and gravitate toward something new. Our job is to let you. Face it, would it be any fun if your parents actually liked your music? Or listened to it with you enough to really know what it is you like? Our backwardness in this department is part of what makes it possible for you to feel cool. And we do understand how important that is, probably because we never quite accomplished it ourselves.

2. Parents just don't understand that we know they weren't perfect in high school, either. When you get mad at us for staying out past our curfew and going out with our friends on the weekends, stop pretending you weren't doing the same things when you were teens.

You're right. We weren't perfect. So we know exactly what kind of stupid things you can do. True, we survived (certainly long enough to have you). And yes, we also learned a thing or two from the experience. Do you really think we are hiding our imperfections? From this side of the generational divide, it feels more like trying to spare you the pain that went along with some of our mistakes. Actually, in many ways we WANT you to know how very imperfect we were. That we failed and got back up again. That we had our hearts broken but still found happiness. We want you to know we weren't perfect so you will believe us when we say that you don't have to be, either. (And if you ARE going to break curfew, a quick text, please, so we know you're not dead in a ditch somewhere?)

3. Parents just don't understand that they don't need to apologize for cursing... Believe us, we've heard curse words before.

We know you know those words. What we want you to know is that there are still a time and place for them, and in front of your kids (or your parents, or your teacher, or your future employer) is not one of them.

4. Parents just don't understand that we've heard worse than Howard Stern. You don't have to change the channel on the radio or the TV whenever he comes on the screen.

Do you really want to listen to Howard Stern with your parents? Would you like to watch "The Hangover" with them, too? There are categories of things that are funny with your friends and really kind of not with your Mom and Dad. We are saving you from that when we change the channel.

5. Parents just don't understand that we don't "Twitter." We tweet. If you are going to pester us about what we do on the Internet, at least use the correct verb and tell us to "stop tweeting."

Can we tell you to stop Facebooking, too? Or have you moved on to Tumblr after your parents friended you?

6. Parents just don't understand why we would want to make our photos look "old" on Instagram or Hypstamatic. We aren't giving ourselves wrinkles and turning our hair gray. Aging photos and aging middle-aged parents are not the same thing.

That's just mean. Take it back.

7. Parents just don't understand that a movie being rated "R" won't prevent us from going to see it.

See #4 above. Of course you lie about your age. We do too.

8. Parents just don't understand that we find it creepy when they give us the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Point taken.

9. Parents just don't understand that we know what going away to "celebrate their anniversary" means. No explanation needed. Ew.

OK, good. You have figured that one out. Now, can you please figure out why we ask you to send us a text when you are on your way home on a Saturday night? Hint: It is not because we want to make sure you make curfew.

10. Parents just don't understand that we honestly do love them.

We DO know that. Most of the time. But we really like it when you say it anyway.

And we honestly do love you, too.