"Ask Me Where I'm Going" and Other Messages from Kids

Do you remember what it felt like to be a kid?

When you were a kid, were you eager for independence and freedom? Did you want encouragement to grow and try new things? At the same time, didn’t you need guidance, too, and want to be accepted just for being you?

Although kids today seem to face many more difficult choices than did previous generations, much of what they desire in life is no different from what we also wanted at their age. Search Institute spoke with a number of young people in the process of developing In Our Own Words and Ask Me Where I’m Going & Other Revealing Messages from Today’s Teens, a series of posters and a book that highlight what children and teens want from adults. Here are some of the things they said (adapted with permission for age-appropriateness):

  • children of all ages
    • Be a good role model.
    • Be honest with yourself; be honest with me.
    • Teach me acceptance and respect.
    • children ages birth to 5
    • Let me share my worries with you.
    • Don’t yell at me for making mistakes.
    • Pay attention to me.
    • children ages 6 to 9
    • Do things with me.
    • Watch out for my safety.
    • Be the one who speaks out for peace.
    • Encourage me to give tough challenges my best shot.
    • children ages 10 to 15
    • Let me trust you with my secrets.
    • Take me seriously.
    • Let me take care of things when you know I am capable.
    • Show me you care about my schooling by coming to my teacher conferences—even if I don’t really want to be there!
    • children ages 16 to 18
    • Talk with me.
    • Ask me where I’m going.
    • Accept me for who I am.
    • Negotiate new rules with me.
  • Let me still be a child at times.

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