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The Letter About Teenagehood that Everyone Needs to Read

In 2015, Gretchen Schmelzer wrote the powerful letter ‘The Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write You’. This incredibly eye-opening and moving letter is a must read no matter who you are – whether that be a young person, parent, or teacher!

Gretchen explores the emotions and reasons behind the tumultuous times and the multiple fights many young people have with their care giver/s in the hopes of making both young people and parents feel less alone during the turmoil of teenagehood.

Abbie, No5’s Projects Coordinator, and Carly, No5’s Operations and Relationships Manager, wanted to share it with you as it holds they felt like it gave their teenage selves the voice that neither of them felt they had at the time.


“This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. “

As a teenager I too faced the relentless “fights” with my parents, with my mum taking the brunt of it, and the above quote hit my core when reading this letter. If 14-year-old Abbie could have given this letter to her mum after reading it herself, it would have made the world feel lighter. I would have felt less alone and more understanding of my own actions.



“This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others.”

If 15-year-old Carly had this letter I could’ve given it to my Mum to explain how I felt and also hope to show her that I didn’t want to hurt her or cause her pain. It would help me explain the pain that I was feeling that I just didn’t have words for.


We hope this letter helps you to feel less alone, whether you are a young person or a parent. We all go through this painful, turbulent time and we hope it helps you survive it, even if it just makes each day just that little bit easier.


If you, or your young person, are in need of crisis mental health support, please reach out to the following organisations:

Young Minds – Free 24/7 crisis messenger answered – Text YM to 85258

The Mix – Free phone line open between 4 and 11pm – 08088084994 or 24/7 crisis messenger – Text THEMIX to 85258

Papyrus – Call 0800 068 4141, text 07860039967 or visit their site to see loads of resources and things to try

Samaritans – 24/7 phone line (116 123) or write a letter or email to Jo (jo@

CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – Helpline open 5pm – midnight – 0800585858 or Webchat available 5pm – midnight –


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