CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The world is a complicated place for your teenager to navigate.
From vaping, drinking and drugs to sex and suicide, you try to talk to them about the dangers, but there are some things your teen just won't tell you.
NBC Charlotte gathered three local therapists to reveal exactly what is going on inside your child's mind.
What teens aren't telling their parents about sex
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 39.5 percent of high school students have had sexual intercourse.
"Kids have always snuck around and had interactions, but I think they are exposed to much more," said Myque, a therapist.
The therapists said TV shows help create their expectations regarding both sex and romance.
"They create this expectation even if you take sex out of the picture even around romance," Myque said.
"They get exposed and naturally become curious so I think it couples with parents having their heads in the sand because they don't want to talk about it," said Michael, another therapist.
In fact, 30 percent of teens report their parents have never spoken to them about sex. The age at which therapists think you should talk to your child about sex varies.
"You know you are starting at three and four years old talking about body safety and boundaries," said Myque.
"I would say, in general, parents are waiting too long," said Chris, another therapist. "They need to start having these conversations earlier and especially in middle school."
Kids need a safe space to discuss this issue considering an estimated one in 10 female students report being physically coerced to have sex.
The therapists agreed you need a good relationship with your child if you want them to listen.
"You have to start building a relationship," said Chris "Have some good experiences with them and then you can start pursuing deeper conversations."
Why teens are seeking out drugs and alcohol
"Yes, it is common for kids to hide things from their parents if they have a good relationship. And sometimes it is rooted in, 'I don't want to disappoint you some of the choices,'" said Myque.
The conversation NBC Charlotte had with three respected teen therapists was an eye-opener. While parents may be most worried about kids experimenting with pot, one study shows alcohol is the drug of choice for teens.
"Not to scare parents but if they want it badly enough they are going to find it. That's not saying there shouldn't be good rules in place, but it is the age of accessibility," said Michael.
"I think it's also what is your child searching for. Are they searching for an escape, and that's why they are doing something, or is it because everyone else is doing it and I want to fit in," said Myque.
Fitting in can be dangerous. The CDC said one in five high school teens is now using e-cigarettes.
The most popular devices are called JUULs. They're often disguised to look like pens or USB flash drives, and they come in flavors.
"So if you don't know that vaping is going on in high schools then you are out of the loop," Myque said.
Don't let the smell of mint and mango fool you. One vaping pod can contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
"Generally speaking middle schoolers and freshman year of high school often time the use of substances it's out of curiosity. But once you get into the mid-adolescent years and sophomore year and typically above, their use may be to cover pain. And to deal with stress," said Chris.
"I find that most teens I meet with would be willing to tell their parents almost everything if they felt it was a safe environment," said Michael.
"If a child does bring up to their parent, sexual activity or smoking or drinking, I can only imagine as a parent. I have toddlers now. But if they said something like that to me, how do you not freak out as a parent?" asked Sarah French.
"Parents are so nervous and scared to even approach their child about certain topics, and so it's really important to manage your own anxiety," said Myque.
"Look for those moments when they share and you are about to jump on them; just let them speak," Michael said.
"All these things come at these kids at a very young, and they have to deal with these very grown-up issues, and so they need us to be grownups and to be able to enter these dialogs with them. So fake it 'till you make it, so to speak," said Chris.
Here's some good insight: Don't exaggerate points when talking to kids. The first thing they will do is Google your answer to see if they can trust you.
Why teens are seeing a rise in suicides
The statistics are enough to scare any parent.
"Social media is a big component of it," said Michael.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for all Americans ages 10-34.
"They want this instant gratification," said Myque.
The suicide rate among young teen girls is now nearly triple what it was in 2000.
"They have these high expectations for themselves," Chris said.
We talked with teen therapists about the increase in suicide rates.
"I feel like it wasn't like this when I was in high school or when I was growing up so is social media to blame? Is that the main culprit here?" asked Sarah French.
"There is an interesting thing that is coming out in research these days called social perfectionism. Social perfectionism is when the kids feel like they have to do everything just right, just perfectly. Whether it's academics or their Instagram accounts, they have to have everything look just right, their bodies have to look right, they have to fit in," answered Chris.
Surprisingly, depression is not the initial factor that drives most teens to suicidal thoughts. Anxiety, bullying, and other mental health disorders also contribute.
"I've even noticed busyness, too, so there's just an expectation now so if you are not doing something you should be," Michael added.
"And the interesting thing is that sometimes parents actually perpetuate that problem because from young ages, you know, I'm a parent, like you need to be doing dance, and you need to be doing this and that and this, and if you are not there is a problem, and so we are filling the plates at the very beginning, and then there is an expectation that that does have to happen, but we are not teaching our kids to be still to be okay with the quiet, and so they are searching, searching all the time which is anxiety provoking," said Myque.
"And what anxiety is, is uncertainty, so if the kids are uncertain about themselves, they are uncertain about their futures, they aren't certain about relationships, they are uncertain about how to handle some of these pressures, and so that just produces anxiety and often times they feel like I'm not enough and it seems like I am not going to be enough, so I just feel terrible about myself and I start to move in those directions," Chris said.
A teenager's logic is often at the root of the problem.
"I had a kid tell me recently if I was out of the picture, my parents would stop fighting with each other over me and about my issues, and they would stop getting angry at me. So they feel like they are failing and so that pushes them toward thinking this is a better option just for me to commit suicide," said Chris.
"And once the ball gets rolling, I've noticed that they really zone in on individual moments like that instant gratification thing. So I will catastrophize this moment, these friends were mean to me, this is all that matters right now in life, so I try to help kids zone out so this was just a moment today, this is not your life, because I feel like it I get so in the moment that if I fail here, that means in general I'm a failure," Michael said.
For many teens, the pressure of being watched by parents and on social media is intense.
"It's almost like they are on stage so there is a pressure that comes with performing and trying to show themselves as a certain type of person," said Chris.
"We really need to be intentional about teaching our kids social skills and interpersonal interactions," Myque said.
The experts said don't brush off things like anxiety; help make sure your child gets the right advice.