Parents who talk have teenagers who listen.

Listen up, Parents: Your teenagers listen to you. You talk, they listen. They might not appear to take in anything you say, but it goes in nevertheless. And it affects them, whether they’re willing to show you or not.

And here’s the even more impressive thing: You don’t have to talk very much. In fact, if you talk too much they stop listening!

So for serious impact on your teenager you don’t actually have to do much talking!
Maximum benefit for minimum input! How often do you get such a great offer?

Adolescence is a time of breaking away from parents and family – so your teenagers are developing their own identity separate from you. And one way they’ll do that is by not engaging with you in conversation.

But never fear!

Your teenagers are listening to you, and when you talk to them in moderation and restraint, they think about what you say. Even when they don’t respond, and
even when they roll their eyes.

But beware of talking too much! If your teenager says you’ve said something “a million times,” you’ve got that point driven home. Don’t mention it again – for at least 6 – 8 months! Mark it on your calendar!

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. Great post, I think what’s helped me the most with my girls is that I usually just ask open ended questions and just let them talk. I think if you can get your teens to open up and not be judgemental with them, it goes along way in making a great relationship. Now sometimes I hear more than I’d like lol, but it’s all good. Barb

  2. This is really great advice and I find it to be true with my own teen. Good advice, stressed a couple times in a casual setting seems to be much more effective than a long naggy lecture. It’s the strangest thing.

  3. My parents never talked to me, nor did they listen to me. Instead, they talked at me and demanded to know whatever it was they were interested in. If I can give any and all (prospective) parents a word of first hand advice: don’t do this. Seriously. Don’t. In my 25 years of life I’ve never once had an actual conversation with either of my parents. Truth be told, I don’t even have the desire anymore. I gave up on that a very long time ago.

    And while I’m at it: if your teenager ends up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, don’t be a dick about it. My parents wouldn’t let me see my girlfriend because I was “too young for that sort of thing” and she was “nothing but trouble”. Needless to say that I went behind their backs.

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