Struggling to get through to your teen? Dr Becky shares simple trick to encourage teenagers to take your advice

You're not alone in struggling to get through to your teen, but this simple trick may help

Mother giving her teenager daughter advice
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Psychologist Dr Becky has revealed her easy trick to help parents of teenagers better communicate their advice to their kids. 

Parenting a teenager is a rollercoaster experience. There are so many emotions involved on both sides. As parents worry about what to expect when a teenager starts dating and get angry about a teenager’s ‘annoying’ habits (that are actually a sign of good parenting), teenagers in return get angry about their parents' incessant badgering, most often about how much sleep they're getting.

As parents, there is only so much influence you have over a teenager. They are, after all, becoming their own person and need to know how to navigate life independently. But there are still a whole host of important life lessons you can impart - though if you've tried to do so you've probably been shut down. 

You won't be alone in this. Teenagers are not apt to take unsolicited advice - but in our quest to teach and guide, some advice is needed. Luckily, every parent's favourite psychologist Dr Becky is on hand to dish out her knowledge. 

"How can we give a teenager advice given they are primed to reject our advice?," she asks. Her answer? You have to pre-reject your own advice. 

So what does that mean? She explains, "Instead of saying, 'Hey, do you think it would be a good idea to start studying now given your test is on Friday?,' say this, 'Hey, do you think it would be a good idea to start studying now given your test is on Friday? Wait, I don't even know why I said that! I mean, obviously you can handle it."

For another example she suggests to avoid saying, "Hey, why don't you text the friend you want to hang out with? You're always so lonely and you want to hang out with her." Instead say, "Hey, why don't you text the friend you want to hang out with? Actually, I don't know - forget I ever said anything. I mean, you can totally manage your own social life. Sorry about that."

It all sounds like a bit of an elaborate dance but, as Dr Becky points out, "Parenting teens feels hard, because it IS hard," and sometimes planning out little tricks and hacks to best parent a teen can feel a little much, but it can work! 

With this hack, what you're doing is giving your teen the distance to take your advice but also feel like they're doing it on their own terms. "You get to share advice," Dr Becky says, "They get to feel independent. Everyone wins!"

Get more insight into parenting teenagers like how reflective parenting could help your teenager manage their big emotions and the one question to ask your teen to improve your relationship. Plus, these three simple phrases can help parents ‘empower’ and ‘give agency’ to their teenage daughters.

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.