top of page

5 Reasons Your Teenager Doesn't Listen To You

How To Get A Teenager To Listen (And Why They May Struggle To)

You're engaging in heartfelt conversations, yet it feels like your teenage child is more of an unresponsive audience than an active participant. It's like you're echoing wisdom into a void. I empathize deeply, having navigated through my own children's teenage years and decades of teaching high school and college students. I want to share with you 5 reasons your teenager doesn't listen to you, so that you can understand them more and experience frustration less.

teeenager doesn't listen to me

If You Want To Find Out Why Your Teenager Doesn't Listen to You, Start Here

Reasons Why Teenagers Don't Listen - Reason #1

Lack of reciprocal listening.

It's a simple truth: teenagers engage with those who engage with them. Consider the implications of that. It's critical that if you want your teen to listen to you, you need to actively listen to them first. If you don’t, their peers will, and your teen will likely turn to them for advice instead. Imagine a 14-year-old seeking life counsel from another 14-year-old – not exactly ideal.

Reasons Why Teenagers Don't Listen - Reason #2

They're skeptical about the messenger.

We dads are quick to offer advice, drawing from our own life lessons. However, teens often take our words with a grain of salt. Why? Because sometimes, our actions don't align with our advice. The key here is to lead by example. Remember, kids may not always listen, but they are always watching. And if they see consistency in our actions, they'll eventually give more weight to our words.

how to get your teenager to listen

Reasons Why Teenagers Don't Listen - Reason #3

Fear of judgment or disappointment.

One of the hardest lessons in parenting teens is knowing when to remain silent. In my early teaching days, I had to learn to curb my instinct to fix every issue. This approach translates to parenting as well. The more you refrain from immediately trying to 'solve' their problems, the more likely they are to approach you for advice. The secret is to remain non-judgmental and calm, no matter what they share.

Reasons Why Teenagers Don't Listen - Reason #4

Unaddressed emotional pain.

Teens grappling with unresolved emotional pain often withdraw and resist listening. Ignoring their pain only leads to further disconnection. You don’t need to have all the answers, but providing a safe space for them to share their struggles is crucial. Be a parent who listens empathetically, not just one who loves.

Reasons Why Teenagers Don't Listen - Reason #5

The fear of becoming like us.

Finally, to truly engage your teen, embody the qualities you wish to instill in them. Many teens fear that by following our advice, they'll end up leading a life they perceive as unfulfilling. Therefore, it's vital that you live in a manner that commands respect and attention. Be a role model, not just in words, but through your actions and character. By being someone they aspire to emulate, you'll find that your teen is more likely to listen and engage with you.

teenager not listening to parents

Remember, parenting a teenager is not just about imparting wisdom; it's about building a relationship based on mutual respect, understanding, and genuine connection. By addressing these five areas, you'll create a more open and effective line of communication with your teen, fostering a deeper and more meaningful relationship.

bottom of page