Do you dread the teenage years? You’re not alone – many parents do. In our latest free community webinar Lucy Dahill – youth mentor, advocate and radio host – talked to Emma Walsh about how you can see this time as a ‘relationship development’ with your teen instead of living with the dread of what’s to come.

It was a brilliant webinar and Lucy covered a number of points on how to gracefully manage the ‘rollercoaster years’. Some areas Lucy and Emma explored were:

  • The daily juggle of a working parent
  • Setting the scene (i.e. you were once adored, now you feel ignored)
  • Our job as parents
  • The difference between stress and anxiety
  • Walking the talk
  • Looking after ourselves first
Some of the highlights

“Life goes into a child’s world much earlier these days… in a ‘normal’ childhood it’s around Year 4 or 5. There is a lot of pressure for them to grow up. They are likely to be pulled into the world earlier than you may be ready for”.

“Anxiety is starting under 13 years of age”.

“It’s not our job to control them as young adults.”

“In order to be heard [young adults] need to learn to express in a way that they can be heard.”

“Choices and consequences… follow through. Be careful you don’t have a consequence that you can’t carry out.”

“Boundaries are very important. Own your home and space.”

“Hurt takes time and a lot of patience… quite often they are blaming themselves of not being the glue to keep the parents together…. that’s when they tend to go off on a tangent. What they are looking for is the connection. Keep trying to hold respect for the other parent and the young person of what they understand.”

“Build the connection… you can’t expect it to be built in 5 minutes.”

“Teens are far more vocal about the fakeness of relationships… they are really judgmental. But what you’ve got to look out for under the veneer of calm is a really mixed up person.”

“Remember they are the same cuddly person with deep and sensitive feelings… they’re just not sure how to handle it.”

“[Growing up] feels a little like a tsunami of expectation – whether it comes through their phones or friends.”

“If parents are anxious about them growing up, chances are the young person will be anxious about growing up. It’s really easy to pass fears onto a younger person so it’s really important to get some support for this.”

“Our job as parents is to raise independent young adults”

“The greatest gift to give our children is to let them know they’ll be ok when we are not there.”

“Teenagers are master manipulators – they know how to give us exactly what we need, to get them off their backs.”

“Say it without judgement… ‘hey I miss you’ ”

“Two hours of screen time.. that person has been sucked in and gone… their behaviour is going to be in accordance with this.”

“They don’t know how to express… and when they do they do it in a clunky way and get such an enormous reaction that they go ‘I can’t be bothered to give it a go.’ You have to remember that when they are learning to talk they are going to be clunky, they’re going to be rude and – just like when they start walking – they need to be able to bumble and fall over and know that you’re still going to love them at the end of it.”

“Find a way to spend time with them.”

Get the full audio

To get a free copy of the webinar audio recording or send it to a friend please email

Parents At Work offer a number of programs and free community webinars – our ‘Special Events’ – to working parents to support them in the myriad of challenges and issues they face as their children (and careers) grow through the years. If you would like to know more about our membership or programs please contact

Upcoming free webinars 

We have two more ‘special event’ webinars coming up. To register click on the images below.

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