Talking To Teens: Expert Tips for Parenting Teenagers

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Paul Smith is the author of three books: Parenting with a Story, Lead with a Story, and Sell with a Story. On this episode, he reveals how to tell teens stories that teach them important lessons about life. He also shares a few of his favorite parenting stories that you can steal and tell to your own kids.

Show Notes

Click for full show notes, exercises, and word-for-word scripts from this episode

You may have noticed this, parent. There's something hard about teaching important lessons to teenagers: they don't want to listen to their parents lecture about ANYTHING. Also, because of their high need for autonomy, teens often feel strongly compelled to do the exact opposite of whatever their parents suggest (even when you aren't in lecture-mode).

To be effective with teenagers, you have to be a little more subtle. Teaching lessons to teens works best when you let the teenager "discover" the answer for themself.

When you can accomplish this Jedi mind trick, your teen will no longer question you, push back, and resist your help. They will come to you first to talk through their problems (NOT to get "advice" -- they don't need that).

But how can you teach lessons to teenagers without them feeling like you are teaching them a lesson?

Easy: just tell the perfect story at the perfect time in the perfect way. Then simply let the teen realize the moral of the story on their own.


Paul Smith has spent years studying exactly how to do that and he has written three incredible books about it: Lead with a Story, Parenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

He has interviewed hundreds of successful people all over the world and collected the most impactful stories from their lives. He's also analyzed the times when great leaders tell stories to inspire, motivate, or instruct, and he has carefully measured what works and what doesn't work.

In our interview, Paul told me 8 simple steps to turn any vivid memory from your past into a sizzling story that will teach your teenager a valuable life lesson.

Finally, he gave me some of his personal favorite parenting stories. These are one's he's used with his own son and they are really powerful. In one story, Paul learns an important lesson about what it means to be a man by watching his dad eat a quiche. It's great!

What is Talking To Teens: Expert Tips for Parenting Teenagers?

Parent-teen researcher Andy Earle talks with various experts about the art and science of parenting teenagers. Find more at