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Why Isn’t My Teen Listening To Me? with Dr. John Gray

Elise Cohen Ho and JOhn Gray

Disclaimer: Elise Ho, aka “Dr. Ho” is a Holistic Health & Life Coach. Dr. Ho is NOT a medical doctor, licensed therapist, lawyer, or a bevy of other things. Products or services that Dr. Ho believes in are the only ones that she recommends. Dr. Ho may receive compensation, product, or an affiliate commission on anything you see on this site. This is a personal Website solely reflecting Dr. Ho’s personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of any organization with which I may be affiliated.

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Parenting Teens with Dr. John Gray.


Why Isn’t My Teen Listening To Me?

Parents of teens everywhere, at some time, in their child’s life, will ask this classic question.


The answer is fairly simple but yet so complicated.  It is the question that can offer frustration and requires evaluation.


Are they truly not listening or are they just not listening as well as they used to? Are they completely ignoring you or just simply trying to stretch their independent arms?

John Gray, Men Are From Mars
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
Children Are from Heaven: Positive Parenting Skills for Raising Cooperative, Confident, and Compassionate Children

As our children get older they wish to be treated as adults and with that comes the expressing of their opinions. This is an act which we, as parents, often have seen as defiance.


The reality is that parents should be more concerned about kids that do not turn a deaf ear.


The reason for this is that children that seem to be turning a deaf ear are really just going through a “natural and necessary progression to adulthood.” As well, they usually seem to be turning a deaf ear but are actually listening on at least some level.


In Dr. Gray’s bestselling book, Children Are from Heaven: Positive Parenting Skills for Raising Cooperative, Confident, and Compassionate Children he points out that “Up until 13 years old, children do not have the capacity to form their own opinions, and they depend on their parents to decipher all information for them.”


Once they reach the important teen years they have a shift in thinking. This usually results in the shift from thinking that Mom and Dad know everything to realizing that Mom and Dad do not.


Now the teen will attempt to exercise their independence and will step towards maturity.  If the child is being respectful, and safe than his behavior should be encouraged not discouraged.


This is the time for the parent to adjust to the teen’s new way of thinking and to remember not to be combative. Treat your teen as a person with valid thoughts and opinions. Engage your teen in conversation and offer insights but allow them to make decisions. Appreciate their logic and views even if you disagree.


If you allow your child a sense of independence then life does not have to be a battle, but rather a discussion. Do remember though to watch for their safety above all else. We, as parents, do sometimes have to pick our battles but it is important to pick carefully. If it is a small matter then treat it as such. If your teen has made a decision that you do not agree with but will not cause them harm then allow it to be.


Foster a strong relationship in which you and your teen speak of many topics. Enjoy each other’s company and rebellion may not be all that big of a deal.


I hope that you have enjoyed this piece from Dr. John Gray, the leading relationship expert in the world. His relationship and health books have sold over 50 million copies in 50 different languages. His groundbreaking book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, is the best-selling non-fiction book of all time. 




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Naturally Yours,
Elise Ho
Ph.D., D.N. Psych.
Behavioral & Mental Health Specialist

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25 thoughts on “Why Isn’t My Teen Listening To Me? with Dr. John Gray”

  1. Erika Mohssen-Beyk

    Hi Elise,
    this is a very good book, I did gift it to many friends. I think it is very important to communicate and discus things together.
    I like this quote it says it best :”Foster a strong relationship in which you and your teen speak of many topics, enjoy each other’s company.”
    Thank for a great post

  2. My kids are now in their twenties, so from experience I think that your 5 tips are spot-on. Our children are individuals who are not supposed to be just like us. Mutual respect (not being combative) of each other’s likes, dislikes makes family life easier. I still often remind myself that my children were not put on this earth to simply please me!

    1. That is a great reminder. I Look forward to sharing advice on parenting young adults too. That is a whole different ballgame.

  3. Oh I am I glad I’m not raising kids, however, I can implement this as an adult in conversations as well! I love asking instead of dictating. 🙂

  4. I remember what I was like as a teenager and my poor parents must have had to do some adjusting?! Mind you I don’t think I was anywhere as bad as some kids are nowadays.

  5. I have a toddler, and it’s a challenge to remember that she reacts the way she does because she hasn’t figured out how her emotions work. In the same way, teens go through a shift in how their brain is processing information. It’s so hard to remember that in the moment. Trying to think that kids, of any age, are supposed to process information like adults do simply doesn’t work…thanks for the reminder…in the heat of the moment it’s difficult to remember.

    1. That can definitely be a challenge. Sometimes we just need to breathe and slow down so we can remind ourselves.

  6. Words of wisdom. I have to check myself quite a bit as my son is in that pre-teen stage that’s harder in him than me. God get me through middle school!

    1. Yes, that is an age where they want to be treated as adults but we are still seeing them as kids. We all need to learn to adjust.

  7. I agree with your post. I have raised 3 to adults and have one teen right now. I have always encouraged at least being respectful (from both parents and children) even if we don’t agree with each other. I find when I allow them choice most of the time, they realize that when I don’t, it is for a good reason and not just to be controlling.

    1. Gina, I love what you have said here. It all begins with respect. I am sure that has everything to do with why your kids listen so well to you.

  8. It is really difficult being a teenager, so it seems like the more open dialogue you can have with the teen, the better off you are. You do need to pick your battles but I think that discussions are better than no communication at all. Great post! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Julie, yes, open dialogue makes a huge difference. If we talk to our kids about our feelings and thoughts then they will often follow suit.

  9. Mannnn teenagers! I could write a book on this, and I think I might one day after having two myself.
    What I learned after pulling my hair out for many many years with my teenage son, was really an ah-ah moment!
    In one debate one day, I actually turned the responsibility around to him and said: “You tell me what you should be doing?”… BOOM! He took responsibility and made a decision and took action. I was left reeling how I had done it so wrong for so many years… I could have saved 18 years of hair pulling by just saying “You tell me what you should be doing” …

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About The Author

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho is a Holistic Health & Life Coach with a special interest in emotional health, life alignment, and energy flow.

Elise will partner with you to align your mindset, your energy, your home and your career so that you can live your life's desire with freedom and love.

Elise offers 30 years of experience and multiple certifications and degrees including a Ph.D. in Natural Health and a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Psychology.