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Podcast: Parenting your teen through tough times, with Dr Jo Prendergast

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Mum-Teenager

It’s not easy being a parent in a world of TikTok and bubblegum-flavoured vapes! To help guide your child through the teenage years, Rachel & Sarah invited Dr Jo Prendergast onto The Parenting Couch to get her top tips for supporting teens towards a healthy headspace. 


Parenting a tween or teen can come with a whole range of challenges from depression and anxiety, through to self-harm and eating disorders. If you’re navigating (or about to navigate) this parenting stage, this interview with psychiatrist Dr Jo Prendergast is packed full of useful tips from how to build a strong relationship with your teen, through to what to do if you child is self-harming.

  • How to be a safe base for your teen.
  • What questions to ask your teen that get more than a one-word answer.
  • Why talking in the car or via text message can work!
  • How the ‘drop & run’ technique (rather than a TED talk!) can be effective for providing advice.
  • Tips to build a strong relationship with your teen.
  • Why a being a calm parent is so important and that self-care for mums is still important when you have a teen.
  • Why it’s important to listen & validate their feelings – and not always problem-solve.
  • Signs of depression in teens & what to do if you teen is depressed.
  • Self-harm the huge rise in cases, and what to look out for.

Dr Jo says that when life sucks, it can take all our strength to keep showing up with an open mind for our teens and she hopes that, alongside some practical ideas for supporting teens, this book helps parents feel less alone.

Listen to the interview with Dr Jo Prendergast

Watch a snippet from the interview

    LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW WITH DR JO PRENDERGAST

    About Dr Jo Prendergast

    Dr Jo Prendergast

    Dr Jo Prendergast

    Dr Jo Prendergast is a parent, psychiatrist, and stand-up comedian. Over the course of her career, she has worked with children, teens and adults in a wide range of settings in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. She moonlights as the comedian Jo Ghastly and tours her solo comedy show The Cool Mum internationally.

    She is passionate about tackling big subjects in a lighthearted way. Dr Jo is also the mother of two young adults, recently graduating from parenting teens herself.

    An excited Jo with her book ‘When Life Sucks’ on shelves now!

    ‘When Life Sucks’ covers everything from anxiety, depression, trauma and eating difficulties, to understanding neurodivergence and gender identity. The book is a first-aid manual for some of life’s toughest challenges. It’s not easy being a parent in a world of TikTok and bubblegum-flavoured vapes, but When Life Sucks gives you the practical tools to help make your life a little lighter and to support your teen towards a healthy headspace.

    As a parent herself, Dr Jo knows how hard it can – especially when a teen communicates only in eye rolls and grunts!

    “I’ve been through some difficult times when my own teens thought that life sucked. Sometimes they said life sucked because of me! And sometimes I felt that parenting sucked. So, I know what it’s like to struggle and to feel that you don’t know how to help your teen – and I’m a psychiatrist! What on earth is it like for parents who don’t know their way around the mental health system or the theory of what to do?”  – Dr Jo.

    LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW WITH DR JO PRENDERGAST

    BUY ‘WHEN LIFE SUCKS’

    Support Services

    • Lifeline (Crisis support and suicide prevention): 13 11 14
    • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
    • Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
    • Suicide call back Service: 1300 659 467
    • National Indigenous Critical Response Service: 1800 805 801

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