This post: 12 Must-Watch Ted Talks for Parents of Teenagers (Post: updated 2023)
Written by: Marybeth Bock
When you’re parenting a teenager, you can use all the expert advice you can get. The teen years are such a confusing, time not only for teenagers but also for parents who are trying desperately to let go so their teens can gain independence and learn to adult, all while hanging on for dear life trying to protect their kids and keep them safe.
Add on the worry (because, seriously, there’s so much to worry about – teaching them to drive, the temptation of alcohol, drugs and peer pressure, grades, college, friendship drama, etc.) and it’s easy to see why so many parents are craving information to guide them through this stage of their children’s lives.
Rather than fumbling or guessing your way through these years with your teen, why not go to a place that’s brimming with free expert parenting advice? TED Talks offer short (18 minutes or less!) easily digestible videos by a myriad of experts who may open your mind to a new parenting approach or perhaps a new, much-needed fresh perspective.
For free expert opinions and valuable ideas for parenting your teen (along with a few laughs), check out these 12 must-watch TED Talks for parents of teenagers.
12 Must-Watch TED Talks for Parents of Teenagers
TED Talks | Angela Lee Duckworth | April 2013 | 25M Views
“In education, the one thing we know how to measure best is IQ. But what if doing well in school and in life is much more than your ability to learn easily and quickly? What if your ability to succeed has far more to do with grit?” After years of research, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth found that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating successful students from those who struggle. In this powerful TED talk, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.
Sadhguru | March 2017 | 1.7M Views
This one isn’t officially a TED Talk, but still worth a listen! If you’re ready for a few laughs, a heaping spoonful of reality, and a fresh (needed) perspective of what we go through as parents of teens, watch this video! It will make you laugh, make you think, and make you realize that how we approach the teen years sets the tone for our mindset and outlook throughout our kids’ teen years.
TED Global | Sarah-Jayne Blakemore | June 2012 | 3.7M Views
Do you ever wonder why your teen feels everything in much a bigger way? Do you ever question their impulsive behavior and wonder… why? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults to show us why so much of the typical teenage behavior is actually caused by their growing and developing brain. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that our teen’s brains are still a work in progress.
TED Talks | Reshma Saujani | March 2016 | 1.1M Views
We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. She has taken up the charge to encourage and inspire young girls to take risks and learn to be uncomfortable with imperfection. “To truly innovate society, we cannot leave behind half of our population,” she says. This is an inspiring video that every teen girl and her parents should watch!
TED Talks | Justin Baldoni | January 2018 | 3.1M Views
Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men – young and old alike – about redefining masculinity. His goal is to figure out ways to not only be just good men, but also good humans. In a warm, personal talk, he shares his effort to reconcile who he is with who the world tells him a man should be. Justin has some serious calls to action for men, women, and all parents. This is a must-watch with your teen boy.
TED Talks | Josh Shipp | October 2017 | 634K Views
Author and youth empowerment expert, Josh Shipp, takes an unconventional look at our kids’ hidden talents. In fact, there’s a good chance that your child’s greatest strength is hidden beneath their most annoying trait. Shipp helps all of us better understand our teens and helps us view them through a slightly different lens. This video is a must-watch for parents with kids who are struggling to become the best version of themselves.
TED Talks | Megan Shinick | February 2015 | 1.9M Views
Through her own story, social activist Megan Shinick points out the misconceptions of teen depression as well as the societal flaws responsible for the increase in mental illness among teens. According to Shinick, increased pressures placed on students create this situation, and the majority of major schools don’t have the necessary resources to aid students who suffer from depression or anxiety. Megan asks each of us to make a difference in the way society views and deals with teen depression.
TED Talks | Julie Lythcott-Haims | October 2016 | 2.5M Views
Julie Lythcott-Haims, the wonderfully wise author and former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University, explains that by loading kids with lofty expectations and micromanaging their lives at every turn, parents aren’t actually helping. With passion and wry humor, she advises us to stop defining our kids’ success by their grades and test scores. Instead, she urges us to focus on providing the oldest idea of all: unconditional love.
TED Talks | Kimber Lybbert | January 2020 | 836K Views
Kimber Lybbert is a National Board-certified high school teacher whose students kept telling her to write a book or give a TED Talk. This talk grew out of her students’ argumentative research projects to answer the question: What is it like to be a member of the class of 2020? Their stories are beautiful, powerful, broken, and patched together in ways that allow the best light of humanity to shine through them. In this humorous and heartfelt talk, Lybbert urges everyone to see the strength and potential in our young people.
TED Talks | Jennifer Senior | April 2014 | 275K Views
Do you ever feel like you are spending a lot of time and energy just trying to make or keep your teenager happy? Or wondering why parenthood seems to be filled with so much anxiety? It’s because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, writer Jennifer Senior offers us some kinder and more achievable aims.
TED Talks | Kris Prochaska | May 2015 | 375K Views
Kris Prochaska, who was once a psychotherapist and now a coach and consultant, uses her intuitive insight and diagnostic skills to remind us that we need to recognize that our kids are intelligent, intuitive, capable beings, and that all our conversations with them should begin with respect – even when they drive us crazy.
#12 RAISING REBELS
TED Talks | Dr. Justin Coulson | November 2017 | 34K Views
Best-selling author, Dr. Justin Coulson, talks about how we need to raise resilient, resourceful, creative adults and how we need to move from reflexive to reflective rebels. He says our goal should be to raise independent thinkers who don’t bow down to peer pressure. You’ll love this lively and interesting talk about raising rebels in a world that could use a few more leaders.
To find more helpful TED Talks for parents of teenagers, search topics at TED TALKS.
Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.