A clinical psychologist has shared the two things she would never say to teenagers – and they might just surprise you.
In a video that’s racked up over a million views on TikTok, Dr Lucie Hemmen (@Dr.LucieHemmen), a mental health expert who works closely with teens, said she would never, as a parent or grandparent, tell a teen “all I want is for you to be happy”.
And yes, we know what you’re thinking, you’ve definitely said that at some point or other. Who hasn’t?
But Dr Hemmen argued that despite it being driven by love and good intentions, it can lead to something called “happiness checking,” where a teenager is scanning their emotional state and they realise they’re not happy.
They then dwell on that and think they’re doing something wrong or that life is wrong because they’re unhappy, explained the psychologist.
“And the truth about happiness is it comes and it goes,” she said.
“What we want for our kids is we want them to be engaged with life – and that doesn’t always involve being happy,” she added.
Her other no-no for parents is to call their teen their “mini me” or talk about how much they were like them when they were younger because – and this hurts – “they have a biological drive to separate from you ... and so they don’t really want the overlay of the parent,” said the expert. They just want to be their own person.
People flocked to the comments to share their thoughts on the advice, with many reiterating it’s important to normalise having feelings and experiencing an array of emotions.
One parent joked: “That’s good. I let mine know I absolutely don’t want him to be happy... that way he’s happy out of spite to me.”
A former teacher added that with the ‘mini me’ mentality it can also lead “to kids carrying a lot of their parents’ emotional baggage”.
Reiterating this, one commenter wrote: “My mom has always told me how much I’m like her – and in the same breath will put herself down. It’s always really bothered me.”
In another of her most popular videos, the psychologist talks about teen behaviour that concerns parents but is actually a normal part of development.
This includes gossiping, being defensive and self-absorption, which the expert reiterates – much to the delight of parents everywhere – they will grow out of.