Helaina Altabef

In Episode 92, I’m chatting with educator and parent coach, Helaina Altabef, founder of  Tame the Teen. We talk about building up the attributes parents need to form strong, caring relationships with teens.


  • There is a lot of disconnection between parents and their kids.
  • It is possible for parents to learn how to communicate effectively and connect with their teens.
  • Our current society has become increasingly isolated, and it is sending a collective message of fear to parents.
  • Some parents of teens tend to become isolated, thinking that their issue is only theirs.
  • All parents struggle with connecting and communicating at some point in their child’s development.
  • Community helps us to stay grounded and to relate to other people.
  • Our children should not be how we measure our success as people.
  • What good coaching does is take you out of your perspective and offers another one.


Helaina: “I realized that a lot of what was going on with parents and teens was a lot of disconnection between parents and their kids. And I became a liaison between the parents and the teens.”

Helaina: “It became apparent to me that whatever I had as a teacher, that I could access teens successfully, was teachable to their parents.”

Audrey: “Parents need to feel less fear about teens. Sometimes your anticipatory fear about something being hard actually makes it harder.”

Audrey: “Parents, in addition to their fears, have also gotten very isolated, thinking perhaps that their issues are only theirs when we know that everybody has different struggles with their connection and communication with their kids at some point in their development.”

Helaina: “Our society has become increasingly isolated. Many of us don’t have families nearby. We feel so encumbered with just the responsibilities of daily life. And daily life has become busier. That is objectively true. Community helps us stay grounded, and helps you relate, and helps you realize that it’s not just you.”

Helaina: “There’s so much guilt- parent guilt and mom shaming. This is a new thing that’s just such an ugly part of the experience.”

Helaina: “Children should not be how we measure our success as people.”

Helaina: “Take the judgment out of the room and just open to the experience of ‘these are just human beings’. Who is sitting in front of you? What makes them tick? What are they actually saying? When you remove all those barriers, you get to know the person in front of you, who you care about more than anyone.”

Helaina: “Help your child understand that new experiences bring with them a normal mix of excitement and a little fear of the unknown, some anticipation. Speak with children in that way and presume that they’re smart enough to understand that because they will. But when you label everything under the blanket of anxiety, they just presume that now this is actually anxiety. Embolden them to do things even if they feel fearful.”

Helaina: “If your kid is expressing the jitters, get in there with them and help them to make concrete the things that feel abstract. Try to understand what their jitters are about. Really hear them out and help them.”

Audrey: “To grow you have to get a little bit outside your comfort zone. If we just stay doing the same thing forever, you don’t grow. But when you’re growing, you feel stress.”

Audrey: “We need to be aware of where we’re coming from and not just make it all about the kid. We’re part of the relationship and we bring our own things to it.”


Helaina’s website: www.tametheteen.com

10 Ways to Make Campers More Confident by Helaina Altabef

Check out Audrey’s book, Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults


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Ep. 27: Raising Teens Who Thrive with Stephen Wallace

Why Teens Need Summer Camp More Than Ever

Ep. 65: Raising Engaged and Happy Kids

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