Helen Wills - the creator of the Teenage Kicks podcast

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:20 29 April 2020

Helen Wills (c) Stephanie Belton

Helen Wills (c) Stephanie Belton

Stephanie Belton

St Albans mum, Helen Wills, creator of Teenage Kicks – a new podcast to help parents and their teens have a meeting of minds

You’re a seasoned blogger on parenting but have moved into podcasting, why?

I used to share the funny stories of parenting on my blog Actually Mummy. But when my children hit the tween, and then teen years, I found I had nothing to say. And even worse, the stories of solidarity I had found as a parent on the internet had all dried up too. Podcasts are easy to listen to in the car or on a run, 
I often listen when I’m cooking too – it’s how I stay up to date on what’s happening in the world. I wanted to hear real stories of people experiencing the same things as me.

How did it evolve?

Through my blog, I started to talk about teenage mental health, and the impact on parents of supporting kids through one of the most stressful times of their lives. My followers all agreed – everyone wanted more frank conversations about parenting teenagers. I even had responses from students in their first year at university, telling how they struggled, but didn’t feel like they could talk to anyone about it.

Do you think teenagers get a lot of negative press?

If you search online for advice on parenting teenagers, it’s all doom and gloom. Top search results involve out of control teenagers, smartphone addiction and online grooming, with county lines and knife crime starting to creep up the list. Advice tends to come from educational experts and psychologists or from the wonderful charity organisations who support families in crisis. But there’s nothing from parents of teenagers themselves. No one talks about their teens online because once kids are able to read what you write, most parents stop sharing.

We’ve all been there, so why do parents often struggle with teenagers?

As parents, we understand some of our kids’ struggles, but let’s face it, it’s been a while, and things have moved on since we last panicked over a detention. Teenage choices today can seem alien to their parents because life has changed so dramatically since we were young. Teenagers and parents come at things from different angles. But teenage life can be challenging, and the support of your parents can make navigating tricky dilemmas easier.

What subjects will you be tackling in your podcast?

I’m aiming to unravel topics like social media, sexting and teen self-esteem so that parents can figure out what their child needs support with, and what’s just normal teenage behaviour. I want to take the fear out of parenting a teenager. In each episode I chat to someone who went through something difficult as a teenager, but who came out the other side in a good place; and went on to make a real success of their lives. I want to help parents and teens to open up a dialogue that will make life easier to navigate on all sides.

Hear Helen’s podcast at pod.co/teenage-kicks-podcast

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