362: What to do When You Always Feel Like the “Bad Guy” // Joey Mascio

Figuring out how to parent teenagers can be … murky. 

It can often feel like we’re the bad guy no matter what we do!


3 in 30 Podcast with Rachel Nielson, Featuring Joey Mascio on Parenting Teens: From Villain to Mentor


Can you relate? 

Lessons about parenting can come in unexpected places, even in the fictional shows we watch or books we read. If you love Star Wars, Harry Potter, or The Hunger Games, and if you’ve been feeling at a loss for how to parent your teenager, you’ll love the interview I did with Joey Mascio. 

Joey is a life coach who loves stories and helping teens become heroes in their own stories. I love that he also helps parents avoid being the villains! He has a Master’s Degree in Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. He’s also a certified Life Coach through the Life Coach School. 

I love Joey’s passion for connecting with teens, and I’m grateful for his willingness to share some ideas with us on how we can go from villain to mentor and become the person our teens turn to rather than fight against. Joey frames his takeaways with this: 

“If a teen is the hero in their journey through life, then parents want to be their mentors, the trusted person their teen turns to for guidance and advice, but more often than not, we feel like the villain in their story, even when we’re just trying to help. Parents can go from villain to mentor by following these three rules I’ve learned as a mentor and coach for teens for over a decade.  I’ve named each rule after a famous mentor from legendary stories who exhibits the rule very well.”

As a former English teacher, I love Joey’s creative approach! So, let’s get into it! 


Joey’s Rules for How to Parent Teenagers – Transforming from Villian to Mentor: 


1.) The Yoda Rule – Let go of their results

Yoda, like any good Jedi Master, knows that his padawan’s journey is his own to take. Yoda detaches his personal success from Luke’s decisions and results. Yoda knows he can not control Luke, so he doesn’t try to. He can teach, advise, and counsel, but if Luke wants to leave Dagobah and try to save Han Solo and Princess Leia, the choice is ultimately Luke’s. 

Your teen’s successes and failures are not a measurement of your success as a parent. When you realize that, it allows you to fully give over the responsibility for your teen’s actions and results to them. What a load off! You still want the best for them, but you know that the best is up to them to choose. 

Plus, not having an “agenda” for your teen will make them feel more comfortable coming to you for advice. Win-win! 


2.) The Dumbledore Rule – Let them figure it out

After rereading the first couple Harry Potter books with his kids, Joey was amazed to realize just how little Dumbledore was in them. Three adolescent teens are running about Hogwarts facing a three-headed dog, a giant snake, and the greatest dark wizard of all time, and Dumbledore is nowhere to be found. He decided that was by design on Dumbledore’s part. Dumbledore knows the benefits of Harry developing the skill of figuring out problems himself. 

When your teen comes to you for advice, don’t give them the answers. Ask them questions instead. When they struggle and overcome a problem on their own, teens develop an appreciation for failure. They can’t do that with us adults hovering over them, telling them our answers for everything. When teens discover their own answers, they stick with them longer than if we give our version to them. Remember, our answers aren’t the only solution! 


3.) The Haymitch Rule – Set Clear and Consistent Consequences Outside of the Game

Before the Hunger Games begin, Haymitch lays it out straight for Katniss Everdeen: You need to be likable and woo the audience. If you don’t do that, I can’t help you. Haymitch taught Katniss how to play the game by laying out clear and consistent consequences and showing her that his not giving her assistance in the arena wasn’t personal; it’s just how the game is played.

The worst thing when parenting teenagers is to let our emotions run the show – our teenagers are emotional enough for both of us! If we as parents don’t tame our emotions, we will take our teen’s behavior personally, which in turn will lead us to dole out emotionally charged consequences that our teen will take personally. 

To avoid this, be clear on what consequences are ahead of time and enforce them consistently (not emotionally). Then, when the “game” of disagreement starts, we don’t have to wing it. We won’t give out consequences that our teen didn’t see coming and will deem unfair, seeing it as us changing the rules of the game as it’s being played. Clearly communicate consequences outside of a heated argument and enforce them consistently.


Are you ready to go out and channel your inner Yoda, Dumbledore, or Haymitch? We’ve got this! 


I’m truly grateful to Joey for this fun and impactful interview. To listen to the full episode, click on the player at the top of this post or go to your favorite podcast app!

I also want to remind you that Joey has offered us access to his Teen Training Bundle for free. This is a big deal! His training bundle is a collection of four short, humorous, and high-energy trainings to help teens build confidence, manage anxiety, start conversations, and get off their screens. Each lesson has a downloadable PDF and an audio version hosted on a private podcast channel. I will definitely be grabbing that resource ASAP so I can watch or listen to it with my kids. Thanks Joey! 

Save this summary of how to make reading fun to Pinterest so you can use it later! 👇


3 in 30 Podcast with Rachel Nielson, Featuring Joey Mascio on Parenting Teens: From Villain to Mentor
Infographic describing 3 takeaways for moms on how to parent teenagers without becoming the villain.

Did Joey’s rules on how to parent teenagers feel helpful? What resonated with you the most? Share in the comments below!




Related Episodes like this one on how to parent teenagers:

Mentioned in the Episode:

About Our Guest:

Joey is a father of four with a Masters in Education and a Bachelors in Creative Writing. He’s also a certified Life Coach through the Life Coach School. During his seven years as a middle school teacher, he volunteered to be the teacher in the discipline office. The principal thought he was crazy, but he’s always had a heart for kids who struggle. It was there in the discipline office that he started coaching teens on confidence, social skills, and goals. Eventually, he started his own private coaching business for teens and left teaching to pursue it full-time. He now also has a podcast for teens to listen to called Secrets for an Awesome Life, and he is the creator of a new gamified mindset training app for teens called Sidekick to Hero


Get in Touch with Our Guest:


  • Savvy Learning: Click the link to try a trial class for only $5 to see if your child likes it. And if you decide to sign up, don’t forget to use code 3IN30 at checkout for $25 off/month for the life of the subscription. 
  • Molly’s Suds: Order through my exclusive URL to get 20% off all Molly’s Suds products. Use code 3IN30 at checkout. 
  • BetterHelp: This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Go to betterhelp.com/3in30 to get 10% off your first month of online therapy!


2 thoughts on “362: What to do When You Always Feel Like the “Bad Guy” // Joey Mascio”

  1. I love all the info! The link to the free teen training bundle isn’t working for me. Can I find it somewhere else? Thanks!

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