5 Things Every Struggling Parent of Teens Needs to Hear

No one has this parenting gig all figured out... NO ONE

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 5 Things Every Struggling Parent of Teens Needs to Hear

Written by: Ali Flynn

When parenting your teen is “down in the trenches” hard, and you feel as though you can’t even muster up enough strength to come up for a breath of air, it can bring comfort knowing that other parents are struggling, too.

I think we can all admit, this is hard

Sure, there are plenty of amazing and rewarding days that accompany the teens years, but if we’re being completely honest here, there are also plenty of exhausting and difficult, lonely and confusing days. Both our teens and us are navigating waters neither of us have encountered before. 

The trick to getting through the teen years with our kids is to find the sweet spot. We have to look for the beauty, the blessings, and maybe even the humor. Here are 5 things every struggling parent of teens needs to hear. 

5 Things Every Struggling Parent of Teens Needs to Hear


1. You Are NOT Alone

No matter how hard it is (and, we all know there are days raising our teens that can be downright painful), you need to know you’re not on this journey alone. 

No one has this parenting gig all figured out… NO ONE.

Rather than standing stoically trying to convince those around you (and yourself) that you can withstand the hurricane-force winds that sometimes accompany parenting teens, allow yourself the freedom to be vulnerable.

Reach for a lifeline.

Accept the fact that being transparent with other parents holds the key to connection and a bond with someone who’s been there or is in the trenches right alongside you. Maybe it’s another mom, a trusted friend, or a relative who’s come out on the other side of raising teens who can offer a fresh perspective, a healthy dose of humor (something we all need a little more of) or a few tidbits of advice to help you get through this phase of parenting. 

Just hearing someone else say, “I get it. I’m going through the same thing with my teen,” can make you feel less alone, less anxious and offer comfort and validation that everything you’re going through is normal and temporary. 

2. Teenagers Don’t Have Control Over What’s Happening in Their Bodies and Brains

Don’t be mistaken. That teen of yours in their grown-up-looking body is still little on the inside. Their body, while growing by leaps and bounds, still has plenty of growing up to do, and their brain, according to medical experts, won’t fully mature until the age of 25. 

According to Premier Health, “The frontal cortex (the frontal lobe of the brain) is one of the last areas to mature. This is where executive function is handled, where the brain processes data and examines pros and cons. It’s also the ethical and moral part of the brain.

During the teen years, decisions and choices are ruled by the amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain. That’s why any conversation you might have with your teen, no matter how innocuous it seems to you, can quickly bring your kid to tears or rage, or trigger them to completely shut down, or any other range of  “over-reactive” emotions. 

One thing I’ve learned with my own kids is to take a step back and recognize their behaviors are not intentional. Their goal in life isn’t to hurt my feelings or upset me. They simply need to develop emotionally and this process takes time.

3. You Are Your Teen’s Safe Haven

Even on those days when your teen pushes you away, doesn’t seem to care in the least about being a member of the family or takes their frustration and hardships out on you, take comfort in knowing that you are their safe place… even if your teen would never admit it. 

You are their constant.

You are the one they know will never abandon them. 

You are the reason they feel comfortable being their true selves, even on the ugly days (and trust me, there are a few ugly days along the way). 

Even though their love is hard to see or feel on some days, just know they love, cherish and appreciate you far more than you know… they just don’t verbalize it, quite yet. Don’t give up on them, especially on their hard days, because that’s when they need you the most

4. Soon Enough, a Beautiful New Season Will Emerge

Parenting never really ends…

In fact, 18 is just a number. Sure, it might be the end of our kids’ “official” childhood, but it’s also the beginning of an amazing and beautiful new era. 

We may have bid farewell to more than a few stages of parenting, but there is still a lifetime to parent our big kids.

They still need us in their lives (perhaps more than ever), they still need our love, our guidance, and our unending love. They still need us to check up on them, make them their favorite dinner, tell them that everything is going to be okay, and wrap our arms around them when they need it most. 

They’re facing new challenges in college and overcoming tough hurdles in their new job. They need a role model, guidance and plenty of encouragement. 

The beauty of it all is that somewhere along the way, our relationship begins to shift in the most beautiful and unexpected way. Suddenly our child isn’t simply just our child, they become a trusted and cherished friend… and, we become the same to them.

5. All They Truly Want (and Need) is Your Love & Acceptance

This one is simple. Love your teen for who they are.

They may not view the world through your lens. They may not dress the way you’d like them to. They may not listen to everything you have to say, follow in your footsteps or be who you envisioned them to be. They are their own person and our job as parents is to love our kids exactly as they are. 

As John Lennon so eloquently once said, “All you really need is love,” and this right here is all you truly
need to remember throughout your parenting journey. Just love ’em through it all… 


About Ali Flynn:

Ali Flynn is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter, and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents, The Mighty, Her View From Home and His View From Home, where she shares inspirational stories about motherhood while keeping it real. You can also find her on Facebook or Instagram.


If you enjoyed, “5 Things Every Struggling Parent of Teens Needs to Hear,” you might also enjoy reading: 

The 5 Powerful Love Languages of Teenagers

4 Things Teenagers Need Every Single Day

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Maegan February 10, 2022 - 12:58 am

I can’t tell you how much I needed this. Honestly. This stuff is HARD, and some days, feels like it will break me. Thank you, whoever wrote this.

Nancy Reynolds February 10, 2022 - 8:35 pm

It makes me so happy that you found comfort in this post! This stuff really IS hard and it surely helps to know that we’re not alone. xo


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