No One Told Me I’d Worry This Much About My Teen

The sleepless nights, the exhausting thoughts, the straight-up fear... I didn't see this coming

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: No One Told Me I’d Worry This Much About My Teen

Written By: Morgan Hill

“Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” At least that’s what they say… and, boy, whoever “they” were had it right!

I thought I worried a ton when my son was little. At the time, his two-year-old bumps on the head were a big deal and his 6-year-old falls from the monkey bars made my heart pound. But, whoa… once he became a teenager, I found out what worry really was.

No One Told Me I’d Worry This Much About My Teen

If there’s one thing that seems to be universal about parenting teens it’s that WE ALL WORRY. Maybe too much. Maybe about stuff we shouldn’t. And, maybe half of what we worry about are made-up scenarios we craft in our heads. (I don’t know about you, but my brain can get really creative and slightly off-the-wall when it comes to worrying about my kids.)

But worry we do. And, as hard as we try, we can’t seem to stop. 

Even when we have “good” kids who typically toe the line, it’s hard to turn off that mom ticker tape going through our heads asking, “But what if…?”

I guess all that worry comes with the territory of parenting. But it can be all-consuming, can’t it? Especially considering that (chances are), 80 percent of what we worry about will never happen. Still, no one told me I’d worry this much about, well… everything!

6 Things I Worry About the MOST with My Teen

1. Of Course, Driving

When I was deep in the throes of driving my son (and all his friends) everywhere, I dreamed about the day he could run errands for me, pick up food for himself at the drive-thru, or drive himself to a friend’s house. Sweet freedom! 

But then he took Driver’s Ed and even with hours of professional instruction, defensive driving classes, and hours in the car with me (white-knuckling it the whole time), I still found the experience of driving with him worrisome and exhausting. But my worry really kicked in the day he drove off by himself WITHOUT ME.

Would he text and drive? Would he get distracted?  Would he tailgate? What if his phone dies and he doesn’t know how to get home? What if he gets a ticket or worse, gets into an accident? Ack! So many “What ifs!” With this one, it’s particularly hard not to worry.

2. Whether He’ll Grow Up to Become a Responsible Adult

Since my son was young, we had rules and structure and boundaries and consequences. If he made a mess, we’d sing “The Clean-Up Song” and have the space spiffed up in no time. He even learned a few chores like making his bed, rinsing the dishes, and throwing a load of clothes in the laundry. No problem!

But as he’s gotten older, he seems to be backsliding and I worry. He’s suddenly forgotten how to pick up wet towels off the floor and man… can he make a mess in the kitchen! And, let’s not even talk about his disastrous bedroom! (Ugh!) Soon enough he’ll have roommates. Will he be a total slob? Will he remember anything I’ve taught him? 

When he’s on his own, will he be able to clean and cook? Will he know when to go to the doctor and how to get prescriptions? What about basic car maintenance or knowing how to stay out of credit card debt? There seem to be some big gaps in his learning (Whoops! Time for me to get moving!)

3. Peer Pressure and His Invincible Mindset that “Nothin’ Bad Can Happen to Me”

My son has always had a close group of friends, from preschool to high school. But unlike earlier ages, there’s a lot of pressure to conform at this age. If his friends jumped off a bridge, would he, too? I now wonder, maybe? When you’re a teenager, peer pressure can be a powerful force.

Whether that means silly, harmless antics or dangerous dumb ones (like climbing up on that rooftop to get those great Insta photos) I know he wouldn’t necessarily do those things on his own, but would he be lured in by friends? Teens are notorious for following the crowd, having poor judgment, and feeling completely invincible and he’s not immune, despite our many talks (or should I say lectures) on countless subjects.

I know I can’t control everything he does. I have to trust that I’ve taught him well and that his friends, (who are good kids), won’t lead him too far astray (or vice versa). Still…it’s hard to keep a clear, relaxed head when he’s not safe and sound at home.

4. Giving Him Too Much Freedom (Or Not Enough)

While it’s tempting to bubble-wrap my baby, it’s natural for him to want to break away from me as he gets older. The trick is knowing how much freedom to give him. And boy, do I worry about this!

Crackdown too hard and he might rebel (Ahem… I would). Don’t crack down hard enough and he just might walk all over me. It’s SUCH a fine line. It’s a constant loosening and tightening of the tether that holds him close to me, that protects him and keeps him safe. When he shows signs of being capable, I loosen my grip. When he proves to me he’s not quite ready I have no choice but to pull back. 

Maybe it’s time for more natural consequences with his newly found semi-independence. But he still needs parenting, and I worry about being too hands-off and being too hands-on. These thoughts keep me up at night…

5. That He Might Be Struggling

Does he know he can come to me about anything? Of course, I tell him, but does he know unequivocally that my love is steadfast and unconditional? 

Is he anxious or depressed or lonely? Is he struggling with a girl he’s crushing or questioning his sexuality? Is he worried whether he measures up? Is he being bullied? Is he petrified of failing? Does he worry about coming to me because he fears I’ll get upset or that he’ll disappoint me?

I worry. Sometimes, he’s so quiet. Sometimes, I just don’t know. 

6. Will He Still Need His Mom?

This may be my biggest worry of all. As my teen inches toward adulthood, will he still need me? Will he look back on his childhood with fond memories? Will his heart be so full that he’ll want to recreate some of his childhood experiences with his own kids? Will he see how much and how hard I loved him?

Will he want a special recipe or call when the oven is smoking? Will he need to talk to me about a heartbreak or a big decision he has to make? Will he want to hear my voice, even if it’s just to talk for a few minutes?

On those days when I barely see him, or when he hardly talks to me – other than a grunt here or there, I worry. I worry a lot. But I’m also confident that my boy will come back around, and I won’t have to worry anymore, at least about him needing me.

Still, I’m pretty sure I’ll always find more things to worry about… because that’s just part of parenting.

About Morgan Hill:

Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel, and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes, or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter

If you enjoyed reading, “No One Told Me I’d Worry This Much About My Teen,” you might enjoy reading these posts too!

When Your Kids Become Teenagers, That’s When the REAL Worry Kicks In

Letting Go… The Hardest Part About Parenting Teens and How to See the Upside

The Verdict: Parenting Teenagers Isn’t Easier Than Parenting Toddlers, It Just Morphs Into a Different Version of Worrying

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment