When I Struggle with My Teens, I Turn to My Best Friends for Advice…My Parents

As a single mom of two boys, I've learned that grandparents hold powerful influence to diffuse the tough teenage years

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: When I Struggle with My Teens, I Turn to My Best Friends… My Parents

Written By: Amannda Maphies

I sat at my kitchen table, my parents on one side and my teenage son on the other. As a single mother of two boys, and as an only daughter to the best parents that ever walked the earth, I often share my parenting struggles with my parents.

Whether I’m in desperate need of advice, prayer, wisdom or simply sharing the otherwise, at times, too heavy burden to carry on my own shoulders, my parents are my rock, my saving grace, and the gentle “steady” I need in my life.

When I Struggle with My Teens, I Turn to My Best Friends for Advice… My Own Parents


Needing their wisdom and insight, I shared the latest struggle between my teenage son and myself. He got in trouble at school…again. He lied to me….again. Let me be clear, my son is a good kid. The best! And I don’t just say that because I am his mother. He is incredibly handsome, wildly intelligent, and athletically gifted. He seemingly has it all, with a sarcastic nature and all the makings of a posterboard teenager, to boot….

Yet, this year has been tough.

The difference between 6th and 7th grade has been astounding. My son never got into trouble at school before his entrance to seventh grade. He was a model citizen in class, a gifted athlete whose coaches thoroughly enjoyed training on and off the court, and a studious student who balked at anything less than an A average.

Something shifted the summer between sixth and seventh grade. Electronics took precedence over family. Friendships became his number one influence. He started to notice girls. Basically, he grew up. Seemingly overnight. 

While he is still very much my baby, he now stands taller than me, his voice is deep and manly, and his ‘I know it all’ attitude that I, too, once held dear as a newly minted teenager, is absolutely in full swing. 

There is nothing we have encountered that is not normal. A typical check off the list of growing up and finding himself in this often confusing and overwhelming world. I am not worried he will go so far astray he won’t find his way back home.

It’s just that… I miss my baby!

I miss the secrets we shared, the in-depth talks we had, the private jokes we found hilarious, and the close bond I felt would never fail between myself and my firstborn son. The very precious child that made my wildest dreams come true, the one that made me a mother

The straw that broke the camel’s back on this particular day was that I caught my son in a lie. It wasn’t the first time. And I’m quite sure it won’t be the last. However, in that particular moment of clarity, it gutted me.

This is the same kid that used to tell me everything. Everything. Even the gross boyish things I didn’t necessarily wish to know and piously relegated to the elusive corner of, ‘Dad Territory.’

These little white lies have stacked up, and while the content is not exactly earth-shattering, it worries me for future days, when he is fully independent and my relationship with him is based on his desire and not the natural order of things

I opened up to the only person fully equipped to handle this new-found season of parenting platitude… my mother. My best friend.

She did what she always does. She listened. She empathized. She talked me down from the ledge and assured me that this season is normal, a part of him growing up, discovering himself, and making a few mistakes along the way, that will no doubt teach him meaningful lessons, essential for his transition from boyhood to that of a young man. 

As we sat at the familiar kitchen table, the very same wood-grained table I sat at with my parents when I was battling the harrowing years of growing up, I felt a strange sense of nostalgia. Fiercely protective of my son, on one hand. And fiercely loyal and leaning close to fully digest what grand wisdom my dear parents might impart on this child of mine, who seems intent on fighting me at every turn. 

My mother turned to her firstborn grandson. They have a beautiful relationship. He respects her in ways he does not respect me. There is a solid foundation of trust and loyalty between my mother and my son. It melts my heart. I was hopeful her magic spell on him would do the trick, to somehow break the ice that had formed between my son and myself. 

As my mother looked at my son, her eyes filled with tears. Choked with emotion, she glanced in my direction: ‘This is my baby, my very best friend in the whole world, and the way you are treating your mother, my daughter, breaks my heart.’

My son was taken aback by his grandmother’s brutal truth and deep emotion. I, too, tried to hide the tears of emotion threatening to overflow from the rim of my already red and swollen eyes. 

We continued to talk, as a family, about respect for parents, the importance of truth, choosing friends wisely, and the typical struggles that seem synonymous with growing up. I’m unsure how much impact my parents’ conversation with my teenage son had on him. But it pierced my heart with an arrow of truth. 

This conversation brought back my own youth. My years of straddling the fence between childhood and the life of a young adult. My sarcastic nature, my disrespectful tone, my feelings of ‘They just don’t get it!,’ which I am quite sure I made abundantly clear. This conversation was a full-circle account of how I likely pierced the hearts of my own parents when I was my son’s age. 

And yet. 

Here we are. They, fighting for their grown daughter. Also, fighting for the dear grandson.

We defeated the bitter years of difficulty, my parents and me. And now, they have somehow magically morphed into the wisest, most trusted, and beloved friends I have ever known. Perhaps there is hope for my son and me! I truly believe there is, as any other outcome is inconceivable. 

We will make it…

We will continue to weather the storms of life in between. And someday, I might even find myself sitting at my son’s kitchen table, with him on one side and his precious firstborn child on the other. My own dearly beloved grandchild. Smiling to myself, as I recall the day that my own parents helped me navigate the wild winds of change that come with growing up. 

And digging deep to find a way to bridge the gap between a loving son and his fiercely independent offspring. Knowing deep down that they, too, will be okay, based on the very similar battles that we fought so many years ago. And beautifully defeated, with time, patience, loyalty, and always a healthy dose of unconditional love, which so gracefully covers all. 


About Amannda Maphies:

Amannda works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, is a boy mom to Liam (13) and Waylan (11), and enjoys freelance writing based on her travels, life adventures, and pretty much anything that stands out as ‘story-worthy’Manndi contributes to several online and written publications varying in content from single motherhood, raising teens, biblical perspectives, and inspirational/overcoming stories based on her unique life journey. She also enjoys a slice of journalism, writing for two local publications: Ozarks Farm and Neighbor and Connections Magazine. Manndi is proud to be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Believing in Angels (January 2022), and her first book was published in September 2022, Tales From My Mummy. Her writing is lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement, and always a touch of humor. “Live a life worthy of writing about,” is her life motto, which she strives to emulate daily.

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