Parenting teens and tweens can be a lonely experience. You’re busy with your kids, your home, your job, and other responsibilities. Your house might be loud filled with the sounds of your kids.
But when you are done dealing with everyone else’s needs…is anyone there for you?
Finding support as a parent
When you first start out as a parent, there are many opportunities for making friends and asking for advice. You go to the park and chat with the other moms at the playground. Often we join baby groups and get to know other parents that way. I met one of my best friends out on a walk with my kids – I saw the other mom and her kids of a similar age, struck up a conversation…and ta da! Friends!
If you’re wondering how to toilet train, when to teach your baby to swim, or how to handle tantrums, plenty of other parents are at the park or at your mommy and me class, or waiting outside preschool, ready to chat and help you think about what to do.
As kids get older we join classes and teams and start school…and you meet fellow parents at practices, games, waiting outside the classroom or volunteering at school…there are lots of opportunities to get to know each other. When you have concerns about your kids’ behavior and academic progress there are lots of people around to talk to and give advice.
But as your kids get older, these opportunities start to vanish for several reasons. Schools need less volunteers. Kids don’t want you near their school, anyway. You start dropping off your kids for dance class and sports without walking in with them. Since you’re in the car…you don’t meet other parents.
Bigger kids = Bigger challenges
Plus, there is another big reason that you don’t ask other parents for help. As kids grow, their problems grow, too. Teenagers have problems such as drug experimentation, eating disorders, depression, relationship (and sex) issues, and more.
Parents can begin to feel like they aren’t supposed to talk to others about problems like these. It’s their child’s own business, and it can be very personal. It feels very different from when your kids are little.
I’ve done some reading about how other parents feel about the difficult life-stage of parenting teenagers. I particularly like this quote from writer Kathi Valeii in an article in The Washington Post,
“As I think about my own challenges parenting a teenager, and my accompanying silence, I feel complicit in a way for not being more open about all of it. My fear of being a parenting failure is an ominous shadow, and I can’t fathom enduring the criticism of another parent while I am so raw and tired. But I don’t want someone else to suffer for my silence.”
She put it so eloquently. I’m going to say it simply: parents need to stop hiding their struggles. We need each other.
Parenting tweens and teens with anxiety and depression
If you have a teen or tween suffering from anxiety or depression, there can be another layer of stress on you.
You try hard to parent your tween through their darkness and pain, but it can feel like you’re not making any progress. Worse, it can feel like your family is being consumed by the darkness.
Talking to others about it can help, but not only do you have all the reasons I listed above that make it hard to do so, but you also have the feeling that you don’t want to lay too much of this pain on your friend’s doorstep. You don’t want to be the friend that’s always complaining or always negative. So you stop talking.
Join my support group
If this resonates with you, please come join my support group on Facebook. It’s called Moms and Families of Tweens and Teens with Anxiety and Depression.
The support group is a place where you will find helpful articles, advice, and resources to help you parent your struggling tweens and teens. It’s also a place for conversation. Anyone is welcome to post a question and reach out for help or to just vent. And we will all be able to meet and interact with other parents who are in the same boat as us, which will hopefully help us all reduce our stress.
Please invite anyone that you think would benefit from this group. Experts in the mental health and natural wellness fields are also welcome!
Parents need a place to vent, feel heard, and get advice or else our own mental health can suffer.
If you don’t have a child suffering from mental health issues but you need some support as a parent, you are encouraged to like and follow me on Facebook at my regular Nourishing Tweens page. I am building a community for the parents of tweens and teens on Facebook and would love for you to join me. Parenting all tweens and teens is a challenge – we need to hold each other up!
And lastly, I’d love for you to join my Nourishing Tweens newsletter list. I have a mix of parenting resources, healthy recipes, travel tips, and fun! I’d love for you to join me on my journey.
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