Help! I’m About to Have a Teenager


I have been dreading this for a while now.

I’m honestly a little scared about it, and I don’t think I am ready.

After all, I’m waaaaay too young, and teenagers are scary.

Yep, that’s right, my oldest is about to turn 13, and I am freaking out a little bit.

raising teenagers: entering the teen years and learning how to parent a teenager

I mean, looking back, I loved the baby and toddler stages. True, in the beginning, there were times I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, and the sleep-deprivation wasn’t fun in the slightest, but I felt like I was in my element.

As the boys got older and started talking and picking up some of my idiosyncrasies, it became clear they were truly little sponges. This, more than ever, made me question each and every one of my parenting decisions.

I must admit, the older my boys get, the harder the parenting gets, and the more I second guess myself.

It is so weird to see this little life that once was growing inside you, turn into someone you can picture as an adult. Don’t get me wrong, I am so proud of what I am seeing, but raising a healthy, happy adult is completely exhausting.

As a single mom, this weight feels a bit heavier for me. Fortunately, I’m very close to my parents, and they are a really big help.  

Part of what scares me is remembering my own teenage years. I was a pretty darn good girl, but boy was I snarky, and moody, and thought my parents knew nothing. From my perspective back then, they only wanted to ruin my life with their endless rules. Now, of course, I can look back and see exactly why they made some of the decisions they did. I can see my son’s reaction to some of my rules with a certain amount of deja vu.

These days, however, there are so many more things a parent has to consider. Social media and technology in general being very hot topics in parenting today. Luckily, I feel slightly more informed than some because I teach preteens and have a leg-up on some of the current trends.

It’s both exciting, and very, very scary.

I definitely want to give my kids the kind of upbringing that brings them into adulthood as healthy, happy, productive members of society. Quite honestly, that can be overwhelming at times.

I want my boys to be able to come to me with any issue they may be having. That means keeping the dialogue open between us is a huge priority. At the same time, I also want them to know, that my first job is to be their parent, not their friend. They may not like all the decisions that I make, but that’s okay, they don’t have to.

Now that I am entering this stage in my kids’ life, it scares the living daylights out of me. As a woman of faith, the practice of praying for my kids is important. I rely heavily on God for His protection and help in making the right choices.

This parenting thing is hard. Even though I am a single mom, I don’t feel alone when I give the things I can’t control over to God in prayer.

All that being said, worry still creeps in from time to time. Since my oldest is turning 13, there’s a lot of parenty things on the horizon: driving, keeping up grades, jobs, girlfriends, rebellion, angsty teenager stuff.

I will continue to pray, read parenting articles, seek wise advice, and do my best to put good practices in place to try and make this stage easier. To me, this is a much scarier stage than any of the others, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be bad.

Moms of teenagers, what are your best tips or tricks as I head into this next phase of parenting?

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Jennifer is a single mom of two boys. She does her best to get to places on time, despite being a chronically late person and the fact that neither she or her boys are morning people. She recently went back into the classroom after staying home for nine years to raise her kids, and she credits her sanity and success at this endeavor to the fact that she has incredibly supportive parents, family, and friends. She also has a network of single moms that truly “get it” and who encourage her on a daily basis. When she’s not hanging out with her kiddos, Jennifer enjoys writing at a coffee shop, trying new restaurants, or catching up with friends.


  1. The thing with teens is it’s time to loosen their leash, which also means it’s time for you as parent to listen more than ever before & think with savvy more than ever before. This means you have to figure out conversation makers (hot tub time, hikes, walk the dog with them, share cookies after school, eat dinner together, hang out while they fold their laundry or while they clean their room … anything that shows you’re available; then they will talk)


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