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If you're a parent to a teenager, you've most probably come to terms with how tricky this phase of parenting is, especially when your teenager is on the cusp of adulthood.

As a parent, the line between how you've been parenting them in the early teen years and now as they enter adulthood is blurred and can be confusing and frustrating at the same time.

Most advice on parenting covers younger children and of course that's understandable since at that stage as parents we are new to parenting. And as we grow as a parent and as our children grow as well, we anticipate that we'll get better at it and know how to handle whatever may come before us.

We underestimate the fact that just because we were once teenagers, we'd know how to deal with our own teenagers. And when we arrive at that phase, we realize that it can't be further from the truth. It's like a whole different world - parenting teenagers - that not many parents are not prepared for, me included.

mom talking to teenage daughter

As a single mom to a boy, I always knew my journey as a parent would be slightly different but never did I imagine that I would struggle during the teenage phase more than any other phase. Not only was it just a struggle, but that struggle caused a lot of frustration and heartache for myself, and even for my son.

It was like we were happily living life one day, then suddenly we were clashing on so many different levels. In my mind I was like "What the hell happened?", "What did I do wrong?", What am I doing wrong?". It was so hard for me.

What hurt me the most was that we have always been close, like really close, and even in his early to mid-teenage years, I tried hard to maintain that closeness, and I know he did too, his life was taking him in all different directions but he made the effort. I realize that the teenage years are a wonderful phase for my teenager and I let him experience it.

As much as I wanted to shelter him as I've always done, I knew that it was good for him to experience life the way he should within the boundaries that we had set together.

As your teenagers grow older, you start to really see the person that they are becoming. It can make your heart swell and it can scare you a little. You may be proud and you may be a little concerned.

My son is a good kid, I'm very proud of the young man that he is, no complaints here. He is very mature for his age, intelligent, funny, determined, and has life goals that I envy, he's not afraid to say it as it is and stand up for himself, but on the other side, he is also a risk-taker, always wanting to push the boundaries to see how far it can take him, and this scares me sometimes.

Some might take it as a good thing as he ventures into adulthood, but some might say that this might get him into trouble. I can only hope that it works out well for him. That it will turn into one of his strengths.

With that said, we know that our teenagers go through a lot during their teenage years, emotionally, physically, and mentally. As they grow older, they are overwhelmed with life goals - what they expect for themselves and what others expect of them. It's tough, especially when they themselves are unsure of what they want in life! Quite honestly as a 17 or 18 or 19 or even as a 20-year-old, not many know! I applaud those who do but even at my age, I'm still struggling to know what I really want for myself!

I have a lot of compassion for what my teenager is going through, especially in terms of getting into college, and exams, and finding his path beyond it. Every parent should have compassion for their teenagers. To truly understand. Do you want them to just roll with what life serves them or do you want them to blaze their own trail?

The decisions my son is making for his future are not an easy task. He's trying to figure it out, sometimes alone, sometimes with help. No matter what, the one thing that I always, always tell him is that whatever decisions he makes, I will support him. Sometimes, those decisions might not align with what I believe would be ideal, but I will still support him. He might find success which is what I will always hope for him. Then again, he might make mistakes and fail, but he will learn from these mistakes.

Whatever it is I will support him fiercely. I will have his back and support him. I will stand beside him, I will stand behind him. I will be his support when he wins and I will be his support when he falls.

I have told him time and time again, he has my support, and he knows this very well. I see him going through life with confidence and his head held high because he knows that whatever may happen, he has my undying support.

You should support your teenager in whatever way you can. Accept your teen as the unique individual they are. It's important to remember that your teenager is separate from you; they have their own hobbies, pet peeves, viewpoints, and desires. They need you to support them as they make this transition into adulthood. Support, guide, and stand by them, no matter what.

To my son (if you ever read this), keep on blazing that trail of yours and reach for the stars!

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mom and teenager daughter


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