Parenting teens: why it’s so lonely

Parenting teens can be an isolating experience. As parents, we often feel alone in the ups and downs of parenting teenagers and it can be difficult to talk to other parents who are not going through the same challenges and emotions as us. In this blog post, I’ll look at why it can be so lonely to be a parent of teenagers and how to cope with the loneliness that sometimes comes with parenting teens.

They’re not babies any more

As parents, we are used to our kids needing us for everything – from nappy changes to homework support and friendship issues. But as our kids transition into teenagers, it can feel like a lonely experience for parents as children start to take on more themselves. Our teenage children are still dependant on us in many ways, but it is no longer the same kind of relationship. We can see our kids growing and maturing, becoming more independent and making decisions for themselves.

It can be hard to come to terms with the idea of our children growing up and not needing us as much. For many parents, this can lead to feeling lonely and excluded, as if they don’t have a role in their children’s lives anymore. This can be especially true as teens start spending more time with friends and family activities start to take a back seat. (Does anyone else miss movie night?)

It is important for parents to remember that while their children may not need them in the same way as when they were younger, they still do need them. As a lonely parent, you can still have an active role in your teen’s life by being supportive and providing guidance. Remember that your teen still needs you, just in a different capacity now.

Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash

Their friends become their world

Being a parent of teenagers can be an incredibly lonely experience. As your child grows and develops into a young adult, their world increasingly becomes filled with friends, activities, and interests that have little to do with you.

While there may still be times when your teen confides in you or wants to spend time with you, it is common for them to become more distant and less involved in your life. This can leave parents feeling confused and uncertain of their place in their child’s life.

It can be difficult to cope with the feeling of not being needed by your teen. But it’s important to remember that this is a natural part of the parenting process. Your role as a parent changes as your child matures and eventually, they will come back around.

Encourage healthy independence in your teen and look for other ways to connect with them. Keep open communication and show them love and support even when they don’t return it. Understand that this stage of parenting is temporary, and your child will still need you in some capacity, even if it looks different than it did before.

You’re not their friend

The days of your children wanting to spend time with you are over and it can be hard to accept. Even if you try to talk to them about their day, ask about their friends, or take an interest in what they’re doing, you may not get the response you’d hoped for. Your teenage child is no longer interested in spending time with you, instead preferring to hang out with their friends. You’re now mostly looking in from the outside.

The transition from being a beloved family member to being an outsider can be difficult for parents of teenagers. But while your teen may not say it out loud, they need you in their lives as much as ever, even if it doesn’t look like it. However, your role has changed and it’s important to understand that your teen needs space and independence. They need to be able to make their own decisions and stand on their own two feet. That means making mistakes, but also learning valuable lessons that will shape who they become in the future. It’s what we’ve raised them for!

It may feel lonely being a parent of teenagers, but it’s important to remember that you still have an important place in their lives. Take comfort in knowing that you’re providing your teen with a solid foundation of love and support, even if they don’t show it outwardly.

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

They’re embarrassed by you

As a parent of teenagers, you may find yourself in the unenviable position of being an embarrassment to your kids. It’s natural to want to give them privacy, but the truth is that most teens would rather have their parents out of sight. This can lead to uncomfortable situations when you’re trying to be supportive but they’re too embarrassed to have you around. This embarrassment can manifest in different ways; they may try to keep their distance or make excuses as to why they can’t do things with you. They may avoid introducing you to their friends and limit the amount of time you spend together as a family.

It’s important for parents of teenagers to recognise these signs and respect their children’s wishes for privacy, even if it means that you feel lonely and isolated. Your teen’s embarrassment doesn’t mean that they don’t love you, it just means that they are trying to find their own way in the world and form their own identity. As their parent, it’s your job to provide them with a safe space where they can be themselves without feeling judged or embarrassed.

You may also feel disconnected from your kids when it comes to their fashion choices, music taste, and the way they speak. This is all part of the process of growing up, so try not to take it personally. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your teen will still appreciate the guidance and advice that you offer, even if they don’t admit it. With enough patience and understanding, you can find a way to bridge the gap between yourself and your teenager and make sure that they know that you love them no matter what.

They’ve moved on, but you haven’t

As a parent of teenagers, it can be difficult to keep up with the changing pace of their lives. Your teenager may find themselves becoming involved in activities, interests, and social circles that you can no longer relate to. As they progress into young adulthood, you may find yourself feeling like an outsider or feeling left behind.

It’s not uncommon for parents to feel a bit disconnected from their teenagers as they move away from childhood and into the world of adulthood. It can be especially difficult when your teenager no longer wants to talk to you about their day-to-day life and experiences. They may seem distant and uninterested in you, and that can hurt!

It can be a difficult process for the lonely parent to learn how to accept their growing child and all of the changes that come along with it. It’s important to remind yourself that this is all part of your child’s journey, and you can still take part in it in different ways. You can still offer support, love, and encouragement, even if your teenager isn’t interested in talking to you every day. Allowing them to have space while still making sure they know you’re there for them is a delicate balancing act that can often make lonely parents feel helpless.

They grow up too fast

Being a parent of teenagers can be particularly lonely because it can feel like time is flying by and before you know it, your children are grown up. As a parent of a teenager, you may have moments of grief as you witness your child move away from childhood activities and relationships and into adulthood. You may feel like you’re losing them too quickly and that’s an understandable feeling for any parent. It can be difficult to adjust to the fact that your little ones are no longer little and they’re growing up faster than you could have ever imagined. This can leave many parents feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation as they struggle to cope with their children’s growing independence. With each passing day, they’re becoming more and more independent and it can be hard not to feel left behind. It’s important to remember that this is all a part of growing up and that although your child may no longer need your guidance as much as they used to, you’ll always be their parent.

You’re the bad guy

One of the hardest parts of parenting is becoming the bad guy. Teens are often in their own world, wanting to do their own thing, and you’re the one who has to tell them no. No matter how hard you try, you’re always the one who has to enforce the rules and set boundaries. You have to be the one to tell them when they have to do their homework or turn off their electronics for the night. This can be a hard pill to swallow for parents of teens, as you watch your children struggle with growing up and trying to find their way in the world. It can be hard to be the one who says no when all you want to do is make things easier for them. It’s important to remember that setting limits and enforcing boundaries is all part of being a loving parent. By doing this, you are teaching your teen responsibility and giving them the skills they need to grow into successful adults.

You don’t understand them

For many parents, the feeling of not understanding their teens is the most isolating part of the parenting journey. This lack of understanding can leave a lonely parent feeling confused, frustrated and like they are failing at parenting. It’s important for parents to remember that this is a natural part of the teenage years and that it doesn’t mean they’re doing anything wrong or have failed in any way.

The key is to stay connected with your teen as much as possible, even if you don’t always understand them. Talk to them, listen to them, and be open to trying new things that might help bridge the gap between you. Even though it can be lonely, try to take comfort in knowing that these are just temporary feelings that will eventually pass as you both adjust to the changes that come with being a parent of teens.

Do you sometimes feel lonely as a parent of teens? Let me know in the comments – I’m betting there’s more of us than we imagine!

6 thoughts on “Parenting teens: why it’s so lonely”

  1. Hi Helen,
    just read through your page regarding to cope with teens- it felt like you truly know what parents go through and yes it feels lonley, yes I feel like a failure as a mother. Even to the extent of not accepting the fact that my child is mine and I have the responsibility towards him. Thank you for the valuable notes and information and advice that you have provided. It’s such a help. May God bless you.

    • Hi Jenifer, thanks for your comment. It’s really important to me that people can feel a bit less alone when they land here. Raising teenagers is hard, but we’ve made it this far, we just have to trust ourselves that we can also grow to cope with whatever comes next xx

  2. I’m a single parent to 3 boys. 12,14 and 16 and it’s incredibly lonely. I don’t know what to do with my time and not having a partner or anyone to hangout with makes it’s even more isolating. How do I find people in the same boat to connect to now I’m 46.

    • Hi Ceri, thanks for commenting. I hear you, it’s hard finding new people when we’ve been so immersed in our family’s needs for so long – they’re all-consuming! I’ve had to be brave and join new things, now that I’m able to be out on evenings and weekends again (that’s the joy of teenagers, at least!) I’m getting to know people in my choir, and finding people I’m connected to online locally who have a dog and will walk with me. Gradually I’m building up my connections and some are turning into friendships. Someone recommended volunteering to me as well, to find a like-minded group of people. It all takes time, which we don’t have huge supplies of! But I’ve started to put myself first more often – and that takes practice after only thinking of the kids for so long!
      Good luck Ceri, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and look at what a great job you’ve done getting three boys to this stage on your own!

  3. Hi
    Your page is very reliable so thank you! I miss my oldest daughter terribly, not just because she now talks to me like dirt but because i miss the person she used to be. This phase of parenting isn’t something we talk about so it’s nice to know I’m not alone!
    Take care.

    • Sorry to hear it’s tough going Lindsay, I get it. This stage is hard for us and the kids too, and we all go through it. It will come good x


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