A child entering a new stage in life can be bittersweet for parents. You may be excited to watch them grow up, but it can be emotional when you realize just how fast the years are flying by. Reaching the teenage years, though, is not for the weak. According to the Cleveland Clinic, adolescence marks the beginning of kids discovering who they are. This can be a lot for parents and teenagers to process. To help weather the storm, two moms share what they have learned about themselves while raising teenagers.

Elena Whitaker is a married mom to a 16-year-old boy. But this isn’t her first rodeo. Whitaker has 3 adult children, too. She says being a parent to a teenager today is equivalent to being a superhero.

“You go from being a mother to a counselor, to an emotional support group, to a fashionista, to a beacon of hope,’ Whitaker explained. 

Shambrica Curry is a single mother raising two teenagers, a 16-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son. She feels that raising teenagers can be challenging, especially when they are the opposite sex.

“You have a teenage girl finding herself and getting to womanhood in two more years. Then you have your boy and you’re having to teach him to become a man,” Curry said.

What Moms Can Expect

When it comes to raising a child of any age, you should expect to have good times and bad ones. Whitaker says no two days are ever the same with her son.

“We have a lot of good days, weird days (in his words), [and] days of action,” she said.

Some days, your child will be able to function independently without much help from you. But you will have those moments where checking in and asking if everything is ok is necessary. 

Curry agrees that some days will be better than others. 

“Sometimes it’s rocky, but it’s that way because they are getting older,” she explained.

Despite her children growing up, Curry says she is still able to maintain good relationships with them.

“They still feel comfortable coming and talking to me about whatever issues they have going on,” the mother said. 

Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to watching your kids get older. Whitaker says it is nice to see glimmers of yourself at that age in your child. On the other hand, your child is the ultimate adult report card, be it good or bad.

“What they demonstrate back is your scorecard on how well you’re doing in raising them,” Whitaker said.

If you begin to see behaviors that you don’t agree with in your child, she suggests figuring out the best way to correct it before they become adults.

For Curry, some of the advantages moms have of raising teenagers can also serve as disadvantages.

“The older they get, the less you have to be hands-on,” according to Curry.

They are able to start driving, cooking and working which can take some financial strain away from a parent.

“With driving, you worry about accidents and them going [to] the wrong places. Now they’re grown and going to college,” she said.

Curry says when the time comes, mothers have to trust they’ve instilled good practices in their children, and they will do the right things.

What Moms Can Work on

To have a successful relationship with anyone, including your children, communication has to be established. Whitaker says it’s vital for maintaining a good relationship with her son.

“We can never stop the flow of communication and how we best do that [is] to make sure we keep that open gateway with our children.”

Curry says counseling has been a saving grace in her home and helped guide her family to find resolutions.

Giving Grace

Whitaker encourages moms to observe, listen and know when to react to their children during this life transition.

“Create a safe and ‘no judgment zone’ space for them,” she said.

Curry wants moms to trust their teachings and guidance over the years.

“We’ll still look at them as our babies, but we have to allow them to grow and make their own mistakes,” Curry said.

Moms raising teenagers shouldn’t forget to extend that same grace to themselves. Whitaker encourages parents to be patient and recognize how easy it is to get frustrated with a teen. When all else fails, Curry says mothers should remind themselves that they are doing the best they can.

“It’s ok. You’re doing a great job. Just breathe. You’re not a failure,” she said.

Enjoy the small things. Appreciate those random hugs, laughing at funny videos, attending sporting events and simply seeing them thrive.