· · · ·

How To Find Trustworthy Mom Friends When Parenting Teens

Being a mom is hard. Being a mom of a teen is dang hard. Being a mom of a particularly difficult teen is double-dang hard. 

But nothing can top the most difficult part of this parenting journey: A mom who gingerly pokes her head out of her shell to test out her challenging teen stories on a set of other teen moms, only to be gazed upon with unknowing, judgmental stares.

When a mom’s courageous vulnerability is met with a lack of compassion, back in the shell, she goes. And back into the isolation and loneliness she feels. 

What she must know – what is absolutely true – is that her difficult teen stories are experienced by so many. And she is, in fact, not alone. That is how the right circle of mom friends should make a mom feel when she is so far down in the parenting trenches. 

It’s so hard to find trustworthy mom friends when parenting teens. How does a mom really know when it’s safe to be vulnerable with those raw, personal, heartache-filled stories? Short answer: She doesn’t.  Long answer: She turns into an investigator, looking out for the tell-tale signs of trusting and true friends.

When I first learned about the powerful approach of being vulnerable, I am ashamed to say that I overused it. I made no distinctions between the sales clerk at Walgreens and my closest Aunt Jo; everybody got my tedious TMI of over-exposed sharing. 

Then I learned what Brené Brown, internationally-renowned shame and vulnerability researcher, had to say: “Hearing [our stories] is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” While I’m no Brené, I have learned the hard way that not everyone is safe – or deserving – of our sacred stories. 

I’ve compiled a list of signs that indicate I’m surrounded by the types of moms who will support me in my oh-so-tender teen parenting challenges. When these five signs have been satisfied, then and only then does someone earn the right to hear my story:

1) When I tell a story about what my teen did or said, my friends don’t look horrified. And – guess what? – they don’t look at me with pity, either. 

All I see in their eyes is compassion and kindness, a look of genuine interest and care. And if, after I receive that look, they open their mouths at all, it’s not “OH MY GOD!” and it’s not “You poor thing.” It’s more like, “I hear this, and I feel this.” And maybe, just maybe, she’ll grab my hand and say, “Me, too!” 

2) They have no qualms with highlighting their own kids’ faults.

There’s nothing wrong with a proud mama who does an occasional humble brag about the honor society her kid just got invited into. But at some point, that same mom best be lamenting over how their kid also made a terrible judgment call by posting inappropriate pictures on social media. The truth is that no teen is perfect. If my mom friends are holding back all their tough experiences with their teens, it might not be safe to share mine. 

3) They don’t respond to your vulnerability with trite, overused cliches.

 Is there anything worse? I find myself sinking further into despair when a rushed, upbeat platitude is blurted. Things like, “Don’t worry. Everything happens for a reason,” or “Remember to enjoy these moments. It goes too fast,” or “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!” Timing is everything, and when you’re on the ledge, these phrases do not help talk yourself back off it. 

4) There’s no preoccupation with fixing.

If I stumble upon a mom group who elevates themselves to “hero” status, placing me firmly and permanently in the “needs help” category, I know I’ve got something dysfunctional going on. Mom friends can be supportive without swooping in with advice or solutions all the time. Fixing doesn’t feel good when you’re down and out. Instead, listening does. Find mama friends who listen well.

5) Laughter.

They have to laugh. Just like holding back on sharing the tough stuff is a red flag, so is being so caught up in the negative that all perspective is lost. The mama friends who are safe to share my tough teen stories with have loads of perspective. They know the right time to cry with me. And they know the right time to crack up at the seemingly senseless pursuit of doing this thing called raising teens. (They also know the right time to send inappropriately funny memes on the subject matter). A sense of humor is not only helpful; it’s like medicine. The kind of mama friends I open up to spread it into conversation like a salve. 

Carry on, Mama In The Trenches, in your search to find true mom friends who show these five signs of support. There are so many of us who are going through hard parenting issues with our teens, and if we all keep isolating in our shells, we won’t be able to swap stories, laugh, cry, and prevent one another from committing a crime. We won’t be able to pull one another out of the trenches by the sheer power of listening and caring and knowing we are not alone. Inside that shell, we won’t see the armies full of countless mom warriors who are out there, all stressed out and trying so hard to be good moms.  Ultimately, we won’t have the support we so desperately need when parenting our tweens or teens.

And if you’re struggling to find those true and trustworthy friends, you will certainly find them in our very own Inner Circle moms group, which is a compassionate community of moms who are just like YOU. You will meet new mom friends who are going through their own hardships, and this is a safe space for all who join. Sheryl Gould, an expert parent coach, is our fearless leader who offers her wisdom and guidance with free weekly workshops and live coaching calls, helping us all with the specific parenting issues we are facing. In this group of moms, you will feel less alone in this crazy rollercoaster ride of parenting our teens. Come as you are- real, raw, and ready to receive all the support you need. You can go HERE to learn about joining the Inner Circle moms group!! It is currently open to new members until Thursday, November 2nd, 2023!!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this season of teen parenting, it’s that being a good mom doesn’t mean that my teens are without challenges. In fact, it almost certainly means they are, and I’m managing them all and surviving this season the best way I can.  So, moms of teens, know you are NOT alone with your challenges in parenting right now.

Similar Posts