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Part 2 Series: Once A Mother, Always A Mother – Surviving Adolescence As A Mother
Grace & Aging - Tan headshot
Debbie Henry
May 6, 2021

This is part two in a three part series of “Once a Mother Always A Mother”….and then there is adolescence.

Mother and Son

Definitions of Adolescence

If you look up the definition of adolescence, there are several and no two are alike. However, the one thread that seems to be true in each definition is that this is a period of time when the child transitions to an adult. There are various stages of this time period and as a Mother, we lived thru them all. While our child was trying to adjust to their role of becoming independent, so as a Mother we were learning to change our role in their life. This was not something that happened suddenly, it was a gradual process.

Adolescence is a time of internal conflict.

This was a time when, as a Mother, you knew absolutely nothing! At least, that is what your child thought. You left the phase of catering to your young child’s every need and had entered the phase where they wanted nothing to do with you in their life.  People told us it would come, but none of us ever believed it would happen to us.  Don’t get me wrong, they still wanted you to “DO” everything for them during this time, but wanted nothing to DO with you. This is also a time when as a Mother we seemed to experience more conflicts.  Our child began finding their own logic and reason and began wanting answers, when in the past they took your answers without question. They began forming their own set of values. You had laid the ground work, but now it was a time when you had to learn to guide them from a distance, and pray a lot. The phase of adolescence they were in, and their personality, depended on how much you guided.

Enjoying The Fun Times of Adolescence

There were lots of fun times during this phase.  Your child may have been involved in sports, fine arts, school clubs, church groups or scouts, just to name a few.  But no matter what they did you were there, cheering them on.  If you could help it, you didn’t miss a game, performance, or anything else.  We wanted to be there more than anywhere.  You remember.

Mother Teaching Her Teen To Drive.
Driving and Adolescence

Then they began driving, and we thought we would have a nervous breakdown. We went through them practicing driving,  taking their test, and learning to drive…then they were gone. Once again, we knew nothing.  We asked the questions of “where are you going?”, “who are you going with?” and “when will you be home?”  When we did this, you thought we were trying to draw blood from them and were the nosiest person in the world.  But we did it anyway, because we were scared and we too were navigating this phase of letting go.

Remember the dances?  The proms?  You wanted it to be perfect for them.  You wanted them to go with that special person.  But, they had a different idea.  They may not have wanted to go at all.  We learned that our child had their own idea of what this phase of their life was supposed to look like…and it may not have been like ours.  But, we swallowed our pride and because we wanted them happy, we supported them choosing the completely opposite prom dress than we would have chosen.

Graduation from High School

The next thing we knew, we were listening to our child, talk about what they would do when they graduated from high school.  We knew what we wanted them to do, but remember…..? They now had their own reasoning.  Some would go to college and some would not.  But, if we did our job, they would not be staying in our home for much longer.  They would make a way for themself and we would find ourself redefining our definition of “Mother” again.

And before long, we would be an “empty nester”.


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