Tag Archives: teenager

Invite a Friend to Dinner

As the parenting process nears the finish line, the single mom finds that she has less influence on the life of the teenager than the friends do. If the friends are welcome in the home, she has a better chance of finding out just what type of kids they really are. Unfortunately, the cost of keeping the refrigerator and snack cupboard will be escalated, but we have to remember that nothing in life is free.

Teenagers don’t talk about their friends. Well, they don’t gossip about their friends to mom, anyway. The single mom usually considers herself lucky if she is familiar with the names of her teenagers friends, let alone know anything about what type of influence the friend is having on her child. If your teen doesn’t bring friends around, maybe it’s time that you give them reasons to invite them over for a meal.

Don’t be surprised if the teen rejects the first attempt for you to meet friends. The teenager is going through a normal phase of having their own life. They are establishing their independence and their own identity. They may also be trying to avert any judgment of their friends by you.

You, as the parent, still have options. If your teen asks for permission to do something special with a friend, insist that you meet the friend before the special permission is given. Give your teen a date and time to invite the friend over for a meal, and ask for input on the menu. Eating together will give you an opportunity to learn a little bit about the friendship. It will also give your teenager a chance to learn a little more about the friend by seeing the person through your eyes.

Be careful about showing disapproval about the friend over the dinner. Afterward, unless you feel that the friend could be a dangerous influence on your teenager, refrain from making negative comments. This will only put your child into a position of having to defend the friend out of loyalty.

As your teenager and the friend realize that your home is an open and safe place for them, they will relax and give you an added glimpse into the life of the child you have raised. This may be one of the few opportunities you have to really get to know a teenager who responds to your questions with shrugs and grunts.



Do You Really Know Your Teenager?

Single moms who have diligently worked at keeping the lines of communication open and honest with their child since they learned how to talk often feel that they really know their child by the time they reach the finishing line, or those teenage years between 15 and 18. This provides mom with a relative feeling of security as the teenager grows to pursue activities outside of the home without the parenting tagging along as a chaperon.

The savvy single mom knows that they only know as much about the teenager’s life as the child is willing to share with her.

Teenagers can talk about their friends and even bring them home so that you can meet them. These are the friends and acquaintances that are ‘mom proof’. They are classmates, coworkers or other neighborhood peers that your child feels that you will approve of.

The teenager might also talk at length about their daily activities. But the smart single mom knows that all of this talk is only about the things their young adult is willing to share. As long as their day didn’t involve activities that required teachers, other parents, or law enforcement to contact you, you really have no way to know for sure what activities your child has become involved in.

Take heart. At least your teenager is still communicating with you. Many teenagers avoid having real conversations with mom at all.

So, how do you get a glimpse into your teenager’s real life if they are not willing to share?

A bit of detective work can help the mom know what’s going on in the world of a typical young adult by thumbing through magazines that are targeted to the ages and activities of their child. Take some extra time at the library or at the magazine rack of the grocery or department store on your next visit to see what’s trending. Become familiar with the popular music and pay attention to the lyrics. Watch the movies you child wants to see for themes and identify why that type of movie is so attractive to your teenager.

Know the local pitfalls that could cause a possible danger for your child. Is there a drug problem at the mall or on the school campus? What about gang activity? Know the signs that might give a hint that your child could be exposed to peer pressures that could be dangerous and take the steps necessary to protect your child.

Parents in the area with children in the same age group can also provide information on the realities of teenage life. Seek out these parents in the neighborhood, at work, church and other social functions. Your networking skills will pay off by the information you can glean from parents who are facing the same search.

Never forget that you are the parent. Teenagers want privacy and the single mom wants to respect that. Just make sure the teenager is aware that it’s your job to keep them safe, and you take any measures you deem appropriate to insure that you succeed.

Single Moms and Teenagers: Handling the Milestones Alone

Single moms often have to deal with special milestones alone, without a partner by their side. That can become especially tough as children become teenagers and the big milestones begin to roll in – the driver’s license, the prom, the first broken heart, and the graduation, just to name a few. Even if you are a single mom by choice, sometimes you want to share those special moments with someone who is special to you. It can be tough to turn to share the joy with someone and find that there is no one there…again.

So take steps to cope with the milestones and the emotion that comes with them by being prepared for that feeling of emptiness that will come from time to time for single moms. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Form a strong network of family and friends. Those you have around you during those most important milestones should be the same ones who have been with you through thick and thin. They will be able to boost you up when you’re down, celebrate with you when you’re happy, and be able to talk about being a single mom in ways that are compassionate and understanding.
  • Find a special friend who understands. Other single moms will understand the pressures and the needs you have at those times in your life that might be more emotional than others. Talk to other single moms who are in the same boat and learn to comfort each other when the situation calls for a hug or a friendly phone call just to “check in.”
  • Consider your reasons for being a single mom. If you are a single mom, you probably have good reason for it. You might have chosen against marriage or relationships for your own reasons. You might have been in a terrible situation and now you’re happy to be out of it. Perhaps you prefer your independence. Whatever the reason, you’re single right now, and that’s just how it is.
  • Celebrate in your own special way. My mother was a single mom for a long time, and so we formed our own traditions for those unique milestones. We would go to a midnight movie, just the two of us, with popcorn and cokes. It was a simple celebration, sure — but it was uniquely ours, and we loved the time we spent together. We were content to just focus that celebration on the two of us, and neither one of us ever missed having a third person around. We were perfectly complete as we were — just as you and your kids are.