Parenting teens can be hard, much harder than any of us expected. One of the reasons it can be so challenging is NOT because of the kids but because of changes happening in our lives.
While our kids are growing up we are surrounded and supported by other parents, pediatricians, teachers and coaches. Every day we see other parents as we drop our kids at school, take them to activities or watch them play sports. As our kids enter their teen years, the most difficult and consequential years of parenting, this support fades from our lives.
Our teens start to take public transportation or drive themselves so we are not there at practice pick up or drop off for a play date, and we interact less with other parents. Our teens speak for themselves with teachers and coaches (as it should be) and go in and see their doctors privately, so our access to these experts begins to diminish, just when we need them the most.
We lose community just when the challenges of parenting are the greatest. And, we hear from parents all the time that raising teens and college kids can be a very lonely experience.
What happens when nearly 100,000 parents gather together and talk about the challenges and great joys of parenting teens and college kids? AMAZING STUFF.
We think this is part of the reason Grown and Flown Parents has grown meteorically. In the group parents find community. compassion, answers to their questions and maybe even more valuable, answers to questions they had not even thought to ask. So often in parenting, we don’t know what we don’t know, and with a large and supportive community, we find out.
In Grown and Flown Parents members ask questions that they have no place else to ask either because they know no one in their real life who has had the same experience or their community has begun to fade away.
The heartbeat of Grown and Flown Parents is the anonymous questions. Here parents have a chance to ask questions, the really hard questions, while still protecting their or their kids’ privacy. And they find love, answers and thousands of parents who have already experienced what they are going through.
But the single most important thing about Grown and Flown Parents is that we span every geographic, religious, ethnic, racial and political group and are a place where, even in these highly charged times, parents are reminded that there is more that unites than divides us.
Grown and Flown Parents have meetups all over the country and new communities and friendship have blossomed among those whose paths might never have crossed. Making new friends as our kids head towards adulthood is not always an easy thing, but in this community new and lasting bonds have been formed.
Here are a few stories about Grown and Flown Parents that we shared with the members’ permission. The group protects its privacy very carefully, but these stories were happily shared by the member who wrote them.
Moms come into Grown and Flown Parents to celebrate. Rhonda Myers’ son Dane was drafted by the MLB and he was starting his first game halfway across the country. She appealed to anyone local to the game to go in her stead and cheer her son on. What the group did was above and beyond and for the rest of the summer Dane had home cooked meals and his own cheering squad.
Moms come into Grown and Flown Parents to seek help. It can be a teen stuck in an airport because of a cancelled flight or needing a room when a college is evacuated because of a hurricane. Group members step up to help. Sometimes the teen needs help getting to the pharmacy in a small town in Alaska, and yep, one of our members is there to be a “stand in Mom” or they need help and advice about the stress or depressions their teen is feeling.
Moms come into Grown and Flown Parents to share the joy of their husband, who has been very ill, arriving to “tap out” their son at his graduation from Air Force basic training. This one made the TODAY show, warning tears ahead.