Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting a Teenager in Your 50’s


Being an older parent has lots of perks. You’ve had more time to experience life, have an established career, and are often in a better position financially. Be that as it may, parenting at an older age presents some challenges as well. One of the biggest challenges older parents have to overcome, particularly with teenagers, is the generational gap.

What is a Generational Gap? 

Though the saying goes you’re only as old as you feel, the reality is that when you were born in relation to your children’s births can have a major impact on your parent-child relationship. This is especially true when your child becomes a teenager. Your views of the world, beliefs, values, politics, and actions are very different than current times which can cause a strain on your relationship with your teenagers. 

What Issues Does This Cause for Parents and Teens? 

How can the age difference between parent and child cause issues in their relationship? Unfortunately, there are a few things that can happen. Lack of understanding is likely the core issue. Society is constantly changing with time. When a parent was born in a different era from their child, the way they thought and behaved when they were growing up is drastically different from teens today. 

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These strong and very different viewpoints of life and society as a whole, create barriers that make it difficult for them to relate to their teenagers. They essentially expect their teenagers to think and act just as they did without understanding the newfound pressures kids face these days. Teens then feel judged or unheard and shy away from opening up to their parents. Some may even become resistant and defiant. 

How to Bridge the Gap

Seeing as how teenagers need their parent’s advice and guidance navigating everything from academic stress and peer pressure to mental health issues and teen substance abuse, it is imperative to find a way to bridge the gap and maintain a positive relationship with your teen. Here are some suggestions below: 

Understand Their World

The world and ways of life have changed from when you were a teenager. As such, you can’t expect your teenager to think or behave as you did when you were growing up. To bridge the generational gap, older parents need to educate themselves on their teen’s world. Find out what things are acceptable and which aren’t, what current culture is like, and what challenges teens face today.

Get to Know Your Teen

Yes, the morales, values, and beliefs you instilled in your children from an early age have an impact on who they are, but adolescence is the period in a child’s life where they begin to determine who they are. The more they’re exposed to, the more experiences they have, your teens are formulating their own opinions and marching to the beat of their own drum. 

If you want to bridge the gap and strengthen your relationship with your teen, it is imperative to have an understanding of who they are as individuals. Don’t compare them to yourself growing up or other teenagers, get to know your child. Talk to them daily, spend quality time together, listen without judgment, and support them in their interests. 

Learn to Compromise

Being too strict, putting your teen into a box, and restricting them from certain freedoms can backfire. While there are instances in which no simply means no, it is important that you keep an open mind and learn how to compromise with your teens on other matters. Compromising says that you understand, trust, and support your teen which can make the gap between you smaller. 

No matter what generation you grew up in, you can agree that your teenage years were some of the most trying. You’re trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in in the world while also trying to live up to the expectations of your parents and other adults. From remaining above the influence and loving who they are to preparing for college and managing finances, your teenager needs you now more than ever. So, make it easier for them to come to you for assistance by bridging the gap and building a strong bond.

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Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting a Teenager in Your 50’s
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