Moms of teens don’t blog. Oh wait! Yes, we do! So why are we so under represented everywhere?

I have a ten year old. By definition now, she is considered a tween. In addition to her I also have two teenage boys. A senior in high school and a sophomore in high school. Teenagers. Teens. Those who are not babies and not yet adult people. They are those who still live at home.

So where are the websites, resources, and “expert blog sites” for me? Does parenting end at 8 or 9? I proposed this question to someone who was touting their new blog farm as “The Go To Site For Parents of babies, toddlers and beyond!”  But I am guessing “and beyond” means up to 8. (Surprisingly, I got no response when I asked about their huge missing demographic of teens.)

In 2005 I spoke on the first mommyblogger panel at BlogHer. My kids were 10, 8 and 3. Today’s dream demographic for blogs and marketers! There are websites, blogs, magazines etc all dedicated to those ages. But guess what happened. Go on. Guess.

Did you guess they grew up? Bingo. Those kids are now the teens and tween. You see, these adorable babies and toddlers and young grade school kids grow up. And you want want to know what there is out there for the parents of these now older kids.

Not a damn thing. Squat. Nada.

Busymom wrote about it.

Cursingmom wrote about it.

JoanneGlenniaBeth,  Deb, and I sat and talked for hours at BlogHer’11 about how under represented parents of teens are online. How much marketers, magazine blogs and the latest in “blog farms” are missing out by ignoring such a huge demographic. (Trust me when I say I spend a helluva lot more on my tweens and teens than I ever did on the kid toys. WAY more!)

With one post on Busymom’s site commenters (parents of tweens and teens) agreed how sad it is to have such little representation out there.  I am talking about well known, long time bloggers like LizMelisa, Headless Mom, MelissaShannon, Cheryl,  Robyn, Babybloomr…those are just a few moms who piped up in agreement.

A big “argument” about why there are not many sites about teens is because our children no longer want us to write about them.(Your precious little one probably doesn’t you to be writing about them either, but that is a totally different topic.)  I am not talking about writing about their lives like we did when they were children without a voice to tell us to stop. I am talking about resources, advice, support.  When  newborn cries, there are usually only a handful of things that can be wrong. (I know there are exceptions.) With a teenager? Oh for the love of all things moody, hormonal and life changing there could be a million things. But even if it isn’t “What’s wrong?” there are things that we– as parents of teens– would love to have support with.

  • School.
  • Driving.
  • Health.
  • Dating.
  • Parties/gifts.
  • Changing relationships.
  • Jobs.
  • Cars.
  • College.
  • Etc, etc.

Unless you have a support system, you are on your own figuring it out.

I have also heard that marketers are trying to directly hit the teen market rather than go through parents. I call bullshit on that one. Where do they think these teens and tweens are going to get the money? It’s called the bank of Mom and Dad. To try to bypass us is ridiculous. And very, very short sighted. It doesn’t help when a company who is trying to reach out to parents of teens use parents whose children haven’t even hit the double digits as spokespeople. Isn’t that kind of like asking a man to tell  you what labor feels like?

I actually got an email from a PR rep that first mentioned that “even though your kids are still very young….” (tuned out right there) blah blah blah “and I have found there are so few bloggers with teens these days.” The hell? What Internet have you been on. I can give you a list of over 70 and still not have a complete list.

Those little kids on the adorable mommyblogs are going to become tweens and teens. Those adorable little Pampers wearing cherubs will become moody little strangers. Then what?  To quote cursingmama, “The Internet is no place for parents of teens.”

What do you think? Do you want your voice heard? Do you want more resources? Do we storm the gates trying to get the current market to listen or do we do it ourselves?  Just as we had to fight the whole “mommy bloggers aren’t worth our time” situation almost 8 years ago. (Now? They are are holy grail of bloggers. And yes, I am going to say that those who now have tweens and teens did help pave the way to that reality.) Is this our new stand? I’d love to hear from you! Share your blog. Share what you want to see. What do you think about the representation of tweens & teens– or under representation?

If they aren’t able to meet our needs,  do we do it ourselves and pave the way for the Pampers generation to come? Again?

45 Comments

  1. There ARE ways to write about teenagers without giving away too much or embarrassing them. My boys were already tweens/teens when I started blogging, so I never had any of those “oversharing tendencies” that some bloggers with young kids do (and then the subsequent “oh my gosh, how do I transition from sharing everything to sharing very little?”).

    I totally agree that there are way more of us parents of teens who blog than is perceived by the general public. It’s unfortunate that so many parenting websites are ignoring that fact. We need to band together, dude!

  2. Another mom of a tween and a teen. My husband and I have worked with middle and high school kids for over 20 years and parents NEED more resources. Parenting is always hard, but it just gets more complicated as they grow up. You are trying to prepare your teens to be independent while not letting go of the reins too soon. Ack. I agree that I spend way more money on them. I spend it, not them. They might buy little stuff (I don’t want to discuss how much money we’ve given Itunes) but most purchases go through us.

  3. Yes, yes and yes! I am realizing that there is definitely not as much out there for teen mommy bloggers. Yes, we are still mommy bloggers, but our kids are not in diapers anymore. Start the revolution Jenn, I am with you!

  4. I’m a mom blogger with a teen daughter who is actually also a blogger. I have also witnessed marketers going straight to targeting teens over the parents. I guess they figure the teens will convince their parents to buy what they like.

  5. When I started blogging, my kids were 12 and 16, now at 18 and 22, there are even less resources for older parents facing empty nests. I still get PR pitches for baby items when it’s plain I haven’t had babies in MANY years. Melisa and Sue are only a couple of bloggers I know with kids close in age to mine. We really are an under-represented demographic.

  6. I’m a blogger mom of a teenager and I am glad that I’m not the only one who feels like this. I always feel like I am out of place online. Back when my daughter was a toddler not only was blogging new but, people in my age group were not having kids yet. Now, the people in my age group are just starting to have kids and I have a teenager. I am always looking for advice on how to handle certain situations with my daughter but, finding people with these experiences in one place is almost impossible. Maybe we need a parents of tween / teens message board or something.

  7. I completely agree. As my daughter turns 13 in about 9 months, I have not found a lot of good information. It’s extremely hard to have that support. The truth is that not only does she get money from me but she also gets my final say on items that she purchases. She takes into account my opinion as well. These companies are definitely missing out big time!!

  8. Tara R.-Yes! on the empty nest thing, but also? How to cope when they come back! Eek! Let me tell you, that is an adjustment right there.

    You know I’m with you Jenn!

  9. I didn’t start blogging until all my kids were in school, at the time elementary and middle; now, six years later, I have two in high school and my oldest just began her freshman year in college. Honestly, it’s always amazed me how moms of littles had time to blog beyond posting cute photos; I remember those years as non-stop, time-demanding years. Could I have written? I have no idea.

    Some of my best writing is about my children, though I *have* to write from my perspective, not theirs. My oldest demands privacy; the boys, not so much (especially if it’s funny). BUT my blog doesn’t have huge traffic knocking down the door and few in the demographic are seeing those posts :). Don’tcha hate it?

    Simple Mom asked me to join her site as a contributor for Parenting Teens; most every time I publish, commentors say how glad they are to have someone writing about that demographic for the same reasons you’ve mentioned here.

    In October, I’m writing a series “31 Days of Parenting Teens” (in conjunction with another blogger initiative of writing about something for 31 days); we’ll see if it gains traction.

    Cause mercy, we’ve learned a lot through the years, huh?

    🙂

  10. Ladies, I think we are onto something here. I know lots of bloggers with teens. WE could create an awesome resource site! Power of numbers!!

  11. Specifically, what’s lacking to me are the “been there, done (or, are doing) that” voices as opposed to the experts who’ll pop up after you say something like this and want to market their online safety, bullying and body changes advice.

    While those are all worthy topics done mostly by cool, dedicated people, that’s not really the nuance I feel is missing out there.

  12. I’m with Jo-Lynne!

    I do think the powers that be are marketing directly to teens, but I agree that the bank of mom and should not be ignored.

  13. My three under two are now 14 and 15 years old. I feel like I’ve become an outsider in the blog world. I would love to connect with more mothers of teens. My needs and interests are very different from what they were 8 years ago.

  14. My oldest is almost 10 (she’s gonna officially be a tween? Hold me!), and my other one is 5. One reason I really have never blogged about them is because I always felt that I’d get swallowed up in the massive number of mommy blogs, that I really couldn’t offer anything original or unique, and I didn’t really feel the pull to. You Jenn, were the first blog I started reading regularly. Years ago. And you and the other Mommy bloggers that joined together in my bookmarks folder, or my RSS feed, seemed to say everything that needed said, so I was (and am) content with that. But I’ve long figured when my kids got older, then maybe I’ll finally follow my urge to start a blog, because there’s not such a rush of them out there already. I do think there needs to be more for parents of older kids. I was trying to find answers to a question I had about my almost 10 year old, and I could hardly find anything, so I know what you’re talking about!

  15. I’ve spoken about the unmet need for resources for parents of teens a lot lately. I blogged it, I Google+ about it, I even got snippy on Twitter (and snipped back at actually). It is such a frustrating subject and you have summarized the issue well – hopefully something will happen sooner rather than later, because my days as a mother of a teen are numbered (16 & 19 – how did THAT happen) and then I’ll probably need some advice on how to deal with them when they’re in their 20’s.

    I believe a big piece of the equation is that those who are “popular” are those who power the internet landscape in the area of parenting and most of them aren’t parents of teens. Unfortunately, from my point of view at least, these bloggers tend to identify more with the teens themselves than us parents and aren’t the best source of information or advice.

    As for what I’d like to see, it would be less from the so-called experts (doctors, psychologists, counselors, etc..) and more from those of us in the trenches who are just trying to raise kids that make awesome adults.

  16. I felt lost in the sea of mommy bloggers when I entered the sea of blogging because my daughter was already grown and a teen.

    This has ALWAYS been an unmet need. Not at all news to me. But glad to see others talking about it. Now that my daughter is 23. LOL

  17. I agree – sort of – and mine are 18-22. I think the marketing turns to the kids – and that as parents yes we make the decisions to spend the money, but our kid’s opinions are important on what to buy. Get the kids to sell it to the parents because if it isn’t cool to them they dont want it. I’m sure it’s also a numbers game that will change as those with babies get older…

    Look at Invisalign teen and the Mom Advisory Board – (disclosure I’m a member) – working with the parents because thats something that definitely involves the parent decision making. What video games to buy? all them – with parental approval.

    Now resources, yes, I agree there need to be so many more of them and much of my online time is spent chatting with friends about tweens and teens and “what did you do”. Marketing to moms will happen only when it makes sense to sell the parents over the child.

  18. I totally agree with you. I never had time to blog when my little ones were little. I tried and failed over and over. It wasn’t until my older ones were in school that I found time.

    I have a 13yo and often feel odd when so much marketing focuses on the younger set, and as my kids just get older and older (I wish they would stop growing already!) I see it more and more.

    I would love to see a collective blog for teens and their parents. It’s sorely needed.

  19. As a mom of 3 teens (as of January 2012) and a 10 year-old (although, being the youngest, you could probably pretty much call her a teen, too) I am sick (and tired) of the dismissive way parents of older kids are treated online (and off) and personally would love to see a “been there, done that” type of surviving the teen years blog.

    Marketing to teens has its advantages, because my teens are constantly trying to convince me why they “need” a particular brand.

    That’s when this mom hits the internet to check it out for herself.

    We have a voice…crotchety, tired-out and strained as it may be…and, having just re-booted after going without power/internet for an entire week, thanks to Hurricane Irene, guess who missed the internet most. Go ahead, I’ll wait!

  20. Hi Jenn!
    I’ve been out of the blogging world for a while (I think only Liz may remember me!) but have been lingering around mostly as a lurker. I’ve got to agree with you 100%. I have two daughters – 15 & 11. It’s hard to find a place online where I can discuss age specific issues. In fact, one HUGE issue has been for my 15 yr old and her (now former) BFF. It was so freaking painful to watch my daughter go through ALL the issues and BS that surrounds BFF break-ups. I would have LOVED a place to get advice or support. I had no one to discuss it with in “real life” . [/soapbox]

    I’d love to be a part of ANYTHING that is (or may be) set up! It’s time for us BOTs (Bloggers of Teens) to make a stand!

    : )

  21. Pingback: Mom of Teen-Age & Tween Girls | Katespot

  22. I found your blog by searching for blogs in the DFW area. My family and I will be moving to the Rowlett area soon and I wanted to see if I could possibly find a group of moms I could talk to before and after we move there.

    I am a mom of 2 teenage boys that are not biologically mine. Their biological mom is deceased. This makes being a mom to them harder than normal. One of them has put the family through hell by doing things that are more than just teenage “boys will be boys” stuff all due to his issues with the loss of his mother when he was just 5 years old. I would love an HONEST blog that isn’t all sunshine and roses that talks about the REAL issues that teen boys and girls face.

    I would love to write one like that myself, but I am of afraid of how much I should put out there. My Mom has read my blog from time to time too, so I don’t want her to see some of the things I deal with. I have toyed with making a new blog where I don’t use our names/location etc. but how honest is that, right?

    It has been a long time since I blogged because when I try to sit down to blog, I can’t anymore because I feel that I need to be writing something “positive”. And I don’t want to sound needy or like nothing ever goes right, but sometimes things don’t go right and sometimes they can be terrible more than they are good. But I long for a group of mom bloggers that talk about the real things that happens in dealing with teens and that don’t hold back. Raising teens is hard, especially in the society we live in now. It would be refreshing and encouraging to hear that someone else is facing the same problems you are having. And it would be nice to bounce ideas around about how to handle these problems by other moms that will not judge you.

    Anyways, I would love to read a blog like you described. And I would love to talk to you and more moms like us! Please let me know if you or anyone else puts together a BOTs (good one Kate!) group or anything!

  23. I empathize with all the comments! As a mom of teens I have really be struck by how little encouragement and insight there is for parents who have teens. Our situations and problems are so different than when the kids were young but we still need just as much by way of attention to our issues. That is why I started just sharing my journey. I don’t know everything but hopefully it helps somebody!

  24. I completely and totally agree… Most days I feel so lost in the storm of “older” children issues having an 8 year old and a 16 year old.. Combine that with a cross country move (thus, zero friends or family locally), it’s tough.

    More (any?) friendly resources that aren’t pitching or preaching agendas would be enormously appreciative.

  25. I think the underrepresentation is because (like me) many blogging moms end up going back to work once their kids are in school, because cars and braces are WAY more expensive than Pampers. I think they are out there – they’re just too whipped to pull a cohesive thought together to post.

  26. I did not know any of this.

    I came over here via another site from a comment left at mom 101.

    I am the mother of two teens: and a 9 yr old.

    I know another blogger, old tweener, mom of 2 teens. I know yet another blogger still: In Pursuit of It all: mother of 3 teens.

    I did not know any of the points brought out in this post.

  27. Nice to meet another Jenn with two N’s 🙂

    Just came across this post, because I’ve been looking for Mom Bloggers with teens! I just knew they had to exist, but I wasn’t easily finding them. I’m one of those folks with a product for teens that absolutely needs to be marketed to the moms, not the kids! I actually did a college oriented guest post for a mom blogger a while back that seemed to get little traction with her readers, though, so I hadn’t pursued this area in a while.

    Will be following you and the others you’ve mentioned. Good luck with breaking new ground!

    Jenn

  28. I have been blogging for four years and my children are now 16, 18, 21 and 26. I have a large number of readers who have younger children and they’ve told me they read me because they love to see what is in their future.

    I do get permission from my kids to share stories–and I’ve been known to pay them for permission to write about them if it’s a particularly funny story.

  29. I’m a mom of 3 former teens and one (too) soon to be teen. We HAVE to speak up! If you have any doubts … just look at what congress is trying to do to women. Search for “war on women” if you haven’t heard.

    The political fights directly impact our kids … who will generally become sexually active from the ages of 16 to 19 (ok, only about 90% of them). Do you want to decide what’s important for them to know … or politicians who will say anything trying to get elected? You’ve seen the presidential debate fights over our kids getting the HPV vaccine.

    I admit I’m biased — I’m a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood … they have a lot of resources for moms of teens: plannedparenthood.org

    Yes, please, speak up!

  30. YES YES AND YES!!

    Would love to help fill this gap. My girls are 12 and 15 and I was beginning to think I was the only one searching for support online. I started blogging a bit at WorkingMother.com but even there I feel…. old.

    Jen
    @IC_Jen
    My last post…
    http://www.workingmother.com/blogs/perpetually-late/why-t-shirt-backlash-matters

  31. There do seem to be far more blogs out there focusing on babies, toddlers and preschoolers than older kids. I guess the assumption is that once you’ve made it through those first foggy years, you have some sort of clue what you’re doing and don’t need guidance anymore.

    But let’s be serious. What’s more confusing than a tween or a teenager?

    I’ve got a son who will be ten in December (tween!) and a six-year-old daughter (who can pull off a fine impression of a moody teenager–Heaven help me). The questions that are beginning to come up–hormones, more intricate social relationships, Facebook, media, managing increased homework and sports commitments, caring about your homework, managing one’s time, getting enough sleep when there are too many things you need and want to do every day, helping out around the house, taking notice of the world and trying to make sense of it when a lot of adults haven’t figured it out, etc., etc., etc.–they multiply and become more complicated every day.

    Shouldn’t bloggers be discussing these things?

    My blog began as a place to discuss topics around younger kids, but it’s grown with my kids. Yes, there are a few topics I avoid because my kids have to hold their heads up around town, but there are creative ways to discuss many sensitive topics, too.

    It’s good to see that there is a community of bloggers writing about parenting older kids. As far as I’m concerned, this is truly uncharted territory, and it’s good to have some company on the trip.

  32. I’m stunned and delighted to finally find other moms and mombloggers asking this question! I hungrily read each of your comments and appreciate the range of perspective. The question of how to protect my daughter’s privacy (and others!) resulted in my not writing, then starting to write but only sharing it with my writers’ group, then trying to blog anonymously, then quitting and now–one year later–beginning again as of today! Thanks for the support…

  33. Seven years ago, when my oldest child was immersed in adolescence, my business partner and I decided to start a print magazine for parents of teenagers called Your Teen. http://www.yourteenmag.com/files/YT-SUMMER2012.pdf This fall is our fifth year of publication. You can also get information at our website – http://www.yourteenmag.com. We are always looking for writers and we are redesigning our website (should be up end of August) and we will be inviting guest bloggers so if you are interested, email editor@yourteenmag.com

  34. I blog about teens and other things. I have been very frustrated with the, lack of support for parents of teens. I complained about for a few years. Where’s MOTs? Mothers of Teenagers? Where is the advice on college, dating, driving and moods? So I started my own local MOTs last month. Turns out, I am not alone. I am hoping it grows into something awesome.

  35. Hi all,

    I’m a little late to the party, but I am THRILLED to have found this thread. My company markets a product for parents of teens (an online tool to help them monitor social media activity to prevent bullying, protect their online rep for college admissions, etc.) and have been struggling to find platforms to connect with them. So we’re starting our own! We’re actively looking for contributors for our soon-to-launch blog that will be a source of lifestyle and parenting content for parents of teens. We’ve just signed a marketing partnership with Sears, so this could be a great opportunity to spread the word about your own blog. If anyone’s interested, feel free to email me at marissa@honestlysocial.com. Thanks!

  36. I’m thrilled to find this thread too….I work with teens and have been looking for “parent of teens blogs” — Though my kids are still a little young (7 and almost 5)- I have noticed that the blogosphere is awash with baby blogs- attachment parenting and all that, which is wonderful, and wasn’t even around much 7 years ago when my first was a baby… But do know that parents of teens struggle and need support on all kinds of levels!! keep up the great work mama’s I look forward to reading more!

  37. I love reading other parents stories about raising teens. I have an almost teen and just started my blog to relay some of the trials and tribulations of raising a pre-pubescent, hormonal teen. Please take a look: teenagersaretoughtoparent.blogspot.com

  38. Your post was right on. There are so many things that parents with teens need help with and for many this stage is a complete nightmare. I believe in keeping teens busy and engaged in activities where they can be social, feel capable, and develop lifelong passions. Teens who feel good about themselves are are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. This is why I started TeenLife Media. Check out my blog!

  39. Amen! I am a Mom of a teen and tween. My friends all have little kids and it is hard raising the older kids. I can’t get through to them like I use too. I am the owner of http://www.muddyflowers.com. This post has given me hope and I think I will start reaching out to Mom’s of teens. Thank you so much.

  40. I would love more blogs about the tween and teen years. My kids are almost 13 and 11. As much as the new mom stories remind me of sweet times sadly those times have changed to more challenging times.

  41. I am thrilled to find this thread about parenting teenagers! I know it’s a older post, but I agree wholeheartedly that marketers need to stand up and take notice when it comes to this important demographic. Marketers who don’t realize that parents still control most of a teen’s purchases are missing out a very lucrative spend-crazy target market, especially with teen girls. I have a brand new blog about raising Teenaged Girls, and I think I might be one of only a handful out there in cyberspace. I’d love to band together. Teenaged Girls are challenging, and sometimes absurd. There’s a lot of screaming, but also alot of laughter in my house. If you can relate to raising teen girls, and you like to laugh until you pee, please visit me!

  42. You know how I stumbled upon this post? I Googled ” parenting tween blogs” … If that doesn’t prove that there is in fact a demand for such things I don’t know what will.

    I see this post is a couple of years old, but thank you for writing it. I’ve been blogging on and off for years but never felt like I could blog about parenting because my girls weren’t babies any longer. I also had a difficult time reading other “mommy blogs” because I’ve been out of the diaper stage for years and have no desire to read about it. I’ve moved on from their first steps, first loose tooth, and first day of school. Those were amazing moments for me as a parent and I cherish those memories.

    However, we are up to the first day of middle school, student council, swim meets, cheer competitions, holding hands with boys, periods, attitudes, and appropriate television. These things are so much more difficult to find support on. It’s like us tween-teen parents are just on our own..

    So thank you, I’m only sad I didn’t catch this when it was posted..but my girls were 8 & 9 back then, and I still felt like we didn’t count. haha

  43. My teens were totally against me blogging about them, but then we found a compromise where I would change their names and not use photos. So far so good, My 16 year old never reads it (she says she would rather not know) and my 13 year old corrects my spelling! http://www.workingmotheroftheyear.com

  44. I literally just googled “mom blogs teenage boys” because I am definitely searching for the support during these ROUGH years. I started my blog under a fake name because it’s original purpose was to type out all of my feelings about my divorce and abuse survival. My life has changed over the years and I have a whole new set of problems – teenage boys, their attitudes, their messes, their sports, their drama, and their girlfriends. Just to name a few.
    SO HOW DID YOU SURVIVE IT? What did you find out there to help you through it?

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