What Are The Most Difficult Years of Parenting?

lisa lagrou

What Are The Most Difficult Years of Parenting? – Infant, Toddler, Tween, or Teen? – which is/was your least favorite stage of parenting? Now that my kids are teens, I can look back at all of the different stages and bring on the long-time debate…what are the most difficult years of parenting?

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Personally, I want to shout out a quick retort of “All of them!” But, let’s take the more analytical approach with a stroll down memory lane…

What Are The Most Difficult Years of Parenting? The Infant Years

Let’s start from the very beginning…who can forget squeezing those babies through a 10 cm opening? It felt like my insides were on fire. Then, trying to heal and recover from that massive feat only to be stalled by the constant neediness of this new infant that has no comprehension of your needs, body clock, etc. Yes, this involves feedings every two hours through the day and night that pretty much run into each other since the “every two hours” are the start times and each feeding lasts more than a half hour. We gritted our teeth as our nipples cracked and bled and the whole process hurt like hell until our bodies got used to it. Throw in the crying outbursts that you couldn’t figure out, the poopie blowout diapers that required a full bath to clean up, the constant watching over so they don’t get into anything they shouldn’t be, and the struggle to find some time for the man who got you here in the first place, or even for yourself for that matter. Trying to stay upbeat with all this going on and getting sooooo little sleep???

What Are The Most Difficult Years of Parenting? The Toddler Years

Wow, how these little human beings can produce so much noise, mess, and strong-willed opinions… these are the years of really setting the boundaries and working to keep things under control… all while feeling like you’re so out of control. There is so much effort put into trying to keep that balance of letting these little ones explore, learn, grow and develop their personality, but all in a civilized fashion and preventing them from taking over the house. Plus, they get into EVERYTHING, so the safety measures you put into place during the infant stages are really getting tested during these years. We’re also starting to find ourselves again at this stage and yearning to get our lives back and not have it be all about the kids…more struggles and more juggling, and more debates.

What Are The Most Difficult Years of Parenting? The Tween Years

Middle School? Hell no, I wouldn’t repeat those years of my life if someone offered me a great deal of money to do so. Watching your kids do it is no picnic either. It’s like PTSD watching your children relive your personal, long-buried awkward moments all over again. The whirlwind of hormones and emotions bring on some of the most bizarre arguments and inexplicable tears. The girls are catty and mean, the boys are awkward and hormonal. The school work took a leap to all new levels. I often felt like I was throwing my kids to the wolves when I sent them off to school. Everyone feels uncomfortable in their own skin and are challenged every day with feeling normal and fitting in. Unfortunately, no matter how hard us parents try to guide them through it, they don’t always accept our advice or our stories of experience from our times in Middle School. They are lost in their own world and focused on themselves.

What Are The Most Difficult Years of Parenting? Teenagers

The first time I got into a car with my son with his learners permit, I nearly crapped my pants. And, it hasn’t gotten much better. Hello to the ‘worry phase.’ Where are they, who are they with, do they know when to say no, how are their grades, are they doing well enough to get into a good school… I could literally go on forever here. They’ve reached the age where they truly begin some serious independence, but they’re still kids. We will always know more and be smarter because we’ve lived more, but we can’t be there with them all the time, and they may not even want our advice at this point! Letting go is so hard…what if they’re not ok? The teen years are the steps right before adult-hood when life is your own and things really matter because they fall back on you now. These teens are now fully responsible for their day-to-day outcomes and they’ve got a lot going on.

I can barely come to any conclusions here. It truly is the toughest job out there…. and I LOVE IT. It just SEEMS like I don’t sometimes :). I honestly can’t pick one. How about you? What are the most difficult years of parenting?

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