Monday, April 25, 2016

Mothering Monday: Toddlers and Teenagers

Because of the age span of my children, and the number of children I have, I am parenting two very groups of children: toddlers and teenagers (really three--but we'll talk about just two today). I am helping my teenagers navigate puberty, prepare for SAT and AP exams, tracking driving hours, dealing with after-school sports, and starting to look at colleges. With my toddler, I am navigating tantrums, potty-training, and naps. With all the differences there are also many similarities that I have learned from being in the trenches. I will be sharing pictures of my toddler. My three oldest boys dislike it when I take pictures of them and strongly object to my sharing their pictures online. The toddler doesn't know enough to care or object, and she's cute, so you'll have to make do with pictures of her.

1) Both toddlers and teenagers need to be fed often. They are always hungry. And if they aren't hungry, they are thinking about food or are being cranky because they are hungry, but haven't figured it out yet.

2) Both groups want to be independent and insist on doing things themselves--as you look on with wary concern, ready to jump in to help them-whether that be trying to help cook or learning how to drive.

3) Both need frequent naps are often tired and cranky.

4) Both can throw fits and get really angry, especially when they can't make themselves understood.

5) Both are growing at an alarming rate and are learning to do new, exciting, and terrifying things like climbing and exploring or driving.

6) They both need you desperately and crave your love and affection. The toddler shows it by clinging on your legs and crying. Sometimes the teenager shows it by throwing a fit at you and then hanging out in your room at 10 p.m., ready to talk for the whole night.

7) Your heart bursts with pride when you see them do something darling or amazing.

8) As a parent, sometimes you feel overwhelmed with both age groups as you figure out how to meet their needs.

I recently read two articles about these two age groups that I think every parent should read and remember as they parent toddlers and teenagers.

The first, It's Hard for Them too, is a gentle reminder that toddlers have a lot to struggle with as they grow and develop. The second, 3 Simple Phrases Your Teenager Longs to Hear You Say, is excellent guide for things to say to your teenager in a supportive loving matter.

Now, what advice do you have for me? What have you learned? How are toddlers and teenagers similar? Any great parenting articles you have read that you want to share?


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