I remember when Matthew was a toddler, and I had a newborn Anya, my neighbour with teenaged children came around and said she didn’t envy me as the toddler years are the hardest which REALLY surprised me.
This week I have been invigilating exams and driven to distraction by the antics of the teenagers. I may look all sweetness and light now but I was a dreadul teenager and cannot ever apologise enough to my parents…
So which is easier to parent: toddlers or teenagers? I asked my fellow bloggers for opinions and here they are (not swayed by Zach having a tantrum on my wedding day 🙂 ):
Emma from Emma and 3: Toddler was much harder, less able to reason with them plus they limit what you can do. I love being with my teenagers they are funny, we can go out for impromptu meals and nights out. They are great company
Helen from Kiddy Charts: They are both equally as hard for different reasons; can’t talk to your toddler as they don’t understand, and struggle to talk to teens as I went and raised kids that know their own mind, stand their ground and answer back!?!? So probably not a bad thing overall, just hard to deal with when they leave their pants all over the floor
Mandi from Big Family, Organised Chaos: Both difficult for different reasons, toddlers went to bed early and got up earlier, whereas teens stay up til late but lie in (even when they’re not supposed to!), toddlers asked lots of questions, whereas teenagers know the answers to everything!
Natasha from Mummy and Moose: It depends on the teenager but in my experience toddlers are way preferable to teenagers. At least you can put them to bed and know where they are for most of the time. Teenagers have more freedom to make so many more mistakes.
Rosie from Busy Mum Lifestyle: Teenagers are definitely harder. At least with toddlers you know where they are, what they are exposed to. For me the hardest part of parenting teenagers is giving them freedom and hoping you can trust them to be sensible. Social media is also a huge worry
Emma from All She Loves: I have both (well, my daughter has just turned 4 and my son is 16). My son and daughter are/were quite different – maybe down to being a boy/girl. But the toddler years are harder. Apart from having to do more for them – bath/feed/dress etc which is time consuming and sometimes stressful, they have massive tantrums and screaming fits. You can’t leave them at home either when they are in a bad mood! So most of the time you have to deal with it in public! Although teenagers grunt at you – if you’re lucky – you know you can sort of reason with them. Or they can understand you more!
Fran from Back With A Bump: I have a 3 year old and an almost 11 year old. Both surpass themselves in terms of stroppiness and attitude..something I didn’t think we’d experience for a good few years yet! Although teen years and hormones are tough at least at that age they have a better understanding than toddlers who can have a meltdown just because you gave them the wrong colour spoon!
Amy from Amy Mighalls: My teen is definitely easier but then he is a very laid back boy compared to his crazy little sisters. The worry if you are doing the best for them remains the same though plus I’m a wreck when he goes out, at least I can keep the toddlers with me, swings and roundabouts!
Denise from Mum on a Mission for a Better Life: I have three girls. My older two are now aged 20 and 21 but they were terrible teenagers in terms of moods and attitude! I found it much easier when they were toddlers. It was not until my oldest got to about 16 that she grew out of the teenage angst and my 20-year-old has literally only just about grown out of it! I also have an 11-year-old girl who already has the attitude of a fifteen-year-old but was an absolute angel as a toddler, so for me the toddler years were much easier!
Veronica from My Parenting Journey: I have three children aged 13, 10 and 6. The most difficult stage for me was their toddler years. They were everywhere – making a mess wherever they were.
A massive ‘thank you’ to all of the bloggers who contibuted to this post. A real mix of opinion!
Have the parents of teenagers forgotten what the toddler years are like? Is it impossible to imagine the teenage years? Do we have selective memory (the reason for being able to go through childbirth more than once?!): I can’t remember Matt and Anya being toddlers but here is the proof!:
Is personality a major factor? Are toddlers and teens equally difficult but in different ways? What do you think?