Since I haven’t received any reader questions lately I thought I would go ahead and throw out my own.
One of my recent posts provoked a few comments about the difficulty of raising children, but that it does get better. So that got me thinking.
What age do you think is the easiest to parent?
Obviously every stage has its pros and cons. But do you think there is a time that is easiest overall?
I’d especially be interested in hearing from the more experienced parents around here, but anyone is welcome to join the conversation.
Related to the question… Do you think the gender of the child factors into your age selection? Your own growth as a parent?
Tell me when I can expect that golden year quarter month week day.
All ages have their unique joys and challenges…I think roughly 4-10 is the very easiest time. 4-year-olds are so much fun! They are young enough to think you’re wonderful and innocent enough to be amazed by everything!! They’re also old enough to entertain themselves and not have you worrying where or if they’re putting something in their mouth are every single second. 🙂
4-10 is a time of growing, learning, developing, yet they are still fairly sheltered from some of the more difficult issues that may come up as they start to relate more to the world beyond the family. And no hormones, either. 🙂 That said, there are so many fun things to do with older kids, too!
Our daughter recently graduated from Wheaton, got married, and had a “honeymoon surprise” all in one year. They also have 2 generations of older support nearby. It’s still not easy. (I must say that a 23 year old body must be made of rubber – back in shape in weeks, no stretch marks.) Not at all like her dear old mom.
I would say 2 1/2 to about 8 is the easiest time. At least that’s what I thought with my two older boys. Of course it would have been sweeter had they become toilet trained faster. But running to the bathroom at odd times aside, these were years when they were cheerful, very interested in the world around them, learning lots of new things, easy to console and discipline when needed. They loved to be with mom and dad, didn’t mind holding our hands and kissing us in public :),loved it when we volunteered to help out at their schools, talked to us about everything and anything…
Once they turned 8 and started to become preteens (yup, they start younger and younger now), our relationship changed. They’re still wonderful boys, and for the most part, we have a great relationship and I wouldn’t exactly label them as difficult. But they reason out a lot (which is ok but sometimes it’s to the point of disrespect) and are more prone to sulking, and not wanting to tell us about school, etc. Hubby and I are still learning how to navigate this age. We’re glad to have a baby again. 🙂
I don’t know if it would be any different with girls as I am a mom of 3 boys and no girls.
P.S. Of course the boys were toilet trained before they reached age 8. 🙂 Just wanted to clarify that!
4 is wonderful and then it just gets better from there. That has been my experience at least. They sleep through the night (mostly), are potty trained, eat real food, are learning to read, can tie their own shoes and wipe their own noses. They learn at warp speed, adore you and generally think you are not embarrassing ( I think that hits about age 11 — at least that is what I have heard). It’s great.
Newborns to about toddler age have been easiest for me. Once they start walking and talking it all goes downhill. Not that I don’t love them still, but they make more messes, learn to question things, have their own activities to attend (even homeschooled as mine are), etc… . Just a lot more work in general.
Oh, and mine are all girls so far. Forgot to mention that. The one due in a few weeks is a boy, so maybe I’ll have a different perspective after a few months/years with him around.
My oldest is 5.5 and I have to say that I have loved the last year-and-a-half. Emerging from the toddler fog with him and beholding a little person who reasons, asks (hundreds of) questions, has conversations with me, cracks jokes, asks spiritual questions, expresses likes and dislikes without screaming (most of the time) has been quite refreshing.
At the same time I’ve totally loved the 12-month to 22-month age range with my toddler. But we are swiftly moving toward age two with him now so things are, well, not quite as blissful….
I think I agree with a previous commenter, 4-10 seems like a really nice, fun age span. But I’ll add that I love the 1 to 2 year age span.
I raised 2 girls and now have 5 grandchildren, aged 4-7. I found 4-11 to be the most pleasant childhood years in many ways. But having my children grow up to be my best friends and excellent mothers to my grandchildren are the sweetest rewards of all.
Four year olds? Woo hoo! That’s only like 38 months away! LOL!
Seriously though… These are interesting answers. As a teacher I always liked fourth grade the best. The children are old enough to be quite independent, but young enough to still like their teacher. Although with the whole tween phenomena, maybe that has been changing since I quit teaching?
My children are 13, 18 and 21. I agree with the other ladies who said ages 4-10. It also depends on the child. My oldest is a girl and her teenage years were full of “drama” but that’s just the way she is and her life is like that now. 🙂 My son, 18, was a breeze in his teen years. But again, he is pretty easy going. My youngest is just starting her teen years and she also has an easy-goibng personality so I don’t think they will be a lot of drama.
A friend encouraged me to enjoy my children to the fullest whatever age they are and not to always look ahead to the next “stage” in their life. I was always saying “I can’t wait until she walks; I can’t wait until he can talk, etc.” I’m glad I listened to her advice.
I am really enjoying my son as he gets older. I struggle A LOT in the toddler years and it is fun to see him come out of that. I probably agree with the consensis here that it gets better at around 4. Ofcourse my oldest is only about to be 6 so we will see from here. 🙂
Kathy of the HavinsNest
Newborn to age 2 was easy for me (when my middle child was 2 I also had a 1 year old and a 5 year old.) Actually, 2 year olds are my favorite type of human But, then I am crazy because my next favorite is high school age boys.
My favorite time in my children’s lives was when they were 5, 6 and 9 and 6, 7 and 10. I would have frozen them in time if I could have.
We had two daughters marry in 10 months time (Sept ‘06 and July ‘07) and our youngest – a son – moved into his own apartment last month. They are nearly 27, 24 and nearly 23. We’ve added two sons to our prayer list. We still worry about our children but now we have more of them to worry about.
I don’t think any age in necessarily easier. It depends on you. Some people have a particular strength for one age group or like a certain group better – and that makes it easier.
24 years old-first child- pretty easy
28 years old-second child(special needs)-extremely hard
32 years old-third child-hard
TODAY is the *best*….no matter what the age!
Sometimes it’s easy to look only at the difficulties and stresses, especially through tired eyes. But the fact that you have them to hold and love on and tell how wonderful they are IS the treasure.