Friday, June 25, 2010

Parenting older kids isn't easier - just different.

As I move towards having a teenager in our house, I've been finding myself asking my friends with older kids,  'What's it like?' and 'Am I going to survive?!'.

The common theme is that parenting continues to be demanding and draining but in a new way.  It is more emotionally tiring and you experience anxiety like never before.

I'm starting to enjoy feeling less physically tired as I come out of the baby stage.  I'm enjoying having children who can take themselves to the toilet, get themselves dressed and feed themselves.  I'm enjoying the fun of having older kids who I can have a laugh with, share a book with, discuss 'Masterchef' with!

But I'm starting to get a small insight into what the next stage of my life will look like.  Longer days as children stay up later.  Less time in the evenings on our own as a couple.  More stress about getting school work done.  Anxiety about friendships.  Lots of driving children to band competitions/chess competitions/sporting events.  Arguing about ... well, a lot of things!

It is only a small insight.  I know there is much, much more in the future that is unknown.

It's an important reminder for me that families with older kids don't have it 'easier' than me.  They have different pressures and challenges.  Parenting doesn't get easier - it just keeps changing.  And every step of the way, you still don't really know what you're doing!

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