If you’re a newbie parent, you are probably going to call your mother, sister or other mom-friends after a few months, maybe years “Does parenting get harder or easier as the kids get older?” Chances are, they will probably laugh and say “Oh dear! It doesn’t get either.” So, is parenting easier or harder as your kid gets older? Well, sadly there is no definite answer to it. However, you can scroll through the different stages of your kid, and see for yourself which stage allows you more sleep-time and which stage needs you to buckle-up!
When narrowed down, children’s developmental stages can be categorised into three main alleys :
- Infanthood – “aww so cute!”
- Toddlerhood – “stop running around!”
- Teenage – “you’re grounded!”
Parenting is required at all stages and the way you do it actually says a lot about their progress through these three crucial stages. While the methods of parenting may change over the years, certain traits of parenting remain constant throughout. For example, you keeping an eye on your child is something that you will always be doing no matter which stage they are in.
During infancy – to check if your kid hasn’t fallen off the bed.
During toddlerhood – to check if your little Usain Bolt has not broken your favourite vase.
During teenage – to see if your naughty kid isn’t sneaking out of your house in the middle of the night.
Parenting is a full-time job that lasts a lifetime! But when does parenting get less exhausting? Let us study through the demands of the child through each of these stages to find out!
- Infancy – Newborns are entirely dependent on parents for everything from feeding to cleaning to sleeping. Everything is done by you. This undoubtedly makes it an extremely exhausting time for parents. With your sleep cycles being disrupted, you would probably question yourself or others – “do babies get easier after 1 year?” Well…let’s see.
- Toddlerhood – This brings in a magnitude of changes in your kid as they become more physically active. They also start developing fine motor skills and would love to paint the wall of your living room with colourful crayons! You might be in a fix here. On one hand, you would want to appreciate their developmental efforts and on the other, probably pull out hair from your head after watching the house turn into a roadside dump with your kid’s toys being spread in every corner of the house. However, toddlerhood can ease some of your activities which earlier you had to worry about. Once you have potty trained your 3 year old, they won’t require help in the washroom. They also become capable of feeding themselves! With so many developmental changes happening, they are going to become more curious about ‘how’ and ‘why’ things happen the way they do. All of this curiosity will be a fun time for you and your child as you open the book of the world to them! They become quite independent as they reach 5-6 years of age, even wanting to help you with some of the chores! This is probably why most parents look at age 6 as the magical age when parenting gets easier.
- Teenage – It is pretty evident to all parents that teenage is a hard period to deal with. As kids start developing their individual personalities, they also start developing their belief system, understanding of people and become more selective of their choices. All of this might contradict with your values which can make things tense for both of you. The best way to deal with such situations is to talk it out. However, what might seem as a difficult ride, can also be seen as an opportunity to have interesting conversations with your teen which you otherwise would not have with your toddler. It can also give you space to spend some me-time or go out to new places with your cool teen to try out new cool things!
“Is age 4 easier than 3?”
“So does it never get easy?”
“Not really. But you learn how to enjoy the easy moments and tackle the hard ones.”
This is the best answer that can be given for such a tricky, fun and exhausting business that is parenting.
As days pass, parenting might seem easier to you because your body starts healing from the pregnancy, labour and postpartum difficulties. You start becoming familiar to the whole process of parenting, with every birthday that you celebrate with your little tot. Parenting cannot be put on a scale to be measured every few years. It’s not about ‘getting easier’ or ‘getting harder’, it’s about you learning to sail through the easy and the hard bit of parenting every year. And trust us, you will, eventually. Happy Parenting!