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What is it like being a parent of an older child?(47 Posts)
I have three kids who are 6,7 and 7 months. I love being a mum, love family life. One of the things that I worry about is what will life be like when the kids get older? I have no idea.
I worry about things changing when they go to secondary school, becoming more independent (which I know is really important,) bullying, wanting to do less as a family. What are your experiences? What are the pros? Am I needlessly worrying!
My 3 ds are 21,16 and 13. Things I miss from them being little are hugs and kisses, my eldest stopped showing physical affection from 11 or 12 and I used to jokingly moan to the others and they’d say, we won’t be like that when we’re big boys! But they are, we do have a fantastic relationship though, where they share everything with us, we still all eat together every night as a family, go on cinema and meals out together and they all still want to holiday with us. It’s great watching them all interacting and joking with each other as they reach adulthood. Don’t spend time worrying about them growing up as it’s over so quickly, enjoy every moment, even when you want a bit of peace and quiet at the end of the day don’t wish it away!
Hard work - sorry!!! It really changed here from age 12 (now 13). Proper teen now with not wanting to do family things and wanting to be with friends all the time. Im fine with the going out (you get used to it as they need to start going out from age 10-11).
However, its nice to be able to watch films together, he will still come on trips out with a friend. etc.
I have a 6 year old as well so enjoying the "not a teenager" stage a lot with her!!
Thanks for replying, I try not to waste the short time they are little worrying but sometimes it’s impossible. It’s strange not knowing what family life will be like! Mine are still convinced they’ll live next door when they are adults as they won’t want to be far from us, but I’m under no illusions that won’t change It’s exciting thinking of them becoming young adults but hard to imagine being a parent of a young adult!
I am very glad I’ll still have a younger child the first time so have to go through the stage of letting them go!
I agree with hard work!!! I have a dd 18. Ds13 and a ds7. Parenting our now 18yr old through her teens was extremely hard work. It's also quite hurtful when they stop wanting to do things as a family. It you have to remember they need the independence to grow into the young adults their soon to become. Someone also told me boys were easier teenagers than girls. They were wrong! My 13 yr old ds is just as challenging but in different ways to our dd. And I also stupidly thought that as my dd reaches 18 it would become a whole lot easier. It's not. It's just a whole new set of worries. The first time she went out drinking I couldn't sleep until I know she was home.
My dd is due to leave 6th form on Friday and this is also challenging I am trying to guide her through this and into to adult workplace but she just sees it as nagging. We had a big fall out. In the end we both apologised and I apologised for not always getting it right as a parent and reminded her she was the first 18 yr old I've had to parent and it's hard. She seemed to understand this. Which is quite a difference to arguing with a 16 yr old where she just used to scream she couldn't wait to leave home!
Hard work and bigger problems. Emotional issues far harder than tantrums. Teenagers do both lol.
Mine are much harder now. Financially and emotionally the impact is huge.
Advantage is can do much more for themselves so 12 and 13 year old walk themselves to school, get ready by themselves and can prepare own drinks / snacks and go to shop for few things.
12 year old still wants to do things with us but 13 year old DD won't which is sad but needed for her to grow independent. She has also had some pretty crazy mood swings, imagine toddler tantrum by someone your own size. 😱 But both kids still spend hours talking to me, sometimes 2 hours non stop and mostly lovely. 13 year old has started just wanting a boyfriend which had been hoping to put off until about 30 😂 but that's current minefield, at the moment its just declaring yourself in love and no physical contact but hmm how long will that last.
It takes a bit of hindsight to be able to appreciate everything parents do for you. I remember I was early 20s when I really started appreciating my mum. My daughter and son 6 and 7 are like twins, they are really close and best friends and it will be really interesting to see how that changes when they are teenagers.
My older ones have left home, middle range are 17,15,13+12. Heck op enjoy the days you have now!!
So much has changed since older ones.
Nobody has a gf /bf as such, try before you buy it seems to be! Sm has given dc a distorted view of normality imo.
Youngest is 4 so a long road ahead. ...
Wish I liked .....
It all sounds scary but glad to see there are some positives 😊
The thing is you never know what's round the corner, mine are great at 13 and 15 but it could all change. They are expensive though, adult quantities of food, adult clothes and shoes, adult fares and tickets, phones, laptops.
I have 3 boys, 17, 16 & 12.
I would say there are positives and negatives:
Negatives: No real physical affection anymore, No more family outings, holidays, meals out, dishing out money left right and centre, arguments about school, revision, etc. The fact that all towels, mugs, forks and spoons go missing and end up in their rooms. The worry about drugs, phones, porn, alcohol, starting to drive etc.
Positives: It is a joy to see this little child you created grow into an independent, free thinking person with their own well thought out opinions and arguments that differ from your own. We chat a lot about politics, music, clothes, religion etc and that is great. We are also looking forward to taking our first holiday on our own this summer. Lots of freedom to go to the pub etc. Looking forward to getting lifts off them when they are driving!
So although its sad that they aren't little anymore and all you do is worry about them, its like having watched a little acorn sprout and grow into a big tree, knowing that you nurtured that along the way.
My older ones are 14 and 12 - (one girl, one boy) and still lovely. Much easier than toddlers as they are very capable and independent in many ways and can be home alone, get themselves places etc. Much easier than babies as they don't wake me up every 45 minutes all night. Just as amusing as when they were toddlers. Also still affectionate, still do stuff together - perhaps it depends what you want to do! Certainly they do lots without us too, which is as it should be!
I know I've still got a lot of teen years to go but some people absolutely love telling parents of small children that parenting gets ever harder and harder, and my experience is that this is not true, and a bit of a competitive misery thing.
I've heard people claim pre teens are awful, but theyre lovely, and even claiming 7 and 8 is harder than non sleeping baby years, and as you already know that is utter nonsense.
My DS 12 will happily talk about economics / politics with me for hours and laugh / joke with me, doing homework on the other hand DS is really careful with money so costs very little.DD is opposite and will spend any money she can get her hands on in advance if possible!
DS loves to go out with us still as long as we aren't going to DHs "old people places" like NT. DD tries to avoid any trips with us. Both would go on as many holidays as you suggested with us, it seems DD is only bothered about being seen by people she knows with embarrassing parents Save a fortune on childcare but starting to pay adult prices for somethings.
Only have the one 13 yr old ds, and yes the tantrums..but I still get loads of hugs and we still do stuff together. Days away and holidays are easier than doing things locally as no chance of bumping into his peers and being embarrassed!
The biggest worry for me is bullying, peer pressure, porn and attitudes to sex.
Talk about stuff. Try not to freak when they talk about things kids say at school. Make sure the door is always open so they can tell you things. But don't accept disrespect. I have come to realise that boys especially need to know where their boundaries are.
That's what I know so far..always learning.
I expect many more white hairs in years to come..!
I think I’ve been lucky (so far) one dd and no problems. She is nearly 15 and our time together is different, we go for meals out and the cinema, shopping etc, she helps choose holiday locations etc. She does spend a lot of time in her room on Netflix etc so I do miss those times when we would chill together, I have to make the effort for us to do things outside the house to spend quality time together.
I love it! My oldest is at University and we speak at least every week, she shares her highs, lows and achievements and I am so very proud of her. I take her out for meals and cocktails and we have a lovely time. I am lucky her boyfriends parents are not nearby so he joins us for christmas. She goes on holiday with him and her friends, but recently came away on a family long weekend.
The little one is doing A levels and honestly is the funniest person I have every met. She is a bundle of drama and exhibitionism, but has really matured this year and is working hard to get on. She can be very headstrong and defiant and drives us mad, but then has buckets of charm when she wants something.
So I would say it is great. My favourite stage was in many ways late primary school, but this is pretty good too. I much prefer it to babies and toddlers!
Thanks for all your replies, quite a lot of scary stuff, but also lots to look forward too. Some good advice as well.
Mine are still convinced they’ll live next door when they are adults as they won’t want to be far from us, but I’m under no illusions that won’t change
Well, it may not change. I can’t see mine shifting off anytime soon. Eldest is early 20’s and it’s not common here to board at uni unless you come from the country so the majority of uni students live at home. Then with the cost of housing a lot of kids seem happy to live at home for several years after starting work. Very very different to my youth.
Pro’s - you can have a decent conversation with them, not something based on Thomas tank engine or whatnot. They can drive (mine don’t drink, I do, this works well ). When you do get a thank you or hug it is worth more than a thousand hugs or thank you’s from a 3yo.
Con’s - expensive, it gets a hell of a lot dearer as they get older. As teens, before they are able to drive you gain an extra job as a chauffeur because they get their own lives so to speak but can’t get anywhere they need to go without a lift. Gets better when the first starts driving as then you can pull the ‘yes, you can have the car but you need to take a sibling to x’ card. You no longer have control. You worry about them driving. You no longer have control over most of their choices which is okay when they make good ones but frustrating when they don’t. As teens they revert back to toddlers in a way but have adult bodies so that’s interesting when they have tantrums. There is a saying that teenagers are like toddlers that make adult mistakes which is pretty true, like getting pregnant or having bad relationships (I have not been through this with mine but have seen it). Did I mention the expense ....
My ds's are very affectionate still, ds 17 always tells me I look fab and he loves me! Also tells /asks me about sex and stuff. Hard to deal with at times though obviously glad he can be open!
No real troubles - though the dd's haven't found boys yet!!
Well the teenage years certainly are hard work! However, they do come out the other side eventually! Also, you start to get a bit of time back for yourself and can enjoy going to the cinema/meals out/ shopping with them. They can hold adult conversations (if in the mood too!) but they will find you the most embarrassing person on earth.
You can also go on wonderful holidays and have a lie in. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Mine are 11 and 14. So far it's miles easier than having little ones, as they are so much more independent, which is a good thing not a bad thing! Dd 14 can be a bit stroppy and hormonal, but nothing too terrible (so far!).
Best to live in a city with teens as they can hop on a bus-no need for chauffeuring!