When children are small, they go through phases. They go through the “Terrible Two’s”, the “Terrific Three’s” and so on. We all know about the Terrible Two’s if we are parents. Well, I will tell you that for some of us, two year olds can be quite pleasant. I rather enjoy them, actually. They are exploring the world around them and learning about who they are and how they fit in. They are learning how to be independent most of all for the first time in their young, little lives. Some two year olds are prone to tantrums. I will tell you that I was lucky that out of my 4 children, only 1 child did something even remotely close to the tantrum throwing that other children did. Instead, she would get frustrated and curl up into what we termed, the ball of fury. She wasn’t loud about it, but her curling into this ball where her legs twisted into this knot was rather amusing.
When children grow older, around 9 or 10, they start learning more “adult” things. They test us just a little bit more. It’s always interesting when you suddenly hear more mature words and ideas coming out of your child’s mouth. Your innocent, or formerly innocent, child! It always happens when they think you can’t hear them. Luckily, they don’t understand most of the new knowledge they are acquiring, but soon enough, they will. Thus begins the tween phase, AKA, the brat phase.
The tween phase of childhood is one of the most challenging phases in parenting besides the all intensive teenager phase. Your formerly innocent, lovely, and sweet child suddenly and quite unexpectedly becomes mouthy and will say, or attempt to anyway, just about anything and everything just to get under your skin. It’s great. It’s like they just have to press every button you have as a parent in order to prepare you for them entering high school and their independent stage. They are simply trying to break those apron strings a little more while trying to fit in with the crowd. Middle school and junior high are the roughest time for kids. No one feels like they fit in no matter who they are.
And then it happens. The teen years. Do they ever end? The mouth, the teenage angst to grind, the know-it-all attitude from hell. And it goes on and on and on. They are growing and learning so much at this stage and want more than ever to break away from home life. They have no idea how good they have it at home. They don’t have the experience that life has to offer yet to make really great decisions. So, as parents, you pray that you’ve trained them well. You pray that they know how to behave in public, that they remember their manners and to bathe frequently. You really do a lot of praying at this stage of parenting. You remind yourself frequently that this, too, is just a phase.
Eventually, kids grow up and repeat the life cycle themselves. They get to learn the joys of parenthood just as our parents did. Parents get to curse their children with that famous curse “Just wait till you have kids of your own. I hope you have one just like you.” The phases continue and life goes on. We as parents get to spoil our grandchildren and send them back to their parents saying, “well, they’re always perfect angels for me!” I, personally, look forward to those days ahead, and I consider myself lucky to have some pretty good kids.