It might sound a bit strange, but many parents of toddlers and teenagers share lots of the same struggles. Toddlers are just beginning to assert themselves and understand themselves as individual beings. There’s a reason that many parents jokingly refer to their toddlers as “three-nagers!”

Parents of teenagers might feel like raising their teenager isn’t so different from the toddler stage. Teens often push back against rules and boundaries. Sometimes, it feels like you’re running through the same arguments that you had when your child was in preschool. Here’s why parenting toddlers and teenagers can feel like two sides of the same coin.

Granting More Independence

Both toddlers and teenagers are usually desperate to assert their independence. Toddlers might start refusing to do things that their parents ask them to do. Teenagers might openly break their parents’ rules. Both of these stages of life involve dramatic developments.

Gaining a new awareness of yourself as an individual, and aiming to have more control over your own actions and surroundings, are just part of being a toddler or teenager. These growing pains can be frustrating for parents and kids alike. But it’s all just part of growing up.

Setting New Boundaries

With toddlers and teenagers going through chapters of life that generally entail seeking a higher degree of independence, parents have to get the hang of setting reasonable limits for their kids, while simultaneously allowing their kids to gradually enjoy more agency and independence during these phases.

Being too strict can backfire, but being too relaxed about rules can lead to deeper conflicts down the road. Kids need to learn how to use their independence, yet understand that independence and responsibility go hand in hand as they get older.

Dealing With Conflicts

Many parents dread the toddler and teenage years because they worry that they’ll spend most of their time butting heads with their kids. This isn’t always true. There are plenty of relatively calm toddlers and easy going teenagers out there!

However, it is true that these years often bring conflict. Learning how to navigate these conflicts isn’t easy. Toddlers throw tantrums because they don’t know how to express themselves, and teenagers know exactly which of their parents’ buttons to push to get a reaction.

Guiding Your Child in Relationships

Toddlers are learning how to make their very first friends on their own. Parents might find themselves setting up play dates with new friends that their children met at preschool or daycare, and getting to know their families.

Teenagers might struggle with friendships ending because they’ve grown apart since their younger years. They may also get into their first romantic relationships. But they may also find rewarding new friendships in high school. Either way, parents of kids in these age ranges should be prepared to guide their children in establishing healthy, fulfilling relationships without sacrificing their own needs.

Allowing Your Child to Be Who They Are

Toddlers and teenagers are trying to explore their own identities. Even toddlers are starting to notice differences between themselves and their peers, or they might try to say or do things that distinguish them from their parents.

They get to know their own favorite things and start expressing their preferences. Teenagers are also exploring their own unique identities. They may want to buy new wardrobes that suit their tastes, decorate their rooms a certain way, or work on creative projects that allow them to show off their individuality.

Are you struggling to parent your toddler or teen? A therapist can help guide you. Connect with us to learn more about our therapy options for parents.



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