If you recently had a newborn, you may think this stage is the hardest you’ll experience. There’s so little sleep, so many needs to be met, and the laundry pile only seems to grow. It can be a hard adjustment to figure out how this new precious bundle fits into your family life and routine.
But if you have older children, you know the saying “bigger children, bigger problems” is shockingly accurate. While older children are more independent so you have time to do other things, independence can be a challenge as you are less and less in control of your child’s decisions and behavior.
So, what is the hardest year to parent a child?
According to a survey conducted by OnePoll and sponsored by Mixbook, the majority of parents agree that age eight is the hardest year to parent.
Why Is Eight Years Old the Hardest to Parent?
Eight years old seems like the peak age of a blissful childhood, but many childhood developments happen during the eighth year.
For instance, eight-year-olds consider themselves as big kids. They’ve adapted to a school routine, can handle their homework load independently because of their reading skills, and usually have a strong friend group and established interests.
Children have a personality explosion at eight. They begin to feel autonomous but still want a parent’s physical affection. Their peers increasingly influence their attitudes and behaviors.
Another factor is children are getting cell phones and social media accounts at younger and younger ages. These days, it’s not uncommon for eight-year-olds to have social media accounts or messaging apps. Unfortunately, phones and social media can drastically alter a child’s brain and can lead to premature anxiety and depression.
Additionally, children’s bodies begin to prep the hormones needed for puberty beginning at eight years old.
Tips on Parenting a Challenging Age
Every stage of parenting has its own unique challenges. Just when your child has outgrown one thing, a new one pops up. This is just the way parenting is! Here are a few tips to help you gain perspective during a parenting difficulty:
Listen More, Talk Less
Above all else, you want to keep communication open with your child. This starts at a young age by lending a listening ear as much as possible. Oftentimes, children just want someone to listen to them. So turn off the tech, make eye contact, and engage them in conversation!
Be Calm and Compassionate
Your child will make plenty of mistakes in life–just as we all have. Learn to have a poker face when it comes to hearing about your child’s mishaps and social faux pas. Responding in a harsh, condescending, critical, or incredulous way is not only damaging to your relationship but also to your child’s personhood and self-esteem. Instead, a minimal response (emphasizing your listening) will help your child feel secure in sharing their mistakes and embarrassing moments.
Remember How it Feels to Be Their Age
Adults generally have a better perspective on life and what’s important than children do. But–remember how it feels to be their age! Take some time to reflect on your interests, fears, and joys at your child’s present age. For instance, losing a toy may seem trivial to an adult, but remembering how it felt to lose your toy can give you compassion for your child.
Stick With a Structure
Children feel secure with a structure. While most older children are in a school with an established routine, you can continue this security by enrolling your child in after-school care at Bright Start Louisville instead of having a child stay at home by themselves or with a babysitter.
Bright Start Louisville offers exceptional childcare to children six weeks to 12 years old. We’re proud to offer a fun and educational preschool program that prepares your child for kindergarten per state educational standards.
If you’re looking for excellent childcare that gives your child a head start in life, contact Bright Start Louisville today!