When your child was just a small baby, crying and fussing all hours of the day, you probably couldn’t wait for the next stage of their development when things would get “easier”.
That fussy baby grew into a toddler who is demanding with a temper that can flare up without a moment’s notice. That’s okay, the next stage will be “easier”.
Before you knew it, you’re dealing with a rebellious teenager fighting to discover their independence and individualism in a world that wants to continue telling them what to do.
So, the question remains, does parenting ever get easier?
As we grow and develop as parents alongside our children, we gain the fortitude and skills to deal with their age-related situations and behaviors.
During that journey, our definition of “easy” grows and develops as well.
Our Ever-Changing Role as Parents
As your child grows, you’ve come to discover that they have their own unique personality and temperament.
Likewise, you’ve unconsciously redeveloped your parenting skills to suit the individual needs of your child.
There’s a certain fluidity necessary in being a parent. Our parenting skills must reflect the constant flow of their development.
You’ve seen this in action: A disciplinary action for a 3-year-old is not going to suffice when your child is 13.
Also, your reactions have also changed over the years, with feelings of frustration likely declining as your little one becomes more independent.
Helping your child tie their shoe is far less frustrating and exhausting than waking up in the middle of the night to nurse an infant.
As our children grow, they need less of our direct involvement and more side-line guidance. So, in a way, our hands-on job as parents does get easier as our children get older.
The Evolution of Communication
Have you ever tried reasoning with a two-year-old? It’s impossible!
Not because they are stubborn (which they are) but because they do not have the communication skills to reason and negotiate.
As your child grows and develops, it becomes easier to have conversations and provide explanations.
That two-year-old that couldn’t understand why he couldn’t eat Oreos for dinner and lost his mind will be more receptive to your explanation of healthy eating by the age of four.
Explaining actions and consequences becomes easier as well. You can talk to your child about what could happen instead of disciplining them until the unwanted behaviors go away.
You can also encourage your child to negotiate, giving them some say in the decisions made during the day. This will help them develop a sense of independence and good decision-making.
The fact that your child will develop the language and comprehension skills to make communicating possible does make parenting easier.
Building a Foundation of Trust and Understanding
Of course, all that amazing communication can go right out the window if your child develops into a teenager that knows everything and poo-poo’s even your most innocent suggestions.
You may find yourself discussing less and bickering more.
This is why it’s important to always listen to your child, no matter how young they are.
They need to understand that they can approach you with their issues and trust that your advice comes from a place of love and care.
Once you have that foundation, your teenager is more likely to come to you with problems knowing that you are not going to simply spout advice or pass judgment.
I know the idea of the teenaged years seems terrifying, but not all teenagers are rebellious troublemakers out to make their parents’ lives a living hell.
Yes, you’re going to have your spats, but is that really any more difficult than trying to drag an angry toddler out of the store when you wouldn’t buy them their favorite treat?
What Does “Easy” Mean to You?
Whether or not parenting gets easier as your child gets older depends entirely on what you consider to be “easy”.
The parent-child dynamic is certainly going to change and your relationship with your child is going to grow and develop. The struggles you face in your parenting role are going to change as well.
But do they get harder?
Like any stage of parenting, you’re going to have good days and bad days. There are going to be behaviors that set you off and ones you can brush off – no matter your child’s age.
It’s fair to say that in some ways, parenting does get easier.
It’s also fair to say that, in reality, it doesn’t really get any harder.
Do you find parenting is getting easier as your child grows and develops? Share your opinions in the comments below!