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5 Worst Parenting Stages

By Life, Family Fun Team


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The worst parenting stages will test the patience and resilience of even the most dedicated parents. Raising children is the most difficult job in the world, and there are times when being a parent can be especially challenging to navigate. Understanding these particularly challenging and overwhelming periods can help parents prepare for and cope with the demanding times they face with effective strategies.

1. Middle School

Middle school-age children have been found time and time again to be the most difficult age for parents to handle. This period includes children ages 12-14, and it is the age when teens begin to care more about the opinions of their peers than their parents, causing parents to feel left out of their child’s life.

Additionally, middle school children often want the freedom of a teenager, though most parents don’t feel safe granting them this just yet—something that creates tension as middle schoolers feel their parents are trying to make them unhappy. Add the changing hormones of puberty to this, and parents have a recipe for three years of difficult parenting. 

2. Newborn

It’s long been the consensus that newborns are the second-hardest parenting stage after middle schoolers. Newborns require a lot of around-the-clock care, and they don’t take any of the parent’s feelings into account. On top of that, most newborn parents are short on sleep, causing short temper fuses, which can raise tensions between their partner and other friends. 

3. Terrible Twos

Surviving the horrors of newborn babies is tough, but new parents aren’t out of the woods yet. Around two years old starts the terrible twos, also known as the period of time when your toddler is going to test every boundary you have set.

Terrible twos are known for their temper tantrums, and unlike younger kids, who stay where you put them, they are mobile and get into everything.  Although this stage is exhausting, the parent has to find the will to outlast the tantrums and hold their ground. Otherwise, the terrible twos become the terrible threes. 

4. Separation Anxiety

There is sadly more than one difficult baby stage, with the second one being the separation anxiety stage, which usually occurs around 6 or 7 months old. During this period, the baby must adjust to the fact that its parents, who were around 24/7 until now, have other things to do, such as return to work after maternity leave.

While it can be challenging to leave your child during this stage when they cry whenever you exit the room, it is an essential part of a baby’s development, so just putting it off by staying home only puts off the conflict temporarily. 

5. Teenagers

The last of the worst parenting stages is teenagers or kids who are 14 years old and above. During this period, your child will experience many mood swings as they work their way through hormones and discover who they want to become. Often, teens and parents find themselves on opposite sides of various battles that can disrupt other children in the home due to their ferocity. 

Even though parenting a teen is tough, it’s important to know that your teenager is basically a mini adult at this point, and this period of their life can be navigated by opening lines of communication and ensuring you treat them with the same respect you want to receive from them. 

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