You know how it is: Your kid changes, throwing your whole world into a tailspin. When you finally get used to this new version of your kid, then . . . BAM! Just when you get accustomed to your kid’s zig, they zag.
Changes in your kids are usually pretty stressful, aren’t they? Because when they transition, it’s usually not without big feelings—from both you and them—and huge shifts in your family’s dynamic, how your kids interact with others, and the way they see themselves.
But it’s not all bad. While changes are hard, there’s also something pretty sweet about this time of transition. Because once the dust settles, you have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of who your kids are turning out to be, the things they’re into (at least for now), and learn what truly matters to them.
In the preschool phase, your kids are learning who they can trust, trying new things for themselves, and testing boundaries. And then once they’re in elementary school, they’re using everything they’ve learned and combining that with knowledge to help them achieve their goals.
As much as this time can be frustrating because they’re so clingy when you’re touched out, exhausting because you’re trying to keep a tiny human alive, or unnerving because the tantrums just won’t stop, there are some things to look forward to, too, because during these phases . . .
Your kid is learning new skills that are so fun to watch.
You’re one step closer to communicating better because they’re expressing themselves more.
They learn persistence pays off in the end.
Your kid starts understanding the world is a diverse place.
They begin to learn empathy.
And now for the middle school years. If your home was peaceful before, it’s likely no longer. Instead, doors are slammed on the regular because misunderstandings abound. This is the phase where your kids are really testing boundaries—leaning up against them, really, with their full body weight—while discovering who they are and where they fit in the world. And while this time can be one of stress, it can also be a time when . . .
You discover your kid is actually pretty cool.
You observe your kid leaning into their gifts a bit more.
You marvel at your kid’s ability to ask tough—but necessary—questions.
You start to notice how self-aware your kid is becoming.
Your kid finds their voice.
Rounding out the phases in your kid’s life are the teenage years. During this phase, your kid is developing their sense of purpose, which they’ll use to make current and future decisions. And while this phase can be particularly difficult because your kid is one step closer to leaving home, if you take a breath and look for the sweet spots, you’ll notice . . .
Your kid is understanding the value of community.
They’re expressing what matters most to them.
They’re leaning into their values.
They’re learning to speak up for themselves, even when they’re afraid to.
Your kid is becoming a leader.
There’s no denying it: Seasons of change are incredibly hard. But they can be both hard and good (even if you have to dig a little deeper to find the goodness). We are uniquely designed to be the parents our kids need, through the challenges and the times of calm. All you’re required to do is love them through the rough spots, encourage them, and be their safe place to land.
The above content was republished with permission from Parent Cue.
Leah Jennings is wife to Kevin and mom of two. She is a writer, personal trainer, and wellness coach and loves combining these passions whenever possible. In her spare time, Leah enjoys reading, traveling, and teaching her Zumba class.