Parenting: Which Age Group Is Preferred?
Of course, when any parent is asked (after their kids have grown up and left) which stage they preferred, most will usually say, "they all are great". But if pressed, a parent will usually say which stage they really did like the most. Granted, all have their good and bad issues, some more than others, some more demanding etc. But, parents are people too, even though their kids tend to forget this as they grow from five to 15. And like people, they enter the parenting role with built in issues themselves from A to Z, complicating their view of what being a parent is.
Kids go through stages:
Stage 1, from birth to five, basically a great time but they are totally dependent on the parent. Between teaching them how to use the potty, scared of the dark, reading\speaking, right from wrong, dealing car seats that are a pain and so on, by the time the child is ready for the big K (Kindergarten), most parents on one hand welcome the break from the dependency as the school phase begins. Since most schools only have K classes until 12;30 or 1pm, taking on a full time job makes the task difficult.
Stage 2 is from K-6th grade. This is generally a great period. Until 4th grade, they remain more or less under parent control, but starting in 4th grade, most parents detect the child's longing for dependence, attitudes develop about things, and kids view their parents in a different way than before. They still are dependent for clothes, computers, games etc. Things cost more also.
Stage 3 is the start of the difficult ground, grades 7th-12th. While it does vary with kids and their surroundings up to this time, the outside world weighs heavily in their lives in God-like proportions that will agitate parents and their own personal views. This can be a trite as hairstyle to arguments about having rights to do what they want. This stage is probably the least liked by most parents. Up until now, the parents did rule, however, the media influence, music, movies, fads, all challenge this rule especially if it goes against the parents own personal views and demands. If it does, the kids will do it anyway in either a "in your face" manner or the more usual, "secretive" manner. Thus, parents used to being in control and hating to lose it will find this stage horrendous in many ways.
Stage 4 is young adulthood, from 18 on. It remains a difficult time for parents because they hate to let go, hate to see their kids leave home, dislike not controlling their kids lives as they have done for the past 20 years! It is a hard habit to break which is why most parents and adult kids clash in some ways over certain topics. Old wounds from things done or said on either side tend to resurface many years later and either are resolved or simply simmering. Each remembers different things to cherish or dislike about the other, or events in a different light often creating interesting conversations. No matter what ages are involved in this stage, there is always the Parent-child hierarchy present and each acts in their role to a certain degree. This stage can be a most difficult or easy period. Both parent and child are now equals in every way but each knows their role. Kids in this stage may forget who they are speaking to and speak their views. It can create many precarious situations. A simple misstep creates a mess. The stage is made even worse should the child's spouse is not liked by the parent.