I realise that I tag a lot of the posts I publish on this blog with both toddlers and teenagers, and it occurred to me that if anyone clicks on the toddlers tag they may be a little confused about how much the teenagers are infiltrating their world. So I’m going to explain.
Toddlers and teenagers are basically THE SAME except teenagers are really big.
Ok, their stories and interests are different, but what’s happening to them is basically the same: toddlers are moving from babyhood into childhood and teenagers are moving from childhood into adulthood. You’d be surprised at how similar they are in the single-minded way they go about doing this very important job.
(In between there is a long ‘fallow’ period during which you will have NO PROBLEMS AT ALL.)
Both toddlers and teenagers will resent it if you try to keep them in the previous stage. You feel like you’re losing them but in one of those lovely ironic-but-true ways, allowing them to separate from you actually brings you closer.
So, in the drive towards autonomy and independence, here’s what toddlers and teenagers do:
They push you away when you are interfering in their business.
They adopt all the same opinions and interests as their peers (for a while).
They try new things and explore.
They experiment and take risks.
They have lots of intense feelings and may express them regularly.
They want to do things their way and demand that you let them.
They want to find things out for themselves and they don’t want your advice.
They need you there in the background to run back to, but they don’t want you holding their hand through everything.
And in my experience, interestingly, they share a love for Teletubbies, toilet humour, naughty words and sweets.