In June, I addressed my frustrations and emotions about raising a little 4-year-old girl in a post that I finally felt strong enough to publish 7 weeks later, 2 days before Little turned 5. I was brought back to that post last week when reading a highly debated article at Yahoo! Parenting, Why 5 May Be the Hardest Age of All.
Some say 5 is the hardest age to parent. This article describes a mom’s experience as she and her daughter grow.
Almost 6 months later, I vividly remember sitting in the car that day, pulling the car over and crying in frustration. Four, almost five, was definitely the hardest age with Little. Reading my post, I can feel the emotions that ran through my bones. I can sense the rigid tensity in my life. I remember how I feared the next 5 weeks when she wouldn’t be in school or camp.
It. Was. Rough. And no matter the reason — whether it was what she was or wasn’t eating, whether she might have been dealing with her own problems and insecurities, whether she was coming down with a virus… almost-five was rough.
Things haven’t been perfect since. We’re still dealing with a rebellious little girl who hates being separated from me (screaming as I leave so that Daddy can drive her to school is SO not nice to Daddy) but has just as many problems leaving a playdate to go home with me.
Last week, she ran off in the grocery store.
Mornings, in general, are difficult to get her out of bed and select clothing for the day. (Yes, we leave them out the night before — but that doesn’t mean she’ll still want to wear them in the morning.) You may recall I’ve given up on matching and allowed her to have her own style as I decided that battle isn’t worthwhile.
And getting her to bed at night can be a terror. We’ve actually started using storytime as a reward — something I swore I’d never do — because it works.
Is she tired? Yes. Very. In fact, for two weeks, she’s been back to napping regularly.
Is she overscheduled? Probably. It can’t be easy to have 2 very active big brothers and have to attend to all of their practices, games, and carpools and still do things you enjoy and not be tired and over-scheduled.
Is she getting easier? So much so. I really think that day in June was my low point. It helped me gain perspective, and things have gotten far better. She likes helping again. She loves my attention. She needs breaks and independent playtime. I’ve learned this about her. So has she.
And I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s better to walk away and take a break from each other. When we’re clashing, it’s better for me to remain calm and wait. Time is a difficult concept for a 5-year-old. Acknowledging that helps.
Is she normal? You bet. She’s very normal, and reading an article like the linked post on Yahoo! Parenting, as well as the comments on my previous post, helped me to realize it even more. Our kids grow up. They test us. They test themselves. They learn to be cunning, manipulative, and, even, bratty. And, really, I’d so much rather four- and five-year-olds experience these frustrating times with parents than with others. In school and at playdates, she’s mostly an angel. So I get to see the tough times… that’s okay.
Will it get worse? The Yahoo! Parenting author eludes to this time period being even more difficult than tween and teen years. I wonder if that will be the case. I really hope so. Because I’m already on the other side of it now, and I’d love to be done with the difficult times.
I’m doubtful, though. And easy or tough, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Back of little girl image source: Stockphotos