Here’s a reality check for all of us with tweens and teens.
Remember how hard it was when the kids were babies? All that drudgery. Never-ending work, most of it really unpleasant, or at best, boring.
Didn’t we all think that we just couldn’t wait for things to get better? We waited eagerly for them to walk, talk, eat normal food, give up naps, start school, and generally act more like human.
It gets harder. And apparently, the research agrees with us.
National Public Radio reported that research published in the journal Developmental Psychology indicates that the toughest times for mothers is not early childhood, but those middle school years. When parental “overload” is high, in those early years, it is balanced by maternal satisfaction. But as the overload decreases over the years, satisfaction also decreases.
Parents, it’s just hard to parent as they get older and more and more of the experience seems to be out of our control.
The good news is that things seem to improve after the children reach adulthood. There are higher levels of maternal satisfaction when the kids are grown. So those empty nest years are actually better for many of us than we had feared.