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The Seven Ages Of Parenting

Feb 18, 2008
Stage 1: Me, have kids? Really?

Your biological clock ticks away and prompts you to smile at every cute baby face you see. Should you start a family of little ones? This tickles your curiosity as you love to "make" babies.

Phase 2: Pregnant or not?

You missed your period and are trying to decipher your home preganancy test. Are you pregnant? Wow! A sweet baby face could be on its way. You ponder this as you run to the bathroom yet again.

Flash forward a few months. The kicks, elbows, backaches, and swollen ankles are part of your daily routine. Gross! Varicose veins. What happened to your body?

Baby arrives with loud fan fare. You swear at your husband and swear you can't take the pain of giving birth ever again. You spot her cute grin and your heart melts.

Stage 3: Your life has changed forever.

Sleep is a long lost art. Your nipples kill and you are can't stand the endless dieting. Despite the discomfort your baby is worth every moment. She smiles at discovering her little toes. She tastes them. You get the bottle because she must be hungry.

The "firsts" for every occassion erupt. She sits, crawls, stands, and walks to you all on her own. She can eat solid food and go to the potty. You are so proud until she throws an ear piercing tantrum. This doesn't deter your enthusiasm about celebrating her "firsts".

Nursery rhymes and pat-a-cake - crucial for child development but, all too often these days, delegated to the TV.

First kindergarten or school: a mixed blessing. Where did my baby go?

Phase 4 Playgrounds, parties and alphabets.

How fast they change from being cuddly babies to young, independent, school kids. In some English private schools they even wear a uniform with cap and tie (for the boys)!

The bathroom humor fills her hours. Who knew going potty could be so hilarious?

Their first best friend, and first rejection. Scraped knees in the playground. And, of course, their first "it's not fair!"

You have to let go, but desire to save them from any harm in the world.

Phase 5 - Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmatic

Time to put the play aside for a moment. There's letters and sums to learn. For some, it is just a walk in the park, for others it is climbing Everest. It is at this time that the differences between children become apparent. Those with easy kids can't see what all the fuss is about, yet for others it is the beginnings of years of stress, worry, tears and heartache.

Despite the tense moments, you will always have the cute moments such as when she spies Santa or wants a frilly doll for her birthday.

The temptation to baby her strong, but you remember she needs to do her chores.

Phase 6: Almost a teenager

Girls will be girls and boys will be boys - and never the two shall mix. Well, why would they? The girls are all into pink and giggle too much - and the boys are just too cool for such silliness.

Your fashion sense will be out of style no matter what. No one wears the clothes you have in your wardrobe and your daughter will point this out to you. You will wonder what fashion icon your child is emulating.

Your daughter says popular words that you don't understand.

First bra, first period. Lipstick and make-up. Squeaky voice that breaks. Antiperspirant.

Phase 7: They hit the social scene.

Boys and girls discover the attraction to each other. They wonder if anyone has a crush on them.

Your daughter gives you her advice and opinions whether you ask for them or not.

Parents are out of style while friends are the top of their social list. Your daughter wants to stay out till the wee hours of the morning with friends. Why not? Everyone else is staying out that late.

But, every now and then, you can have an amazing conversation with your new young adult - as long as you aren't trying to lecture them.

Then, one day, the fireworks settle. The grunts turn into English again and like a phoenix from the ashes, and new (adult) human emerges - full of ideals and dreams and visions, but perhaps a bit short on confidence and wisdom.

Phase 8: (So I'm not a mathematician.)

Your daughter has gone to college. You worry about her everyday. Did she have a good dinner? Are her clothes clean?

You will always have a place in your heart for your children no matter what they do.

Time flies. Take a moment to enjoy the specialness of each and every day with your children.
About the Author
Dr. Noel Swanson specializes in helping parents with child behavior problems. To tap into his expert parenting advice go to his website and check out his GOOD CHILD Guide manual, jammed full of practical parenting advice.
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