When my kids were younger, things were definitely hectic, chaotic, and stressful. My youngest is currently 4 years old and he's still a major handful. He has a stubborn, defiant personality, and always has. He can be very testing sometimes.
Over the years people always told me, "Just wait until they become teenagers". I laughed at those people. What could be so hard about raising teenagers? They can make their own food, clean up their own messes, bathe themselves, brush their own hair and teeth, wipe their own butts, and you don't have to chase them around all day or wake up with them or sing/rock them to sleep. You can leave them home alone without too much worry, or let them go outside or off to a friend's house by themselves. What's so hard about raising teenagers?
Well.. my oldest will be 15 in a couple of months. Because of him, I've banned my other children from aging. He's the only one who's allowed to get any older, and I'd prefer it if he'd hurry up and get past this teenager stage!
I won't say for certain that teenagers are more difficult than littler kids. They do have some advantages which I mentioned above (aside from cleaning up their own messes.. they are capable of doing this but usually don't unless they want something from you, and arguing with them to get them to clean the mess is usually more difficult than doing it yourself).
But the attitude and moodiness and need for space and privacy.. holy cow! It makes you stop and wonder where did my sweet little boy go? What happened to the days when I used to bring him to school and knew the names of every single child in his class, and most of their parent's names also? Now all of a sudden he's running off with new friends I've never met and never even heard of. What happened to the days when I would secretly pray he'd run out of things to talk about so my ears could get a break? Now I have to pry information out of him, and even then it's rarely ever the full truth. And what happened to that sweet, loving child I raised? This teenage boy in my home is a hateful monster!
On top of all of this, my teenage son told me the other day that he flat out "hates" pretty much every single one of his siblings, especially his only sister, because they are so annoying. He yells at them, picks on them, calls them names like "stupid", and yeah, they do annoy him on purpose because for some strange reason they like to see him get mad, which is far too easy to do these days.
It has gone so far that I actually brought him to see a counselor to try to help him through these emotions and the confusion he feels, though he's certainly not happy about having to speak to the counselor at all.
It is certainly worrying me. He's not even 15 yet. In the back of my mind I just keep thinking.. he's still got to get through being 15,16 and 17.. and I honestly don't know when teenage boys start calming down and acting more like grown men. I don't think that usually happens until sometime in their 20's, maybe 30's. But at least once he's out of high school I can send him off to college or perhaps the military!
Either way, I'm not letting these younger kids become teenagers! Nope, they're going to be my sweet, innocent little babies forever!