How Having Toddlers Prepares You For Teenagers

6 min read
How Having Toddlers Prepares You For Teenagers

The terrible twos and teenagers – eeeeeeeek!!

Just those two phrases alone are enough to send shivers down a parents spine and make them tremble in fear.

As a parent, you could just look at the terrible twos as a little ‘taste tester’ of just how life may be as a parent of a teenager and it ain’t pretty.

bigstock Unhappy And Tired Toddler Girl 394945397 | Stay at Home

Every parent dreads these stages in your child’s life. It’s when your perfect child may get temporarily replaced with the spawn of Satan.

We have all heard stories that sound more like tales from the frontline of a battle zone from parents going through or that have gone through that stage with their children. You cannot go into this unprepared and thinking your child won’t turn. It is a real possibility, very real.

Really, the similarities between toddlers and teenagers are incredible!

Both stages of a child’s life are huge milestones. It’s like their body has to essentially download all the new updates and programs to prepare them for the next part of their lives. Think about that your toddler goes from 100% dependent infants to little people who are finding out they can actually do things for themselves.

At first it’s exciting REALLY exciting.

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You are so proud of their new found independence and determination. They will probably grow up and be the Prime Minister of Australia, or an elite athlete with those coordination skills, they are your child after all, its inevitable.

Slowly the reality of the situation sets in. Their independence and determination leads to frustration and well” sometimes the irrational meltdowns. There are daily struggles with wanting to do things their way they don’t need Mum or Dad to help anymore they are a ‘big kid’ now!

The correlation between the toddlers struggle for independence and a teenagers desire to be totally independent (oh except the cleaning, washing, cooking, taxi service part of independence!) is real. Teens don’t need you to tell them anything anymore – they know ALL. You just wouldn’t understand anyway.

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Yes even though we were all teenagers once – they actually are the first ever human to experience anything.

Let me give you just a few insights as a parent of a teen who is almost out of teen years and another teen who is smack bang in the middle of the hormonal teen years on just how similar these two life stages really are.


Your toddler needs to get a LOT of sleep to ensure they are developing at a healthy rate. On average toddlers need 10 to 12 hours sleep per night and still need daytime naps.

Teenagers should be getting between 9 and 10 hours of sleep every night. Not getting this amount can lead to a drop in their academic and sporting performance and may increase the risk of emotional problems such as depression.

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The average adult only requires on average 7 ½ to 8 hrs sleep per night, so you can see how the toddlers and teenagers just need that bit extra for their bodies to do their development thing and the neurological work to happen in their brains.

Good luck getting your teenagers out of bed before lunch on the weekend though, but if it allows for the tired, snappy, woe is me attitude to be wiped LET THEM SLEEP!!


The toddler is really starting to form words and sentences now, which a lot of the time need Mum, Dad or a sibling to translate. The mumbles and often incoherent mutterings are often accompanied with hand signals, a toddler sign language you could say.

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Teenagers although able to enunciate words – as you’ve heard in the pre-teen years – all of a sudden loses this ability, and regresses to mumbles and erratic jerks of the head to indicate a direction or if they are in agreement or not.

If not in agreement, this is often accompanied by a slamming of a door, faster mumbling, stomping when walking or even the irrational tantrum.

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You may have encountered this behaviour previously, just think back about 10 years you’ve got this. Trying to rationalise didn’t work back then, and it probably won’t now. Advice choose your battles, ignore the acting out, and revisit the discussion at a later time when everyone is calm.


The washing was endless with toddlers, toilet training provided ample amounts of clothing to be cleaned, not to mention all of the exploring they will be doing, oh and craft.

It’s all fun and games until the activity is finished and you turn around to see the pile of clothes in their room because they just can’t handle paint, glue, dirt, or even imaginary dirt on their favourite shirt or dress. Now they can dress themselves, there is no stopping them!

1JP MESSY1 jumbo | Stay at Home

Teenagers although the motivation isn’t that they have dirty clothes they have to change out of, it’s more a case of they’ve had a change of mood, change clothes, they have to update their Instagram, time for a selfie, change clothes, the sun ducks behind a cloud brrr its freezing, change clothes and pull ALL of the winter clothes our from the back of the closet at the same time, they are going out to hang with friends, change clothes 100 times and leave them in a pile mixed with actual stinky dirty teen ‘BO’ tainted and smelly socks. Now they all need to be washed again.

Thank you – I really DO enjoy washing all day, no, really I do. Why would I want to do other things with my day??!!

You worry endlessly that you are doing the right thing with your parenting choices with both toddlers and teenagers and that they are safe.

Parenting isn’t an easy thing, and I’m sure that’s why babies are so damn cute to lull you into a false sense of security of how angelic your child is. Don’t stress (who am I trying to kid parenting IS stressful!!), your toddler will come out of this phase and be a wonderful child who will amaze you everyday with their achievements big and small and teenagers will all of a sudden emerge out of this phase as a wonderful well-adjusted adult.

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You on the other hand, may be a little too well acquainted with the wine selection at the local outlet or have your little eye twitches, but you’ll be fine. 

Just breathe, you have done a wonderful job and although there may have been fleeting thoughts along the line of “I brought you into this world I can take you out!” you would never do anything to harm your child because you know just how special they are, and that all those battles, tears and frustrations were worth it to have your now adult angelic baby back again.

What is your best tip for coping with toddlers or teenagers?

How Having Toddlers Prepares You For Teenagers | Stay at Home

About Author

Michelle Gadd

Being a single parent since her children were toddlers, Michelle has enjoyed life's challenges, and is able to relate to other mothers and fathers of...Read Morechildren growing up and developing through life's stages. The laughter, heartbreak, tantrums and victories are all memories to be shared and embraced. With sheer determination or as some may prefer to call it stubbornness and with a sometimes twisted view - Michelle will always find the humorous side of life. Michelle has a business background working in Government departments for over 20 years holding multiple Business Diploma's and other certifications including Training and Assessing, Project Management and Volunteer Coordination amongst them. With an attitude of "˜life being an adventure - start living', she is always looking for new challenges and the chance to share knowledge and experiences with the Stay At Home Mum Community. Mother of two teens who also makes claim to even have her sanity intact (on most days) Michelle has ventured into writing sharing her sometime sassy and wry sense of humour. Read Less

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