Parenting is an adventure, and there are many unexpected situations along the way. Whether you just found out about your pregnancy or have a teenager in the home, the surprises never stop. Reading parenting books is a good start, but they don’t detail all the stages of parenting.
The parenting journey is full of joy and wonder, but no one can prepare for everything. You’ll get lots of advice, even when you don’t want it, but you will still be surprised sometimes. Your children constantly evolve, and your parenting techniques will have to change, too.
Every time your child changes, you’ll enter a new stage of parenting. It might seem like every time you get used to one step, the next one quickly follows. No one knows what they’re getting into when they become a parent, but having as much information as possible can help.
Thirteen Stages of Parenting the Experts Forgot to Tell You About
These stages of parenting that the experts forgot to tell you about might come as a surprise. You may have heard of some of the steps but not quite know what to expect. The information provided here can help you understand what might be coming and how to get through it.
1. Not Seeing Your Child Who Lives at Home
There might come a time when you have a child who still lives at home, but you never see them. This situation typically occurs with young adults trying out their taste of independence and freedom. It could also happen with older teenagers with busy schedules.
Your child might not notice that they never see you, and they might not mind the personal space. You will notice it every single day, though, and it’s a stage no one prepares you for.
2. Feeling Like You Don’t Recognize Your Child
When your child goes through changes like puberty, you might feel like you don’t recognize them. They may become withdrawn, angry, confused, or emotional. Plus, they likely won’t want to spend as much time curled up with you anymore.
This stage is one of the hardest because the child you love dearly is now entirely different. You’ll get through it, but it helps to know about the situation ahead of time.
3. Friendship Problems and Drama
The drama between friends starts at an earlier age than you might expect. By the time middle school rolls around, your child likely has had their fair share of friendship problems. Your child might often cry during this time in their life, leaving you feeling helpless when you desperately want to help.
4. Toddler Temper Tantrums Are One of the Most Draining Stages of Parenting
You likely know about toddler temper tantrums well before you reach that stage. However, you might not prepare for the possibility of intense tantrums that don’t seem to end.
Some toddlers cry more than others, and they might become so frustrated and overwhelmed that it escalates. When this happens to a toddler, they might resort to throwing things or hitting. This stage doesn’t happen for everyone, but it is often unexpected and comes as a surprise.
5. The Guilt of Having Another Child
Many people don’t know about the stage where they feel guilty for having another child. The parenting guilt can set in for many reasons, including spending less time with your older child. You’ll also feel guilt for not dedicating all your time to the new baby.
This stage of parenting is worse when your older child makes it clear they miss the old days. They might give you a look while you care for the new baby that tells you everything they want you to know. Other times, they will be vocal about their negative feelings surrounding the situation.
Even if your child doesn’t tell you or indicate that they don’t love the situation, you’ll still feel guilty. Any change in your child’s life will bring feelings of guilt and nostalgia for you. Don’t worry, though, because you’ll find routines that make everyone forget the baby wasn’t there before.
6. Feeling Like a Failure
No matter how much you prepare for parenting, you’ll sometimes feel like a failure. You’ll never feel like you did everything perfectly, and you’ll likely always question some of your choices. However, remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can, and it is more than enough.
This stage will follow you throughout your life. Every time your child changes, you start the learning process over again.
7. Your Child Stops Believing You in Some Stages of Parenting
The early years of parenting when your child believes in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny are the most magical ones. However, there comes a time when your child stops believing in these ideas. Even though you know it’s coming eventually, nothing prepares you for how you’ll feel when the time comes.
You’ll feel sad and nostalgic, and it will feel like holidays lost some of their magic. These feelings occur when you realize that an unforgettable phase of childhood is over. You can still make the experiences memorable, though, by starting new traditions with your children.
8. You Can’t Make Plans
When you have younger children, it’s nearly impossible to make plans. You might think you have everything all worked out, and then one thing changes and the plans fall apart. This stage is challenging because everyone assumes they’ll still live a life like before they had kids.
Going along with making plans, you likely had all sorts of ideas about how you would parent. Before you have kids, it’s easy to say you’ll do everything perfectly and that your child will always look good. Then, you get thrown into parenting, and suddenly all the plans you had are gone.
9. You Learn from Your Kids in Almost All Stages of Parenting if You Know How to Pay Attention
As much as you teach your child, you might not realize that they teach you, too. You can learn about who your child is, encouraging them to develop in the way that suits them best.
Additionally, your child will teach you to value people for who they are instead of wanting them to conform. Your child teaches you how to parent them, and you have to be open to learning from them.
10. The Singing and Dancing Stage
Before you have kids, you might swear that you’ll never sing and dance to kids’ music. However, you’ll quickly realize that you have no choice in this stage of parenting. Those kid songs are catchy, and you’ll learn that dancing to the music encourages your child to do the same.
Parenthood involves doing many things you never thought you’d do, and you’ll happily do it for your child. You’ll start singing and dancing even when no music is on, making daily tasks more fun.
As you bathe your baby, cook dinner for the family, or clean the house, you’ll find yourself singing. You might even change the words to popular songs to put your child’s name in it or make it apply to your current parenting situation.
11. Trial and Error
No one prepares you for trial and error involved in parenting. From the early days of learning about diapers to the later years of deciding on fair punishments, you’ll have to test things out.
With diapers, you’ll find that not all diapers fit the same or work for your baby. Some babies will leak through a specific brand of diapers, while others do great with that kind. As you can see, the trial-and-error stage of parenting begins right away.
Once you’ve figured out the best diapers to use for your child, you’ll move on to the subsequent trial and error situation. Every child is different, so what works for one child might not work for another. Strategies that worked on your older children might need to change for your younger ones.
Don’t be afraid to change how you do things when you realize it’s not working well. The learning process requires trying things out to see what works. Don’t be afraid to seek other options as you work through this stage.
12. You Stop Caring How You Look During the Busiest Stages of Parenting
There comes a time during the parenting adventure that you stop caring how you look. Being a parent is a busy time in your life and taking as much time getting ready as you used to isn’t always possible. This stage comes as a shock to many, but it’ll pass.
13. Changing Friends
One stage of parenting that takes adjustment is when you experience a change in your friend group. You’ll lose some of your old friends, but you’ll become friends with new people.
Before you know it, you’ll meet new parents and make friends. You’ll realize that you make friends at the park or library, and you’ll feel connected to other mothers you see in public.
Final Thoughts on Stages of Parenting the Experts Forgot to Tell You About
While you might have heard many things about parenting, there are always situations you aren’t prepared for. Experts don’t tell you everything, and other moms might forget to mention it. It’s easy to assume that parents know what they’re getting into, but it’s not usually the case.
As your life changes, you’ll go through many stages of parenting. Once you start getting used to one step, you’ll be on to the next, resulting in constant change. Know that you aren’t alone in this situation and that you’ll get through even the most challenging times.