So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

They’re both testing boundaries. They’re both pushing their limits. They’re both discovering themselves outside of their parents’ identities. They’re both rapidly growing and developing. They both have extreme highs and lows, usually seconds apart. They’re both dreaded stages for a parent, despite the unwavering love.

They are toddlers and teenagers.

RELATED: My Kids Are Growing Up, But I’m Still a New Mom

I am currently blessed with both a teenage daughter and a toddler daughter. Yes, blessed. Sure, they both throw me challenges, but, together, they have helped me understand each other.

One of the biggest parallels I have found is their utter lack of ability to communicate what is going on inside of them.

Toddlers are experiencing a full gamut of emotions with an extremely limited vocabulary with which to express said feelings. Similarly, teenagers have hormones to thank for introducing them to new and fiercer emotions, and despite the more extensive vocabulary, words do not always come easily in an attempt to sort it all out.

So what happens when toddlers’ and teenagers’ internal worldswith all their ups and downscollide with the lack of ability to verbalize what’s going on? Temper tantrums, meltdowns, attitudes, seclusion. Ever notice how these reactions tend to dissipate the better your toddlers and teenagers get at sorting things out and communicating?

RELATED: The Toddler Stage Will Break You

With that in mind, when my toddler is kicking and screaming on the floor, I do my best to remind myself how frustrating it must be not to be able to logically discuss the danger of touching that stove and how Mama loves her and doesn’t want her to be hurt. How in that moment, all she can think is Mama is keeping me from this fun, new thing, and I feel this uncomfortable feeling inside, so I will scream.

Well, that uncomfortable feeling is called anger, and it’s OK. We can work through that.

Or when my teenager is throwing around attitude, and I try to ask her how she is doing despite my really just wanting to scold her. I try to remember what it’s like to have a changing body and a growing mind and feel like every little thing is huge. And how she truly isn’t being difficult when she gives me a short response. She may just not have the words to describe the uncomfortable feelings she may be having.

RELATED: The Secret to Parenting Teens? Listen and Repeat.

So I may not be able to have a healing, conclusive conversation with either my toddler or my teenager. But I can be there.

I can be their steady rock that doesn’t go away when everything is physically, mentally, and socially changing for them.

Toddlers and teenagers may be on opposite ends of the childhood spectrum, but the stages are parallel—and don’t forget they’re human too, and like all of us, they’re works in progress.

Originally published on the author’s blog

A.W. Cogent

I am a blessed single and working mama to two little girls, who are 18 months apart in age. Vocationally, I am a medical laboratory scientist; however, my favorite hobby is writing, highly influenced by my journey as a mom navigating beyond various traumas in my life. My sole purpose is to reach the one person who needs to know she is not alone.

I Want My Kids To Know God’s Always There

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding cross in the palm of her hand, color photo

A few months ago, my friend lost his dad. And it impacted our community profoundly. Because he loved SO BIG. Everywhere he went, he couldn’t help but talk to and engage with people—sharing a joke to make them smile or offering a compliment to build them up. He was a connector. And in all the connecting he did, he was quick to remind everyone he encountered that our hearts are ever connected to a God who loves us. It had become his thing to pass out little wooden crosses to those he happily chatted up as he went about each...

Keep Reading

As My Children Grow, I Miss It All—Even the Sick Days

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler on mom's shoulder

I whisk my daughter through the doors of urgent care and cradle her head as I stand behind three other mamas clinging to their babies. We’re each rocking in different ways but moving nonetheless. The silent, comforting rhythm of motherhood. I see sad, sick eyes from the babies with their heads nestled into the necks of their mama. I’m tired from the sleepless night, and I shift from foot to foot. There is hushing and humming and back-patting. A pacifier drops to the floor. All of a sudden my daughter feels heavy. A vague sinking feeling comes over me, like...

Keep Reading

Life with Autism Is Full of Ticking Time Bombs

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother, father, teen daughter, color photo

Many of us who live with autism are familiar with the comings and goings of the ticking time bomb—one that disappears for periods of time, so much so that we might forget about it. Then, suddenly, this bomb drops at our doorstep in the form of a returning or new obstacle, so intense that it causes us to pause our lives, alter our plans, maybe even change our current paths. For our family, the new challenge has been sudden, piercing, sporadic screams. Not constant, not even often, thankfully, but jolting nonetheless. So here we were, in the midst of our...

Keep Reading

In Motherhood, Grace Makes up the Difference

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young child

Today, I have been the mean mom, the tired mom, the overwhelmed mom, the anxious mom, the impatient mom, and the want to turn in my mom card mom. Mostly, I’ve felt like the I have no clue what I’m doing mom. I have raised my voice 47 times, told children to “suck it up, buttercup” 36 times, and have intervened in approximately 83 sibling disagreements. I have rolled my eyes 59 times, sighed 148 times, and visibly showed other signs of impatience, well, way too many times. RELATED: I’m a Good Mom, You Just Caught Me in a Bad...

Keep Reading

Dear Mom, Your Best Is Enough

In: Motherhood
Mom and young boy with backpack

I am my own worst enemy—I forget to let myself off, give myself time, free myself of guilt.  I am a stay-at-home mom, but I am not a superhero.  For the most part, I absolutely love, treasure, and soak up every happy, special, tough, gritty moment of motherhood. I am forever grateful for this journey. But I also feel extremely guilty any time the load builds a little too high. I forget that I too am allowed emotions, time off, and forgiveness.  As a rule, I don’t snap. I am a patient parent. I discuss and I cuddle and I reason...

Keep Reading

I Know My Friends Aren’t Bothered by My Messy House, but I Am

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Sad woman by laundry pile

My house screams at me. It screams to clear off the kitchen counters, to put away the clean clothes, to organize the shoe collection in our entry, to gather up the scattered toys, to sweep the crumbs up, to place the throw pillows back on the couch, to clean off the table—you get the idea. Everything in my sight speaks volumes to the state it does not want to be in, for the chaos it is imposing.  Keeping home is a labor of love and never of balance for me. Everything that is cleaned, made, or organized will always get...

Keep Reading

I’ll Never Be Ready for My Son To Let Go of Me

In: Motherhood, Tween
Tween boy and mom

The arts-and-crafts tote overflowed with cylinders of petrified Play-Doh, crispy-bristled paintbrushes, and Elmer’s glue bottles with clogged applicator tips. Underneath it sat a stack of spiral notebooks with homework from previous years: simple fractions, facts about fossils and chlorophyll, vocabulary words neatly written on blue lines. Star Wars characters were sporadically doodled in the margins.  None of its contents had been touched in years. Yet, the very second I tipped it upside down into the garbage dumpster—unwittingly blasting a flume of silver glitter into the garage ceiling—I felt deep, aching sadness and enormous regret.  When did fuzzy pipe-cleaners become nostalgia-worthy?...

Keep Reading

To the Emotional Mom of a High School Senior, Enjoy It

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Teen girl in graduation gown, color photo

Dear moms of high school seniors, I see your posts on social media, and I sense your excitement, mixed with anxiety and a bit of sadness (if we are being completely honest). I notice your photos of all the lasts, and I celebrate your child’s accomplishments with you. I see you, and I know you because I have been you, twice now.  I feel the almost palpable sinking feeling that hits in the pit of your stomach when you think about them moving on to the next stage. How is it possible they have grown from such a tiny, helpless...

Keep Reading

Dear Preschool Teachers, I’m Going to Miss You So Much

In: Child, Motherhood
preschool teacher sitting with kids on her lap

Dear preschool teachers, There’s just no other way to say this— I’m going to miss you so much. You are the first adults outside of our family to spend your days with my children, and watching your relationships grow and develop this year has been the most bittersweet privilege. I’m going to miss the bright smiles that light up your faces every time my kids come bounding toward you on good days, and how tenderly you hold their little hands and guide them away from me on the tough ones. RELATED: Dear Preschool Graduate, I’m So Proud of You I’m...

Keep Reading

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections