Toddlers vs. Teenagers: Who’s More Exhausting?

Mom Moment 14

Teenager, toddlerI remember, way back when Girl Child was little and wasn’t yet capable of articulating the many random thoughts that were probably floating around in her tiny baby mind even then, I used to tease her and say, “Pooter, when are you gonna start talking?” And she would burble or chew on her foot or smile and my one-sided conversation would come to a close.

I remember those times fondly because that same baby is now 14. And long gone are the days when I have to ask her when she’s going to speak up. That chatterbox gets a-turnin’ early in the morning and doesn’t stop cranking out run-on commentary until she’s in deep sleep again at night. 

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But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Packs of Pampers aren’t loaded into my shopping cart, formula no longer lines the shelves in the kitchen, but I still find a surprising number of similarities between my daughter the baby and my daughter the teenager. And in between, I often find comfort in my sofa, a bowl of cookies 'n' cream, and a long talk with the Lord at the end of the day. It’s actually kind of déjà vu-ish.

Toddlers need to be cleaned up after. And though she has a list of responsibilities to tackle around the house, apparently teenagers do too. I am habitually amazed how quickly she can rip apart the same bedroom she just spent hours straightening up.

Toddlers need to be told repeatedly not to do something. I have learned through experience that teenagers need that plus a heap of repeated reminders about what they’re actually supposed to do, too.

Toddlers get cranky and throw tantrums. Guess what? Teenagers do, too. Girl Child’s new favorite thing is dragging my name into a five-syllable word: “Moooommmmyyyyyyuuuhhhhh.”

Toddlers have a way of getting really quiet when they’re doing something they have no business doing. Teenagers think they’re being slick, but it’s just a pattern on repeat.

Sometimes, in the aftermath of a Teenzilla day, I’ll reflect on how much I’ve heard my own voice, from the morning bustle to the evening wind-down. To remind her to turn the water off when she’s brushing her teeth. To nudge her about taking the trash out. To send her back to the kitchen to put vegetables on her plate. And I silently congratulate myself for making it through another day without the assistance of gin and juice.

So which stage of childhood is the most exhausting? Chasing toddlers or checking teenagers?
Image via katerha/Flickr

behavior, girls, boys


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jalaz77 jalaz77

No teens yet. So toddlers here....

femal... femaleMIKE

observing my neices/nephews growing up , I think that teenagers might win.


leona24 leona24

My oldest is 13 my youngest is 3 and they are both stressful but toddlers are harder to keep occupied

wamom223 wamom223

I have a four year old and my teen nephew has been staying with us on his school breaks this year.  We had him for a week at Easter, three weeks in the summer, and he just left after being here for five days.  He is very close to my niece who is 13, so she spends a lot of time here when he is here.  From my experience teens are worse.  Here is why.  The toddler has an excuse for not knowing better but the teen doesn't and on top of that when they do something wrong they try to spin in so its not their fault.  My new line when my niece and nephew are here is, "Don't do it like a teenager, do it the right way."  

pupuk... pupukeawahine

Have a teen.  Toddlers are harder because they can't be reasoned with.

Txlis... Txlisa7969

I have a 13 and 15 year old daughter and a 6 year old son.  First off the boy by far is the easiest of the three lol.  As far as the physical work I think toddlers win out but as far as the emotional stuff teenagers have them beat hands down.  I love my girls with all my heart but there are days I do wish they were 3 years old again ;)

pupuk... pupukeawahine

Yeah, my teenager is a boy.  I think toddler boys are harder to deal with than toddler girls, but teenage girls are much harder to be around than teenage boys.  I paid my dues earlier, I guess!

Sarah Todrick

So... Not only do I have a three year old, I teach middle school. So I get to deal with both of these groups on pretty much a daily basis, and it's still a toss-up to me over which is "easier". They're so much alike in so many ways.. each group wants to be independent but isn't quite ready yet, communication is a rediculous chore sometimes with each, and then there's moments with each that make you laugh, cry, want to pull your hair out, make you grit your teeth... and let me tell you, sometimes my toddler is a better listener than the teenagers, and sometimes the teenagers are more goofy and silly the the toddlers!

AliNo... AliNoelle

I have both. It depends on the day. Today its the toddler.

Kiki Russell

Omg...i have a 17, 6, and 21 month old. I so understand this post :/

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