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Raising Toddlers Is The Hardest, Says Pinoy Parents: 'Tantrums Everywhere!'
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  • They say parenting gets easier when the kids are older, but a recent survey done in the United States found that majority of parents think the toddler and preschool stage are a breeze compared to raising 8-year-olds.

    At the age of 8, your child’s body is preparing for puberty (and the hormones that go along with it!), which makes their personality and attitude harder to predict. They can be stubborn, defiant, and uncooperative — you’ll find them refusing to do chores and worse, ignoring you. However, when their emotions overflow, they’d still want mom and dad to comfort them with a hug. It’s a challenging and confusing phase, for sure, which is why parents need extra patience and compassion when dealing with their big kids.

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    Hardest stage of parenting

    But is the big kid stage really the most difficult in terms of parenting? We asked the mom and dads in our Facebook community, Smart Parenting Village, and surprise —they think the toddler years are more headache-inducing.

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    In a poll of more than 800 parents, 64.96% or 545 individuals answered that when it comes to raising and disciplining kids, children 1 to 3 years old are the hardest to handle. Next is the big kids stage (6 to 8 years old), where 23.60% or 198 parents agreed that they are also difficult to discipline. Last is the preschool stage, with 11.44% or 96 parents saying it was the hardest for them.

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    Why toddlers are the most difficult to discipline

    Parents agreed that they needed to have more patience with their toddlers since they are still immature, unable to tell right from wrong, and refuse to listen. And of course, they also have to deal with a lot of tantrums and meltdowns.

    “Makulit, mapapatid ang patience mo,” shares mom Mhay Magallanes. “Tantrums everywhere!”

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    “Mag 2 years old pa lang ang baby ko and I would say her current age is the most challenging. She demands a lot of attention from me and kahit san ako magpunta gusto niya nakasunod even sa banyo andiyan na siya agad ‘pag nawala ako sa tabi niya,” says mom Jean Barrun De Castro.

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    “The hardest to discipline for me are toddlers — and seniors!” adds mom Ysabel Tupas. “No means yes and [though] they would say sorry or listen to what you say, uulit at uulit pa rin yan.”

    Toddlers’ limited understanding and vocabulary also makes it harder to discipline them. “Wala pa silang complete understanding of what’s good and bad, what’s safe and dangerous,” adds mom Lala Tellano-Viray. “For example, they still dont understand na delikado ang kuryente/sockets. So when they see one, they will suksok anything their hands hold to ‘test’ the sockets — hindi ito dahil matigas ulo nila, it's just because hindi pa nila naiintindihan ang concept ng electricity. As parents, we are still teaching them these concepts and helping them build their vocabulary for their understanding, teach them values and as well as expression of their own thoughts."

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    Raising big kids is hard, too

    For moms who have older kids and have “been there, done that,” big kids and teenagers are the hardest to handle.

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    “Medyo struggle ako sa 9-year-old son ko. Nangangatwiran na siya and surprisingly, he has valid points minsan,” says mom Zeth Artates. “Nakaka-stress lang talaga ‘pag sumasagot.”

    For Isabel Belen Dizon, a member of our Smart Parenting Mom Network, big kids are difficult to discipline because they are easily influenced by their peers and they are beginning to make their own decisions.

    She says, “Yes, napagsasabihan siya, pero akala natin mas nakakaintindi na ‘pag big kids na pero hindi pa pala. Yung ganun age kasi, madami na sila nakikilala na friends, naiinfluence na sila at nagkakaroon na sila ng sarili nilang decision, kaya kailangan lalo gabayan at maging sensitive sa bawat conversation dahil nakakapagkimkim na sila ng sama ng loob at sa ganung edad din sila nagsisimula magkaroon ng reason para magrebelde kapag ‘di sila natutukan. Importante din na maparamdam sa kanila na mapagkakatiwalaan tayo as their mom or dad para maging comfortable sila to open up satin. Communication is really a big thing at this phase.”

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    Most parents agree that ultimately, they are the ones who are responsible for their child’s attitude and behavior. According to mom Lara Jane Serna-Enriquez, positive parenting and discipline starts during the toddler years, “hindi kung kailan matigas na ang ‘self will’ nila,” she says. “During their [formative] years, dapat maestablish na sa kanila ang obedience, principles, and priorities.”

    The key takeaway from these parents? Invest on their formative years from the age of 0 to 8. “Kailangan ma-build ang bond ng kids with parents, pati na ang communication and trust,” says Lara.

    What can you do when your discipline strategies no longer work on your kids? Click here for expert-approved tips.

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