Wednesday 21 February 2018

'When they hit 10 they get moody and obnoxious -- don't take it personally'

Dr Kate Byrne is a psychologist from Gorey, Co Wexford, and mother of seven sons between the ages of five and 21.

"I found the babyhood phase very easy while toddlerhood is very challenging -- they don't have the communication skills and get frustrated.

"Then you have the phase from age four or five to age 10 or 11 when they're very easy to manage and quite pleasant.

"I have five-year-old Tadhg and seven-year-old Oisin, and I think this is kind of a halcyon phase. You're still up on the pedestal.

"This is my favourite phase, along with 18-plus. Parents should enjoy this phase because when children start hitting 10 and 11 they'll get moody and obnoxious -- but don't take it personally, it's nothing that you've done!

"It's going to get even worse and it happens to all of them. It's not a reflection on your parenting, it's a natural hormonal and neurological development."

Kate's tip: Enjoy the fives to 11s -- and don't take adolescence personally!

Rita O' Reilly is Chief Executive of Parentline, and mother of two children aged 14 and 22.

"With babies and toddlers you're tired and working harder physically -- you're up during the night with them. However, because you're in control it is just a physical strain.

"I found that I became concerned when the kids moved to second level. I was concerned about whether to let them go to certain places or not -- the whole social side was worrying.

"I wanted to collect them and bring them home but they didn't always want that -- they wanted more independence to come home themselves, so there was a conflict.

"Eighteenth birthday parties were a big concern -- when my daughter was 17 she was going to 18th parties where there was alcohol and I wasn't comfortable about it. I had to talk to her very clearly about that to make her aware of the dangers of alcohol.

"We always reassure our children that if they're ever in a situation where they feel out of control or out of their depth to call us to come and get them and we could deal with it the next day. However I learned to turn a blind eye to the battles I couldn't win -- like untidy bedrooms!"

Rita's tip: Don't fight battles that don't really matter.

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