You would be forgiven to think that toddlers and teenagers are completely different creatures. But having survived four toddlers already and currently residing with a toddler and TWO thirteen year old girls I can categorically state that actually? There isn’t that much difference after all!
Apart from size, and vocabulary the one real difference that I can see is that toddlers spend their days trying to avoid naps and think that the day starts at 4am whereas teenagers would happily spend all day in bed if allowed and not start the day until 4PM!
But that’s about where the differences end. Here is my take on how toddlers and teenagers are similar:
There’s usually much less biting, kicking and weeing on the floor with teenagers but the tantrums are no less feisty. They are also likely to happen at any given time just because you have apparently said or done the wrong thing. With a toddler it’s more likely due to the fact that they can’t get the round shape into the triangle hole, the paint dripped on their shoe or they want raisins but not in the box, but you can’t take them out of the box, but then you can’t put them back in again either! It can’t be just me who has experienced something like that can it?
With a teen it will probably come about as a sibling dared beat their highscore on flappybird, on THEIR phone, They can’t go to THE party of the year because of a stupid ‘family thing’ or that a parent has dared punish them for something they ‘never even did!’ Be prepared for them to say some really nasty things in the heat of the moment and try not to take it to heart.
I have to be honest I haven’t done teenage boys yet so my experience with that creature is limited, but teenage girls and toddlers are definitely both in the running to be the winner when it comes to mindless jibberjabbering. Even toddlers who can’t actually say real words make LOTS of noise, constantly. O goes around all day saying Hiya, doesn’t matter what he’s doing or who he’s with all day long I get hiya, hiya, hiya! That is really the only word he says! Verbal toddlers, especially when they get to the why? what? Where? phase don’t EVER stop! From the minute they open their eyes to the time they nod off they just keep talking!
This is the same with teenage girls. There’s less asking questions, more telling me things that as an adult I’m too stupid to have figured out myself, like the fact that One Direction didn’t write All You Need Is Love some old band did!!! (I hung my head in shame at that one!) What their friends did, what the boys on the bus said, what someone had in their lunchbox, what happened to one of the teachers dogs uncles goldfish. Seriously they do not stop! Now, if I were to ask them:
‘What did you do in school today?’
You’d think I’d be inundated with a million facts but nope, I get
And they swoop off with a huff and a roll of the eyes.
Only to be back a few minutes later to tell me that their maths teacher is mean and the things they revised weren’t on the test, so-an-so had an argument with her best friend, thingamyjig is a horrible cow and whatshisface got sent to isolation for swearing at a teacher and so and so forth. That’s a whole lot of nuthin, if you ask me!
Dealing with emotions
Apart from the tantrums both toddlers and teens struggle to deal with the way things make them feel. If they are unsure of the situation or something isn’t quite right tears are likely to ensue from either age group. The events may be worlds apart, for example a toddler may break down into floods because their sticker broke in half and you can’t put it back together, or they have to go to the dentist for the first time and it is scary.
Whereas it might take something like a boy band breaking up or being told they can no longer go to the cinema with a friend tomorrow, even if they can go any other day. Because it HAS to be tomorrow of course! Also girls can be really bitchy. Most teenage tears in my house are probably because someone was mean, or looked at them funny, and they have been holding it in all day. Actually scrap that. Most teen tears are because they have been told to do their chores!
Silly sense of humour
Toddlers find fun in the most wondorous places. Peekaboo can give hours of excitement, as can running to steal your seat as soon as you leave it, fluffing and burping are great fun as is chucking food at the dog. When everyone around laughs they do these silly things all the more.
Teens also have silly senses of humour. Again, this may just be teenage girls but in between the shouting and attitude, life is one round of giggles after the other. Put more than one teenage girl together and it is never ending! From hiding someones biscuit when they turn their back to turning the bathroom light off when someone is in the bathroom, mid pee, to just general giggling that ensues after a bout of the afore mention gossiping!
All toddlers have attitude. You give them the wrong fork, or cut their toast into squares instead of triangles and you should be prepared to face being called a poopy head or a bad mummy, be given the silent treatment(for all of 5 seconds) or have the offending object thrown back in your face. Attitude is different from a tantrum. A tantrum is when a toddler loses control, now attitude is them trying to find their place. Trying to get control, of everything!
Obviously teenagers are renowned for their attitude too. They certainly have a helluva lot of it! That expanded volcabulary will now mean that they can call you much worse things, tell you that they hate you, you never do anything nice for them, never let them do anything that they want and always pick on them over any other sibling. You will get tutted at, huffed at, eyebrows raised and eyes rolled, they will stomp away and slam doors, stamp on every single step on the stairs, that is after they have tried to win at a shouting match and have failed to get the last word in!
Even given all the temper tantrums and tears toddlers and teens can both be incredibly sweet, possibly more than any other age groups. For starters a toddler will come and kiss or cuddle you and any given moment, ‘Ahhh’ at you as they pat your back and bury their face into your neck. They will smile their sweetest smile that will melt your heart even when you are feeling at your lowest. A toddler will stroke your face and stare into your eyes without any feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness.
You would think that a teenager would want to die if they showed/were shown any form of affection in public. But you might be surprised. Again it may just be a girls thing but it always makes me smile(inside of course because anything else would be totally uncool) when one of the girls link their arms in mine as we walk or even hold my hand. I swell with pride seeing them being loving or generous to a younger sibling or offering to do a chore without being asked or wanting something in return (granted this one is rare, so extra special!).
In all I think you have to agree that there are some glaring similarities between toddlers and teenagers! Do you have a toddler and were hoping the end of tantrums was in sight? Or do you have teens and can think of some other ways the two age groups are similar, or different? I’d love to hear your thoughts!