The most difficult age

Recently a few people have asked me what I feel is the most difficult age.

Now all I can comment on is my view so far. We are yet to reach the teenage years, so I am fully prepared to change my point of view when the time comes.

So far for me, without a doubt, the hardest period has been around 18 months to around three years of age.

I know some parents really struggle with the newborn phase and lack of sleep but for me that is far easier than a daily battle of wills with a headstrong , determined toddler.


The toddler phase can be way more exhausting from my experience and since having children my view on that has remained consistent.

Often, simple tasks such as putting on a coat and shoes, having a hair cut, the way you have cut their fruit, getting in the car, leaving a park or the colour of the bowl you have put their cereal in can cause a meltdown of epic proportions. You find yourself literally wrestling your toddler into and out of almost everything.

The funny thing is, that when someone asks me what my favourite age is then I would most likely give them the same answer.

During this period toddlers are changing and developing at an incredible rate. Every single day can bring new words, new abilities and a new interest. Plus toddlers say and do the funniest things, so they are a constant source of entertainment.


The shear excitement of the whole family when your toddler says “spider” for the first time or sits on the potty and actually wees on it is huge! You can then almost ignore the fact they poured the contents of the potty over the floor and splashed excitedly in it whilst you were all busy celebrating, because they have made such progress in one day.

Who doesn’t get excited when a toddler enthusiastically kisses everyone in the family goodnight and waves as they are taken to bed? It is too cute to ignore. So what if they pulled your hair or threw their food at you earlier in the day right? That was then and this is now and they look so yummy when they are sleeping.

The thing is, these little people have an awful lot to process and they can get very frustrated because they often understand more than they can communicate to anyone. No wonder they get cross and throw themselves around. Imagine how frustrated you get when someone doesn’t understand a point you are making!

So for me this is the worst and the best all mashed into one and it’s magic.

What age have you felt was the biggest challenge?

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  1. I have to say for me it is and always has been the baby stage (up to about a year or 18 months) after that I find life becomes much easier, generally because all three kids have had a good ability to talk from that age so you know what they want rather than having to guess (as you do with a baby), I agree the constant head butting can be tiring, but communication is better so swings and roundabouts I guess (well for us anyway).

    Oh and so far teenage years have been a doddle (I think we may just be lucky so far, touch wood).

  2. It’s funny how everyone says something different, I found 8 – 18 months the hardest when they were on the move but not understanding No very well, then came the teen years, now I have a new worst stage, but don’t panic there are some lovely parts to teens too!

  3. I found that the difficult years varied for each child. For my son (who was my first) it was definitely the baby stage up until about 2 that I struggled with as I didn’t take to motherhood like a duck to water (to put it mildly). With my daughter, the baby stage was easy – partly because she was a much easier/more contented baby but mainly because I knew what I was doing (which is probably why she was easier). I definitely found 2 and a half to 4 or 5 more difficult with her. Once she started school, she calmed down a bit but she definitely took the terrible 2s to heart – and then some!

    As we’re about to enter teenage years with my eldest, I am hoping that his difficult baby stage means he’ll be a delightful teenager (but I’m not holding my breath!)

    1. Good luck with that. My brother (8 years younger than me) was a delightful baby and toddler and then started school and was vile for 12 months. As a teenager he slept a lot! Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Totally agree!! The sudden awareness that they can not do something as have free will is very hard. But also most rewarding too the phrases they come out with and cute mispronounced words ours is currently Doris for dinosaur! (C is 25months and a second child)

  5. I can relate! It’s the most difficult and my most favorite age all at once–toddlerhood. The fact that everything is new, yet their communication skills are still lacking bode for an interesting (and sometimes frustrating) combination. Regardless, the good days balances out the bad days. Now, we wait for those teenage years to come…

  6. I find it really interesting to hear other people’s thoughts on this- I have small, sometimes difficult parts with all stages and then once we are out of them I forget about them, so I really don’t know what I would say is the hardest stage so far! x

  7. I think I would agree with you, although it’s been a little different with each of mine. But toddlerhood is such hard work, mentally as well as physically which is different to the exhaustion of the newborn stage…! Challenging, but also so much fun 🙂

  8. I agree with this! During this age I think I might have had a phobia in going out as my son would just throw a fit and its so hard for me to control him. I get stares like I am a bad mother when I really didnt have anything to do with the tantrum at all. Now that he is older, its better. Tantrums really give me phobia! #magicmoments

    1. Oh I’m sorry you felt that way. It can be really embarrassing can’t it but I think all parents will experience that at sometime whether they admit that or not. Thanks for reading 🙂

  9. Every stage we reach is my new ‘hardest’. After 6 weeks of clingy, whiney, ‘I don’t know what I want but it’s not whatever you are offering’ I’d say 7-9 months 🙂 Heaven help me through the terrible twos and threenager years!


  10. That phase of trying desperately to communicate but not being able to, can be really tough. Mine were all late walkers, early talkers as well, which added another level of frustration. Like ypu, somewhere between 18-36 months has definitely been hardest. I’m excited about summer and dreading it in equal measure with my little fella just coming into that age. Wish me luck!! #brilliantblogposts

    1. Oh yes I can understand that. Our toddler is quite happy as long as he is walking in the direction he wants to go in – 9/10 times that is in the opposite direction that we need to go in!

  11. I think it’s hard to pick the most difficult age because the problems change so much as your child gets older. The sleep deprivation is gone with toddlers but they bring a whole new range of ‘issues’ with them!

  12. I agree that toddlers are difficult but also amazing. I am loving this age with Elsa (20 months) especially now she is talking and sometimes we can have little conversations. It’s so lovely to see how much she is learning. The tantrums are awful though. I cope a lot better now than I did when she was a newborn so I suppose I’d have to say that was a harder age for me.

  13. With each of our three kids, the most difficult age (so far!) has been around the 2-2.5 mark, where they are discovering the world at a furious pace and wanting to communicate to a far greater extent than their verbal skills will yet accommodate. With all three we had some terrible tantrums, all of which seemed to be caused by an inability to express their emotions and wants clearly enough for us to understand. As soon as they were able to string together at least partial sentences, the ill-temper subsided quite quickly. Now they just take great delight in telling us exactly what they want and exactly why they’re not happy with the sub-standard service they are receiving from us …

    1. Brilliant! Yes I totally agree , things change dramatically once the speech and communication are well established. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  14. I think you’re right there , it’s a tough time for them and us at times, the frustration and pursuit for independence can be hard. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

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