There are very few differences between teenagers and toddlers. I know this because I have one of each and let me tell you it is tricky parenting terrain.
Nothing is messier than a teenage girl, except a four-year-old.
Clothes and food everywhere; in bedrooms, backpacks, car seats, pockets. When you try to address the messiness you will get the stink eye. When you say it’s absolutely time to clean, you will have doors slammed, and it will also likely take 3 times longer than it should. There will be eye rolls and tantrums and excuses and ridiculous ultimatums.
Moods are like a Wisconsin Summer
You know the saying “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes?” This is the emotional stability of a 16 and a 4-year-old. It’s actually quite remarkable, the ability to have such highs and lows at the exact same time. But be careful, watch your back….the second you think it has passed you will find yourself in the eye of the storm.
They are crazy expensive.
Now I would say that the teen tends to win this one, but it would be a close tie. The 4-year-old is growing at an alarming rate and it feels like they constantly new clothes, new shoes and new winter coat. And then there are the countless enriching environments you are providing them, from 4K to gymnastics to soccer and what have you. Ah, but the teen’s clothes cost ten times more, they have school fees, book fees, breathing fees, and fees upon fees upon fees. And then they want “fun money” to spend on more stuff! Toddlers and Teens alike, money literally evaporates around them.
They eat. All the time.
Your nickname should be “chef.” Of course they do not eat the same thing. That would be too convenient. One will only eat four safe foods (and nothing green!!), 20 times a day. The other is a vegan/vegetarian/fruitarian/gluten free DEPENDING on the day. And didn’t I just buy a new box of cereal??!!
They are only this age for a nanosecond.
So treasure the time. The toddler will soon be five and entered into the time warp of school. The teen is looking at colleges and learning to drive. Try to exist in the now, even with all the drama because some day, in the very near future the house will be too clean and too quiet, and you just might find yourself whipping up a peanut butter & jelly sandwich just “for old time’s sake.”