NEW YORK — Parenting has always come with a unique set of challenges and new responsibilities that couples likely anticipated, but never really knew just how stressful it would actually get. It’s safe to say that all moms and dads feel a heightened level of exhaust whether they’ve got toddlers or teens, but a new survey reveals that the “hateful eights” are arguably the worst age to deal with.
Notably, parents also said that the age of six is much easier to handle. However, things seem to change quickly from there. The survey of 2,000 parents shows that the age of seven wins for having the worst tantrums.
Not surprisingly, the research, commissioned by Mixbook, concluded that one in four parents believe their kids tended to have their biggest meltdowns between the ages of six and eight years old.
Respondents were also asked about their proudest parenting milestones, and the first day of kindergarten was the most popular answer (42%), followed by the first time their child walked somewhere alone (37%), and the beginning of first grade (35%). Other frequent answers included their child’s first date (11%) and watching their oldest take care of a younger sibling (24%).
In general terms, a third of surveyed parents said they felt especially proud when their child showed signs of independence. Nearly a quarter, however, didn’t see it coming and were surprised by how quickly their little one had grown up.
Of course, there are bound to be plenty of embarrassing moments for parents as well. Kids aged six were found to be the most likely to embarrass mom or dad.
As far as specific moments, many parents (not so) fondly remember their children shouting inappropriately in public (33%) or taking their clothes off in public (28%). Other popular embarrassing moments included respondents’ kids accidentally taking something from a store without paying for it (27%), throwing a tantrum (26%), refusing to leave the car (20%), and breaking a store display (21%).
Kids eventually grow up, though, and the average parent said that by the time their kids turned 19, they saw them as a friend and equal more than anything else.
All those stressful moments when children are young feel like they’ll never end at the time, but most parents can’t help but long for those days once their kids have grown up. Along the way, most parents collect lots of keepsakes. According to the survey, the average parent will save 15 pictures, 12 homemade cards, 16 family photos, and 12 home movies. Most parents will collect lots of keepsakes when their children are around the age of six.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.