What are the three stages of parenting? When I was a new parent, I listened to Dr. Dobson on the radio show Focus on The Family. I am pretty sure I learned these 3 stages of parenting from him. I am a big picture thinker and maintaining these 3 large time chunks in my mind has helped me with my parenting expectations.
Parenting Stage 1: 0-6 years old – You Do It All
The first stage of parenting is sheer survival! Under the age of 6, almost all daily duties with your children fall on your shoulders. The days are long and I’m not sure who said the years are short… they weren’t for me!
Organizing yourself and your family in this stage is like shoveling snow in a snow storm. Organization is unique to you and your family and likely will completely change every 3 months. My solution was to chunk my year into 3 month groupings. I would make a few goals for each of my kids, purge their clothes and toys, and keep plugging away.
Honestly, the memory of those years is still chaotic in my mind. If you are in this stage, I highly suggest following my friend Andrea Dekker. She is in this stage and shares her struggles and successes on her blog AndreaDekker.com.
Parenting Stage 2: 7-12 years old – You Do It Together
The grade school years of parenting were the easiest for me. I loved the structure, the fact that my kids were still under my control, and the great friends I made during those years. These are very social years where the kids and parents connect and enjoy activities together.
As your kids age through this stage, their toys will go from being everywhere to being only in their rooms. These are the years when your kids learn chores and establish their contributing roles to your family dynamics.
Parenting Stage 3: 13+ years old – Guidance & Support
This parenting stage is as time consuming as the first, except this time I am in my car all the time and not at home. Luckily for me, I view that large quantity of driving time as the best quality time I get with my teens. Deep thoughts, big dreams, and life lessons are often talked about in the hours and hours of time I spend with my teens in the car.
I find myself going from managing one family calendar to providing and supporting my teens as they take on their own calendar scheduling activities, and start making their big lifetime goals come to life.
I feel like the sand is running out of the hour glass and I have so much left I want to share. As I work through this stage of life, I am taking mental notes to share with those of you who will enter this stage later than me. Oh boy, do I wish I had that list myself!
Just as there are 4 phases of life that I identified in my book The Mindset of Organization, these 3 phases of parenting all need different organization as well. The more you understand where you are in life, the more successful you will be at finding and implementing the organization you need to make your life function better.