Mom hanging out on the couch with her two daughters


I Love My Teens, But I Miss My 5- And 10-Year-Olds

Mar 5, 2019

I read somewhere that Freud called the ages starting around five or six to puberty the latency period. I’m sure I wouldn’t agree with his psycho-sexual analysis of this stage (sometimes a sword really is just a sword), but I like the idea that there is something easier about this time.

"When my youngest of three kids turned five, it was like a breath of fresh air hit our home."

During this middle age of childhood, kids are not dueling with any huge developmental or hormonal monsters. The tantrums of toddlerhood are in the rearview mirror and the sullenness of teens in the future. Life isn’t always easy, but kids are shoring up their relationships in order to battle for their independence in a few years. This means that they are generally a joy to be with.

When my youngest of three kids turned five, it was like a breath of fresh air hit our home. We were suddenly a family with three kids who could all talk, travel and turn the television on by themselves. Our kids spanned the ages from five to 10 and life was busy, full and messy.

We have now moved on to a house full of teens and the word "latent" does not apply to anything about their lives. I love the relationship I have with my teens, and I don’t wish for time to go backwards (too often), but I can look back and reminisce about the golden age of family time.

Here's why I think the ages of five to 10 are the best:

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Their Love Is So Big

Parents are the sun, moon and sky at this age. Sure, they may toss in the occasional "I hate you" and yes, there are discipline battles (hello, Fortnite). But they want your love and approval. They are excited to see you when you've been gone, and they always have time for grandparents and extended family. Their BFF is truly forever, and they just love their favourite shows and books (so much that you may be a little sick of them).

Enthusiasm Is Their Prime Mover

They are enthusiastic about the snail stuck on the garden fence. They are excited by new adventures to the park. They throw themselves into new art projects or sports. They are curious about the world and want to learn more.

They Still Snuggle

They hold hands, they cuddle, they throw their arms across your body as they sleep. When you carry them, their toes dig into your hips. Their kisses are sweet and sticky and only sometimes perfunctory. Walking down the street hand in hand is a normal occurrence, but once it is gone, you'll have trouble remembering the last time it happened.

They Ask Funny Questions

The world is starting to come into focus, but because life is illogical, they ask hilarious questions that may spur some internal questioning of your own. Sometimes it is hard to get a word in with all the talking, talking and more talking.

They Play Games

No, I don’t want to play with action figures for three hours ever again. But I wouldn’t mind a game of Go Fish or tag once in a while.

They Play Outside

They can spend hours playing in the snow, or the playground with minimal equipment. Time seems to slip by — all they need is the outdoors and someone to play with.

The World Is Still Magical

It’s not just about Santa and the Tooth Fairy. It’s the magic of the moon rising every night and the butterflies flying by, the funny joke they know and the pleasure of a crispy French fry. It’s the magic found in the small details that we adults storm through without noticing.

I love my teens and the relationships we have now, which are on more or less an equal footing and based on mutual respect. They are interesting and responsible and the glimmers of adulthood that I used to see are becoming full-fledged character traits. They are amazing and more than I could have ever wished or predicted. But I wish I still had an eight-year-old around the house to remind me of some of the everyday magic that I might be missing.