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Teens, Tweens and Toddlers Under One Roof Help! Pointers on How to Bridge the Age Gap


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Tonight was a good night. The house was miraculously quiet due to the fact that my preteen and teenage boys decided that their on-going debate over who is the “lamest" (apparently lame is the cool word for this week) could be continued in the morning, and to my surprise my two year old energizer bunny did not keep going and going and going.

Sitting down for a cup of herbal tea is a rare treat in a house of seven, but you sneak it in where you can. Even as I sit blowing a steaming cup of tea, I reflect briefly on what insanity possessed me to come so close to Independence Day, only to rewind time and start all over again. The bottles, the diapers, the crying, the tantrums. . . oh the thought of it makes my head hurt! Then that little angel face creeps into my consciousness and the stress lines slowly disappear from my forehead and a smile forms. My two year old is just the cutest thing you will ever see and all the dirty diapers in the world could not taint the abundance of joy she fills my heart with daily! They are so open to the world at that age. Always discovering and unconditionally loving. . . Ah. . . . what we all could learn from them.

However, don't be fooled! When you have to run around all day like a taxi cab driver taking your older kids to sports engagements, barbershops, the mall, etc, all the while with a two year old in tow, its no picnic. I complained about the running around but then out of no where it went from bad to worst. Who said a 16 year old could drive? (I'm sure whoever it was that originally suggested it was childless). So add a jump of $100 in car insurance to add on a 16 year old driver coupled with the increasing price of pullups! So Lets see, now I have. . . Dora the Explorer shoes vs. the latest Air Nike, The unrelenting pleas for buying the Barbie Jeep vs. pleas for buying a starter car, helping my little one learn to count past 50 vs. finding some one to help with calculus! What a complete roller coaster!

Even with life being constantly hectic, I feel blessed to have such a wonderful family and cherish the challenge of giving them the best childhood and the tools they need to become responsible adults who know first hand and cherish the value of family.

Three things are key when raising children with a large age gap:

Respect the uniqueness in each child - Every child is different and moves at a different pace and to a different drummer. I learned that a long time ago (somewhere around child number two). I work hard to let each child know that I accept and love their unique characteristics, no matter how different or difficult to understand. This will also help prevent jealousy and some rivalry among siblings

Nurture the Bond- Children born with quiet a few years between can sometimes have trouble finding things in common that they can do together. Encourage older children to share hobbies and talents with younger children. Each of my boys are encouraged to spend an hour or so a day with their two year old sister. In this time I suggest my eldest child who likes to write stories share this talent for storytelling with his sister. This is something they can both enjoy. My middle son loves to draw and in his time with his sister he is teaching her to be quite the artist. My 11, and 13 year old are still very playful and love giving piggyback rides, taking her out to ride her bike and drive her car. They all have their own unique way the can bond with their sister despite the huge age gap.

Spending Time as a Family- This is critical. It is not only enjoyable , but creates lasting memories. Quality time spent together knits the fabric that strong families are made of.
It strengthens the love, the loyalty and intimacies that all families should share. There is no age gap in family time together, everyone belongs and it's not complete when someone is missing.

So no one ever said it would be easy (and if they did, you been lied to!), but what it is. . . . . is fulfilling, fun and exhausting, but most of all, it's totally worth it!

Here are some of my favorite family quotes:

If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable - each segment distinct. ~Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Bringing up a family should be an adventure, not an anxious discipline in which everybody is constantly graded for performance. - Milton R. Saperstein

I think people that have a brother or sister don't realize how lucky they are. Sure, they fight a lot, but to know that there is always somebody there, somebody that's family. - Trey Parker

"When you look at your life, the greatest happiness's are family happiness's. "
Dr Joyce Brothers

Written by Yvonne Kimmons, co-owner of

Your Upscale Resale for Little Ladies and Gents! For more fun articles and advice on toddler issues please view our blog at


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