The Phases of Raising Kids – Guinea Pig, Dog, Cat, and hopefully Eagle

Guest blog by Lindsey White

Our kids are teenagers now and I have begun to notice the different phases they have gone through in growing up. Thinking through it, their growth stages seem similar to pets we have owned or seen.

The kids started out like Guinea pigs. They ate, peed, pooped and squealed whenever they needed anything. It seemed that my only job was to feed, clean, and of course love. That was a wonderful stage in the growth, but I was glad and proud see them become more independent.

So in the next stage they became more like dogs. I still had to feed them, make sure they made it to the bathroom, and clean up after them every now and then, but they were mostly independent. Like dogs, they always showed love and affection and followed me around everywhere I went. They got excited about walks, and were always eager to go play. They always wanted to sleep next to me and they loved to cuddle and be stroked. Those were wonderful years and it was with some hesitancy I watched them become teenagers.

As teenagers they turned from dogs to cats. Not overnight but over time. They now make their own decisions and often turn up their noses at the things that used to make them giggle. They don’t get nearly as excited about wanting to play and everything is subject to their judgment. They appreciate being fed, but feel just as confident they can get whatever food they need. Every now and then they will need a cuddle or a pat, but then they will go on their way, pretending they don’t have a care in the world. I love them and I love their growth and maturity, but I dread their next evolution.

The next step is for them to become eagles and soar on their own; to leave the nest and only return periodically for the obligatory family gathering. As my oldest starts college and they all talk about their future careers, I can see them testing their wings and learning to fly. I will feel so excited, so proud, and so accomplished when I finally see them soar from the nest. We will watch them with awe and marvel at their accomplishments. But I will be sad and disappointed and I will miss my soaring eagles as I have missed the stages that were like Guinea Pigs, dogs, and cats.

So what do you think? Have you seen your kids go through similar stages?




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