My Children Getting Older - How do other parents feel with their children growing older? Anyone else triggered by children being certain ages?

I have been quiet busy lately especially the last couple of weeks. Both of my sons has birthdays recently. My youngest turned 10 and my oldest 13. I am now the mother of a teenager. When my oldest was a baby and through preschool, we were close even when my youngest was born. We've had some trouble communicating effectively to one another for several years now. He knows how to push my buttons and my younger parts have difficulty not getting into a child-like argument with him. Recently, all of that is getting better. I am wondering if it is because he turned 13 and for me I think that while there was trauma going on at that age, some of the heavier stuff was stopping and so maybe his age is not triggering me any more. It's strange how at every age they've been, specific trauma memories can come up.

As for my 10 year old, I worry about him. I feel like I have failed him as a parent because I have been in and out of the house so much with mental health hospitalizations, that we're just now getting him the testing he needs to help him succeed better in academic and life situations. He's extremely bright so that's not an issue. But keeping him organized, completing work, and completling daily life tasks has been hard. I still think of him as being so much younger. I know I haven't really failed him because he loves me and I love him and I have given him steady, true love. I just hope we can help him with his challenges more now.

It's also a little sad that my kids are getting older. I look forward to watching them grow and to seeing what they decide to do in life. Yet, part of me would like them to remain little a little longer than they will. Some days I really miss when they were 9 months-5 years old. I have not ever missed them being newborns. I savor those memories, but I don't want to repeat those.

How do other parents feel with their children growing older? Anyone else have that experience of being triggered when your children are certain ages that were full of trauma for you when you were there age?


when my son was around eleven, the age that I was when my father remarried to my stepmother both he and the judgemental b***** disappeared for about 3 years, about the time it took me to get out of her house when I was that age. Yes it was triggering, but after the fact. At the time I wondered what was going on, after I figured it out I started having my nightmares about that time in my life all over again. And it was hard to watch my kids learn to adjust their behavior to fit the over-the-top religious judgementalism of my parents when they did interact.
As for getting older? It has been great fun to watch them grow. I am sadder about missing some of it to overtime and late nights.
They grow fast and it seems too fast but you can't change it and it would be a shame to miss a second of it lamenting the loss of past. It just gets better, you will see. And it will feel like today was last week when they are inviting you to come to dinner and hang with the grandkids.
They grow fast and it seems too fast but you can't change it and it would be a shame to miss a second of it lamenting the loss of past.
Yes, I agree with that. I feel sad about missing some things and I miss them being certain ages, but I am not letting it keep me from missing out on the here adn now. I just took my oldest to an informational meeting as he is going to join track and field. I like that because I used to run, too, and I like the idea of a shared interest.


How do other parents feel with their children growing older?
Profound relief - The moment my son hit 18 his dad can no longer order him back (with police escort), and he (TheEx) lost all power over me. It’s taking a minute to really shake free of the habits of years. But I suppose that’s to be expected.

Guilt/Shame/Grief/Loss - That the second half of my son’s life was as brutal and as unfulfilled as it became.

Pride - In how strong/resilient he (TheKiddo) is/has become despite all th bullshit. And that’s a definite despite, rather than a because.

Frustration/Understanding - More related to Covid stuff putting whipped cream and a cherry on top, than TheEx stuff.

Lucky as hell - That TheKiddo has grown into (& is growing into) a man I truly like, and respect, as well as love.

Anyone else have that experience of being triggered when your children are certain ages that were full of trauma for you when you were there age?

Differently… My trauma history, yes; but not MY childhood… Until he was 17 it was flashes of 6yos dragging AKs like TeddyBears, 10yo snipers, scouts, fireteam leaders. I’d be at a playground or soccer match and hear the rumble of trucks behind me …and for just a moment… my heart would freeze in my chest, as in my mind eye those trucks would drive across the fields creating perfect circles of destruction around them as parents were mowed down and children rounded up, and it took everything in me to stay in place cheering, looking for vehicles full of armed men which never came. In middle school it was the refugee camps, and the lost angry young men I -and others like me, and different from me- used to target to put to work. Because nothing on the planet is more loyal -or more filled with flashes of joy/pride/belonging/vive- than an angry young man given purpose, and a place to belong.

As he started nearing 17? Then things switched gears into having a hard time not superimposing my own life on his. 17 is when I enlisted. In my own mind/heart that’s how long I “had” with him… my deadline. Any moment from 17 onward he could walk out the doors and I’d never see him, again. Nor have any right to. Not after how badly I’d f*cked the past 8 years of his life. I could know -intellectually- that his life and mine were different, and on different paths… but even as he made the football team, and was asked onto Varsity within a month (never having played before, just finding a niche he excelled in), and was looking to stay in school (high school + our state’s dual enrolment program IE 2 years of college free if you’re still a high school student) until he was 19? 3 whole extra years??? (From when I left home at 17). It just “felt” like things were done. And then Covid hit, his cousin enlisted (upping his own chances of enlisting astronomically), and everything went sideways. For almost everyone. Which had the odd effect of nixing the my life superimposed over his thing, that I had to fight so much, to see things as they were.


I've cried many moments over my kids growing up and I had to visualize letting them go a little bit each time and also in that moment telling them I'll always be here for them. (Hoping they will come back home when they are older).

For me, I get triggered when I see my kids triggered. It can be quite bad for me sometimes :/


and he (TheEx) lost all power over me.
I cannot wait for this day for me, though I cherish the childhood years with my children. My youngest is 11.

The most triggering years for me with my children were when they were toddlers because I believed they were most vulnerable to all the crap and it would affect them for life. My T reminds me that I was there for them as much as I could be.
Thank you all for your responses. It is very intersting and enlightening to see how others feel. I am enjoying watching my newly 13 year old explore his world and new opportunities. I have to remember that my youngest is 10 now and not so little any more even though I want to protect him fiercely. Perhaps it is because he still clings to me and still worries so much about me leaving that I want to protect him so much. But I believe in helping them both develop their own paths in life.


New Here
I found the toddler years where exhaustingly hard and then the middle school years were tough. I didn't know until recently that my upbringing was traumatic... it was just 'normal' to me but I found the these years of parenting difficult and looking back I think I was triggered the whole time. We have definitely had our ups and downs as a family with my PTSD being unknown but very present and now... I have an 18 year old daughter who I admire for her strength and clarity about the world and I wish I had the understanding that she has about people and relationships. I learn from her every day. My 17 year old son who is the kindest and most loving of humans and my 13 years old son who is loving, strong and kind. As they got older I realised that I am a good mum (it has taken me a long time to acknowledge that) and the proof is in my kids and the wonderful humans they are. I wish I had known earlier what I was bringing to parenting from my past, I had some strange ideas I can tell you, but we made it through.