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There is more in common with a twoyear-old’s personality and a teenager’s attitude than you may have ever thought. words Pam Molnar photos Jesse Brown Nelson

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hile picking up my prescription at Walgreens last week, the woman in front of me had two small children. I guessed their ages to be 4 and 2. It was around dinner time and everyone was in meltdown mode, including their mom. She apologized several times to the cashier and to me for the scene we were witnessing, but I just waved her off. I told her I have been in her shoes plenty of times and I completely understood. When she left, the cashier said to me, “I’m glad mine are in high school now. That is such a tough age to parent.” I nodded in agreement but carried those words in my head into the parking lot and on the way home. Was parenting a teen any easier than a two-year-old? Actually, there are a lot of similarities between them. They have outbursts in public. Yes, they still happen. Of course, they are not exactly the same but they are still embarrassing. Recently I brought my daughter with me to the store to pick up something things for dinner. “Why do we need that? I can just have cereal.” I told her we were not eating cereal for dinner. Moments later, I stopped at the end of the aisle where they had a display of cereal on sale. As I put some in the cart, my daughter mocked loudly, “I thought we weren’t eating cereal,” just as another woman was passing us. Thankfully she gave me a sympathetic smile and kept moving. They are both picky eaters. When my kids were younger, I told them they had to eat a number of bites of something equal to their age before I would excuse them from eating it. Now, as teenagers, their busy schedule keeps them from the family dinner table. Every morning, I ask who will be home for dinner. “Maybe. What are we having?” If they don’t like what is on the menu, their practice, or jobs coincidently overlaps with our dinner.

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