Time to Read: 4 minutes

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Listen as Don and Suzanne are joined by Maddox and McCade, the last two of the Manning clan, as they share how their childhood was built on their relationship with each other. 


Come into our studio and listen with us as the youngest of the Manning kids share about growing up together. Maddox is finishing up his ninth-grade year and McCade is completing sixth grade. They are three years apart but as you can hear from the podcast, they have developed a friendship that will last a lifetime. 

Every family member has a different perspective of what growing up was like. Our goal is to help parents understand childhood through the youngest people in our family.


We asked the question, What was life like as the youngest in the family?”

  • We got parented by everyone. 
  • We tried to be cool to fit in with the older kids.
  • We got left out or dismissed because we were too young to participate.
  • We were the center of attention a lot because we were so cute (but we liked that)! 🙂

When you see your youngest child frustrated, ask yourself if they are being bossed around by you and everyone else in the family. Sometimes we had to remind our older girls to be the sisters and let us be the parents. 

Maddox and McCade pretty much grew up in an adult world. When we ask about their childhood, they usually respond with, “What childhood?!” They were constantly a part of conversations that were way over their heads, dragged to events they didn’t want to go to, and forced to sit still when they would rather have been outside playing. 

We asked them, What did you do together, and how did you stay little kids in the midst of an adult world?” 

  • We played make-believe games.
  • We created with Legos.
  • We used our bikes for imaginary adventures.
  • We shared a room and talked (and sang) until we fell asleep.
  • We played basketball, sports, & video games together.
  • We tried to connect to the big people by bringing them into our kid world.

Sometimes, as parents, we expect our little kids to sit still, be mature, and be interested in our adult situations, but often they get so restless and bored. When they start to leave the table and run around or throw a fit or be obnoxious, take that as a red flag that they are done with the adult scene and are ready to be a kid and do kid things. 

We asked the question, What do you get in trouble for, and how do we parent you?”

Maddox answered by saying he gets in trouble for taking too long or not listening when we ask him to do something. He went on to say that he picked up on the concept that “the right thing is more valuable than doing the wrong thing” at a pretty young age. 

We also asked, “What’s one thing you would tell parents that would really help their child want to obey and want to do the right thing.” 

Maddox advised parents to do these things because they are foundational for identity, faith, and character: 

  • Have deep, hard conversations. 
  • Tell your kids about your life.
  • Share about what is happening in the world and about your worldview.
  • Make sure you are a safe space.

McCade’s thirteen-year-old wisdom to parents was to make a relationship/connection with your kids that will help them want to come to you, especially with deep conversations. This helps kids know that their parents are there to help them. 

This was such a fun podcast to record, and it’s full of insights into a great example of two kids who really have been great friends for life and thrived as the youngest kids with a LOT of older siblings. 

Be sure to look for next week’s podcast where Suzanne and I will take three key points from conversations with our kids and explain some ways to “flip your thinking” to build an amazing childhood for your kids. 


If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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