Patrick Dempsey says newborns and toddlers are NOT the hardest to parent

Nothing is worse when you’re looking to commiserate with a fellow parent about how tough all of *this* is, only to have them tell you, “Just wait until they’re XYZ age, it only gets worse.” First of all, not helpful. Second of all, that is probably the most depressing hot take about parenting ever. Like it never gets better? It only gets worse and worse?

And that is why Patrick Dempsey’s thoughts about the hardest parenting phase have people a little riled up. In a new cover story for People, Patrick Dempsey opened up about parenting and gave some hot takes.

His three children are much older now—with his daughter Talula being 21, and his twin boys Darby and Sullivan being 16—and he said that he finds it much harder to parent his teens than it was to parent his kids when they were younger.

But he does have sort of a point, so hear him out. McDreamy said that he’s now better at being patient than in the past (with all that practice with three children, two of which being twins, there’s no doubt there), and he said not that they’re finished with the noise and clutter, he’s a lot more tolerant now and has better patience.

As far as parenting being harder now with older children, he told People, it’s harder now, because “You need to be around, but they don’t want you around because they’re fighting for their independence, which they should,” he said.

He added, “They need to find out how they interact in the world, they need to learn those boundaries, they need to make mistakes. And you need to be there for them and allow them to learn from that.”

Dempsey was most recently named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” and he said that it’s partly because his twins keep him on his toes. “They keep me very active,” he said. “I need to stay in shape to keep up with them. The older you get, the more work you have to put in.”

Now he fully expects these older kids to make fun of him relentlessly for the newest title he’s earned.