Children are at their most challenging for mum and dad as they turn five, a study has revealed.

The point at which children start school is when parents face the most difficult problems, the research discovered, with fierce tantrums and teenage-like attitudes and ideals creeping in.

Parents also admit to struggling with accepting their 'baby is growing up', as well as balancing work with childcare outside of school hours or during holidays.

Other kids influencing their child’s behaviour and their youngster answering back also add to the challenges of bringing up a five-year-old, according to the research from Care.com.

It also emerged that despite the newborn ‘sleepless night’ stage being thought of as the most difficult to deal with, 66 per cent of parents actually found this to be one of the easiest.

Liz Fraser, Modern Family Expert for Care.com, said: “When you find out you are expecting a child, everyone warns you about the sleepless nights that come with having a new-born, or the struggles you face during the hormonal teenage years.

“One particular period of a child's life that parents often seem to need a little more help with and preparation for is when their children approach school age. This stage brings some very big challenges, for both the child and the parents.

"While you might be more likely to get a full nights’ sleep by this time, your child’s behaviour is changing as they become more independent and influenced by friends at school.

"Add the stress of juggling your work with childcare, especially around school hours and the school holidays, and you can see why starting school could throw up more problems than you think."

When it comes to dealing with the challenging years, 57 per cent of parents say mums bear the brunt, with just five per cent believing it was mostly left to dad to cope with.

And as a result of the added stress, seven in ten admitted their relationship with their partner suffered while they were going through a difficult stage with their child.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel with one in three now able to look back on the challenging years of their child’s life and laugh about it.

Researchers also revealed eight in ten mums and dads admit parenting has been more challenging than they thought it would be.

But 41 per cent said things would have been made easier if they had family members who could have helped out with childcare now and then.

Another four in ten said more money would have made things less challenging while 38 per cent would have found it easier if childcare was cheaper.

Better access to childcare, more help with the housework, more help from their partner and having a better idea of what to expect would have also have had an impact on their daily struggles.

Liz Fraser added: “Without good support and suitable knowledge of how and where to find care solutions, modern day parents can feel overwhelmed by the challenges they face."

She added that Care.com’s Pay Calculator allows families to check the average local childcare rates in their area and run official carer checks.

Top ten most challenging things about having a five-year-old:

  1. Dealing with their new attitude/answering back
  2. Having other children influence their behaviour
  3. Accepting my baby is growing up
  4. Juggling childcare with school holidays
  5. Tantrums
  6. Juggling work while they are ill
  7. Juggling childcare before/after school
  8. Knowing how best to discipline
  9. Encouraging them to work hard/do their homework
  10. Trying to help with their homework