Oh, Threenagers.

Terrible Twos is a term that everyone uses… warns you about.  As soon as you say you have a two year old, people knowingly look at you and say, “Oh, those Terrible Twos.”  Well, folks of children who are not yet three… those people are wrong.  ALL WRONG.  Sure, Bug has gone through some rather annoying phases over the last year, but none of those phases were quite as frustrating as the beginning of the three year old year.  And he’s not actually turning three until Sunday.

You see, the problem with three year olds is that they are at those beginning stages of thinking they know everything.  They feel like they’ve got a pretty good handle on this whole how to live life thing.  Three year olds really like to get their way, if they don’t, they will pout and scream and cry about it.  Yes, kind of like a teenager.  Glad you got that.

A good example:

The other day, Hubby and Bug decided to draw me a picture.  It was very sweet.  They drew me a house.  Hubby drew the house, Bug colored it in.  Hubby drew the roof, Bug colored it in.  Hubby drew the grass, Bug colored it in.  Hubby drew a door, Bug flipped his shit.  “But, I WANTED TO DRAW THE DOOR!”  Ummm, okay.  So, Bug takes the drawing, runs into the other room and throws it as hard as he can.  Which 1) isn’t very hard and 2) it’s paper, it’s not going very far.

As a parent, moments like this surprise you.  This is not normal behavior for my son.  Or, at least, it wasn’t.  He’s still a really good little boy, and freakouts like this still don’t happen all that often, but they are definitely becoming slightly more frequent.  In fact, just last night, at dinner, we told him he couldn’t have dessert unless he finished his dinner.  Immediate tears.  Seriously, dude?  Part of you wants to laugh and the other part wants to hold it in because you don’t want to make the situation worse.

The other part of the Threenager bit is the independence streak.  I get this.  I get that he wants to do things by himself.  I like that.  I think that is a wonderful thing.  What I don’t like is that if I have accidentally started to do something for him, something that he now wants to do on his own, he flips his lid.  Things like climbing in and out of the car seat.  Or pushing his trike… the one where his feet barely hit the pedals.

The other not-so-awesome thing about toddler independence is that everything takes ten times longer.  I mean, things take longer with kids anyways… getting out the door with a baby takes approximately 5-15 minutes depending on whether or not they poop as soon as you lock the front door.  Getting out the door with a Threenager who wants to do everything himself and then whines when you try to hurry him along?  Approximately 15-30 minutes.  Unless you just pick him up and drag him to the car kicking and screaming with no shoes because he wanted to put them on by himself even though he hasn’t figured out how yet and you are already running late because he eats his breakfast at an elderly snail’s pace and you don’t want to send him to school without a decent breakfast.  Whew.  That happens a lot at my house, obviously.

At least he makes up for it with lots of sugar, hugs & kisses.

I’d love to give you some advice on how to deal with a Threenager, but we’re still figuring that one out.  The same basic rules apply in our house that have always applied… you misbehave twice and you’re in time out.  First time’s a warning, unless there is violent behavior involved (thankfully, this rarely happens).  Then, you don’t get a warning.  We do our best not to tolerate whining and to encourage good manners.  We ignore tantrums, though true tantrums have, thank God, always been few and far between with Bug.  So, for now, Hubby & I are continuing with our original strategies.  If they start to not work and we do some drastic discipline change, I’ll let you know.

How were your kids at Terrible Twos VS Threenagers?  Any advice?


5 thoughts on “Threenagers

  1. I have always thought three’s are harder than twos. But like everything else–this phase will pass. Things become easier in some ways and harder in others. The constant is that they always change so parents cannot ever be totally comfortable in what they are doing!

  2. I’m glad it’s not just us. From flushing the toilet (no matter who used it) to turning on the microwave, the list of things Amanda and I are no longer allowed to do is getting too long. We’ve been in the fits stage for a couple of months already, but unfortunately Miles’ speech isn’t as advanced as Eli’s, so 1/3 of the time it’s a mystery as to why we’re laying on the floor screaming.

  3. Holy crap I am not ready for that. The above behavior is Sullivan’s “Terrible twos”. Maybe he’ll be like a fifty year old man when he’s three. He’ll go through a midlife crisis. Could be interesting.

    • Maybe he’ll be the exact opposite of Eli and be a super easy three year old?? Totally hoping for that for you. Especially after the tantrum that was had today.

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