Remember, this too shall pass. From what I am told, your child will suddenly be easier to handle on the fourth birthday. In the meantime, just take it in stride. A three year old has just had a giant developmental leap! No longer a toddler, he or she is considered a preschooler even if you don't send him or her to preschool. Your child has a bigger vocabulary, a new way of understanding things and wants to push the boundaries to see if they still exist. Your child may find it a frightening time and lash out at you because "we always hurt the ones we love." Your threenager wants to be a big kid now but doesn't quite know how. Your threenager will sigh, roll eyes and make every day interesting, to say the least.
I am a patient person yet I have had to step away from whatever is happening to take a deep breath and regain my composure.
Here are my threenager's top phrases:
"But I don't want to."
"It's too hard."
"Go away Mommy!"
"I run away."
J's Memorable Threenager Moments
- J told me, "I want iPhone. My response, "No." J, "Why?" Me: "You don't need one." J: "Mommy and Daddy have iPhone." Me: "Daddy bought his a long time ago. Mommy's was free. You are three. Three year olds don't need iPhones. You have a Thomas phone." (A toy phone) J then rolled his eyes at me, sighed loudly and pretended I was no longer in the room with him.
- The other day, I told J to try and use the potty. Expected response, "I don't want to." Then after I try to persuade him, I got an unexpected response: "Go away Mommy!" Followed by his running to the bathroom, slamming the door and barricading himself against it.
- J has been known to intentionally drop whatever he is holding onto the floor, roll his eyes then demand, "Mommy get it." In case you're wondering, I then take away the toy because we have a rule that toys should be treated nicely so they don't get broken. Then we move on quickly with a new activity so that a meltdown doesn't happen.
I can look back at these moments and laugh. J is a threenager now and keeps me on my toes. One minute he is hugging me and telling me, "I luv woo," and the next he is yelling at me to go away. One minute, J wants my help with something and the next time he wants to do it himself. I navigate each day patiently, with an upbeat attitude but stay firm when it comes to rules and limits. No matter what J says, I know he loves me and is doing his best to try and exert some control in his life. No matter what, I love J. Nobody ever said parenting was supposed to be easy.
I have some tips and tricks for letting your child feel that he or she has some control and promise to share some other time.