I have yet to understand why God gives parents threenagers AFTER terrible twos but it happens and it’s rough. Let’s be honest — threenagers are stinkin’ hard.
Here is why threenagers are the worst:
Bye Bye Tantrums, Hello Manipulation
It seemed difficult when your toddler was overwhelmed with emotions and just lost it in Target…That is until you had your first hostage negotiation over bedtime. Now not only do they have emotions, they can communicate and manipulate like you never knew was possible. My son asks his great grandmother for permission when we visit and when she asked if he’d asked mommy or daddy his response was “We’re at your house Nana, you’re the boss.”
Independence Never Tasted So Bittersweet
There was a time when you dreamed of the day that your little baby would dress themselves or put on their own sweet shoes. Little did you know that it would take at minimum an hour for them to do that (all the while refusing your help). Did I mention bathroom independence? Once your kid has peed somewhere they shouldn’t i.e. anywhere from a park to the models at home depot you’ll be missing diapers.
From Picky Eaters to Food Critics
It was a hard day when your two-year-old said yucky to broccoli. Until the day you cut your threenager’s sandwich into triangles instead of squares…or squares instead of triangles…it never ends. The food battles are a new level with threenagers and can literally change by the second.
But do not dismay there is hope! Here are three ways to survive the threes:
Don’t given into manipulations or negotiations. Choose your battles (bedtimes, meals, routines, take your pick) and be consistent. Regardless of your style of parenting, consistency is as key during the threes as it was at three months. It provides safety and stability at a stage when both can help your child.
It is absolutely the LAST thing you want to hear when your kid is having a threenager breakdown or didn’t wipe completely when he just had to do it himself, but this too shall pass. While I can’t fully tell you what it is like on the other side (we’re only two days into the fours) but I hear that it does indeed get better.
Give Yourself Some Grace
Some days you will be super mom. Some days you will feel like you don’t know anything. No matter if it’s good or bad, it’s okay. You will still make it through the day. You may want to reward yourself with a nice bath or drown your sorrows in a glass of good wine, either way, you’re still a good mom, loving your kids, and doing the best you can.