If you haven’t heard of a threenager before let me fill you in, so we have all heard of the terrible two’s when suddenly sweet adorable toddlers turn two and discover they have a
voice and like to use it, they are finding their new independence and whilst its cute it can be very challenging. Then there’s the tantrums but nothing major and if your anything like me I was giving myself a pat on the back when I realised I had got through the terrible two’s which I thought was hard but wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it could have been.
So whats a threenager?
Now if your like me and had never heard of a threenager before I thought that once my child turned three they would return to their sweet, adorable selves with still a few tantrums but nothing major and defiantly nothing of a surprise.
What I didn’t know is my 3-year-old would turn into a threenager who acts like he is 13, where his new independence which he found at the age of 2 is suddenly thrown into a totally different ball game of attitude and sassiness knowing exactly what he wants and knowing everything, with of course mummy always being wrong.
My two-year old who would try to put his shoes on but after a few failed attempts would come to me with two shoes in his hand knowing he still needed me was replaced with a child who after a few failed attempts suddenly turned into a Kevin (from Kevin and Perry) stomping around the house telling me ‘we’re not going out today, we are staying in the house forever and I don’t like my shoes, why did you buy me those ones’, like its my fault he can’t put his shoes on and somehow i’ve bought him faulty ones.
God forbid you should cut his toast into rectangles because he wants it in a triangles so come lunch time you think your being cleaver and have it all figured out, feeling proud of yourself you cut the sandwich into triangles and suddenly world war 3 breaks out because he doesn’t like triangles anymore and he can’t possibly eat that and that’s not his plate its the wrong colour so that’s not his lunch.
Living with a threenager can be hard and very challenging at times so here is 5 tips which I have found helps keep you feeling sane and get through the day, when the days are hard and the threenager decides today is the day he is going to push you to your limit.
Tip 1. Give yourself time out
When your threenager is pushing all the right buttons and you feel like your about to explode like a firework its best to walk away and give yourself some timeout. When using time out for my children I always do a minute for their age, so 3 minutes for a 3-year-old however im not sure I could get away with using the same principle for myself and If I could I would permanently be putting myself in time out. Normally my time out consists of closing and locking the bathroom door whilst I pee but even though it’s a very short time, it gives me enough time to breath and try to collect my thoughts.
Tip 2. Laugh
Some days you have to just stand there and laugh because if you don’t there is a good possibly that you could just stand there and cry. It’s especially hard when your threenager decides they no longer need a nap and they refuse point-blank to even try but yet its very clear from their mood they are tired so its best to laugh it off because no matter how much you try to reason with them you are always going to be wrong.
Tip 3. Bite your tongue
Threenagers are very direct and straight to the point especially when having one of their moments and can often say some really hurtful things like ‘I don’t want to ever see you again, I don’t like you or I hate you’ its best to just bite your tongue and tell them ‘that’s not a nice thing to say’ rather than raising to the bait and shouting. In my case very often the tongue biting can become quite painful.
Tip 4. Try hard not to give in
Very often because of their new-found independence threenagers what to see how much they can get away with and often I have found myself saying ‘if you hurry and put your coat on because its cold, you can have a sweet when we get to the shops’ which is great for the first time as they seem to listen and hurry to put their coat on but very quickly and extremely cleverly they get wise and raise the stakes and no longer is a sweet enough and before you know it they are mini trial lawyers trying to negotiate bigger things for putting on a coat or a pair of shoes.
Tip 5. Sympathise
Even though the threenager stage is damn hard for us as parents it’s a very overwhelming and scary for a three-year old, there are so many new feelings and emotions that they have never been aware of before and most of the time the tantrums are caused by these rush of emotions and not knowing how to control the strong feelings they are feeling.
I have found the best thing to help them understand that even though they might not like the idea of wearing a coat, it is fine to feel like that as you can’t be happy about everything you are told to do, but unfortunately it’s not something that is going to be changed and when we get to where we are going you can take the coat off. Sometimes your three-year old will be ok with this explanation and you can carry on and proceed out of the front door but other times shit hits the fan and all hell breaks loose revealing the threenager, they drop to the floor and you know that its going to take at least 10 minutes before you can even think about leaving the house. Normally in this situation i will just say ‘you carry on and let me know when your finished so we can leave’ I will then walk to the kitchen and pray very hard that he decides that there is no point to this tantrum, 9 times out of 10 this works and my three-year old will return as if nothing has happened.
Not everyone will come across their child being a threenager or even a mini Kevin where ‘that is so unfair’ but if you do by chance have the privilege of meeting one I hope my 5 tips will help in some way and remember before you know it they will no longer be three and will be four, which even though they are a lot smarter they are somewhat more understanding of their emotions.
Thankyou for reading x