Parenting a three year old is not for the faint of heart. When I was growing up, there was the designation of the Terrible Twos. Then, when I was in grad school, I overheard Terrible Twos, Troublesome Threes.
Most recently, in the past couple years, there has been a rise in the term “Threenager.” And, let me tell you, I have a Threenager.
My threenager thinks he is pushing 30, and that he knows everything. Mom and Dad are used merely as pawns to start the microwave (no need to load it, he can do that himself), make Mac ‘n Cheese on the stove (or french fries in the oven), or shuttle him to and from swimming and soccer (church may or may not be an appropriate destination in the car). If he doesn’t get his way, he has learned to test his boundaries by crossing his arms, stomping a foot (or two), and usually replying in a sassy tone of voice.
He is not the sweet and charming child of mine even a mere six months ago!
And, as frustrating as I find the daily in and out to be, ensuring he is learning the lessons of, “being respectful,” “doing as you are told, even when you don’t want to,” and, “being nice in what we say and how we say it,” can I let you in on a little secret?
I am loving this bone-wearying, frustrating stage!
For, as frustrating as it is, I know my son is learning skills and traits to allow him to be a leader as he gets older. As I work on nipping the sassiness in the bud now, I know it will set him up to be a kinder, more respectful child and adult in the future. As I hold him to behavioral standards and expectations during this stage, I foster his ability to assert his independence at a later stage of his life.
Now, if only I can maintain that perspective and reminder, as my emotionally taxed brain goes about the days and months ahead toward the age of 4…
Does anyone know the term for a 4 year old?
For those with older children, what would you say was the most “hair pulling out” stage?