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Shall we discuss how a threenager is crazier than the terrible twos? Parenting a threenager – it’s a real thing!
Man… I do not know that we are going to come out of this one on the other end! KIDDING, we will. We so will, but MAN has it been a long 4 months. ONLY FOUR MONTHS! We have 8 to go!!!!
Thank goodness for 123…Magic. If you have NOT checked that out, just click the bold type above and read it. Seriously, it’s saving our lives… or at least what we have left of our lives! Otherwise, grab a glass, get that red wine… and make sure you don’t run out.
Our threenager’s behavior is a daily discussion
Honestly, we sit and discuss on a daily basis how we can handle some of the situations that our three year old puts us in lately. His banana was too spicy the other day? Meltdown.
The cheese slice broke. Meltdown.
The dog gave him kisses, Meltdown.
No nap, no bed, no dinner, no snack, yes snack, he now wants dinner. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Please keep in mind, I am not a parenting expert, this is just from experience.
I have found ONE THING that KIND OF works… KIND OF! After you read through 123 Magic, get yourself a time out bench (only because this is way cooler to sit in than on the 3rd step up), along with a wake clock… and start the counting. They think these things are “fun” rather than a punishment or a way to make them stay in bed.
The ONE thing that works, is just letting him. We just let him feel those emotions, and after he has calmed down… we address the issue and show him, love. So let’s get down to it, parenting a threenager – it’s a real thing.
1. Let them feel emotion!
Three year old’s have SO MANY EMOTIONS! So first thing’s first… let them cry. For the LOVE OF GOD… JUST LET THEM! When you tell your child to “not cry” “there’s no need to cry” in essence you are telling them to not feel emotions and that it’s not okay to feel emotions.
It is SO IMPORTANT for little’s to understand and know what emotions are! In our house, we say “It’s o.k. to be sad, you can cry! That’s okay… you just let me know when you are done and when you are ready to come play with us”. Eventually… 5 or 10 minutes later the crying stops and we move on.
2. We still need to discipline
Discipline, however, is different. There obviously has to be disciplined. We have a threenager that somewhat refuses to listen.
I have learned that you cannot make threats. I’m a softy, so when I say “no story if I get to 3″… that means we need to stick to our guns and there’s no bedtime story. (they REALLY don’t like it when their routine is thrown off). So this leads to crying, and again, that’s OKAY! With 1..2..3.. MAGIC they chat about how to follow through on your actions, and use your words but do not over-explain yourself. (We tend to talk a lot in our house) so this part was the most difficult.
We try so hard to say “Hey, we do not push, that’s 1.” He does it again “That’s 2.” Then he pushes me instead of his brother/dad? “that’s 3… take five” then off to the timeout chair we go for three minutes. No kid really likes time out. Or it’s taking away the toy that was being thrown or taking away their dinner that they are putting up a fuss about. Oh my… can we talk about dinner for a second?
The dreaded dinner hour
HE DOES NOT EAT DINNER! He plays with his food, gives it to his brother, or pushes it away and gets upset when he doesn’t get desert. Well, guess what pumpkin pie…. no dinner = no desert. (He typically eats a little bit after this).
But really, the best thing we have done in this situation is just not letting him eat. So you might think that I’m an evil mom, but seriously… they will eat when they are hungry. Might get hangry, that’s fine. But you eat what is made and that is that. I refuse to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for every meal.
3. Let them choose once in a while!
The last item is choices. We give two choices (he’ll choose something not on the list), but then we keep giving him two choices or none.
Then this way, they think that it is THEIR idea/choice. We’ll do this with outfits, stories, toys, some times snacks/food. Three year old’s (at least ours) really likes to be independent and we are LETTING HIM test that in a safe environment.
4. Show your love and affection
Then the one thing that ultimately ends up working…We show love. We show SO MUCH LOVE. We notice that when we are sitting there, on our phones or glued to the t.v… he acts out even more.
All he wants to do is play with mom and/or dad (typically JUST DAD these days… I’m the evil one). It’s amazing what some attention, love, and respect will do to a three-year-old. You guys… we do not give them enough credit. They are smart little humans and they pick up on things.
In a nutshell
Parenting a threenager – it’s a real thing, at it’s finest. So, yes, discipline is important, do not let your three-year-old walk all over you. YOU are the boss…. YOU are mom/dad. But it is also important that they know and understand emotions.
How can you know and understand emotions if you don’t feel them? Choices help them feel like they are in control of something and have some sort of say. Making things fun like waking up to a green light or sitting in a fun time out chair can make it not seem so terrible.
Otherwise wine. Well, I mean coffee first, then wine. Hang in there, three is only one year. Then comes the age of 4. Oh lord help us all! Parenting a threenager – it’s a real thing, good luck to us all!