Trying to Survive the Threenager

Yes, that is a term – threenager.

I’m currently in, what I’m hoping is, the middle or end of the threenager phase. (Dear Heavens let it be near the end!)

Let me define it from my experience so far: My sweet little toddler, the one I could take anywhere and was, for the most part, predictable, well-mannered, happy, agreeable, up for fun and frolic soon gets lippy, rude, disagreeable, uncooperative, sneaky, disobedient, and thoroughly unpredictable.

While it’s not all the time, these last character traits seem to shine through A LOT. I’m not being over dramatic here, I’m trying to be honest.

Parenting a little person who is going through this is one of the toughest things I have ever done. And I’m seriously not exaggerating.

In the last 2 months I have read 4 parenting books – I am currently on my 5th one. Trying to get tools in my arsenal to deal with sporadic and random character traits that I never know are coming.

I have tried: Time-outs, Cool downs, Positive talking, Redirection, Distraction, Removal, Rephrasing, Yelling, Ignoring, Toy Removal, Counting to 3, Treating, Bribery, Sticker Charts, Singing Directives…oh the things I will do!

Everyday is a new challenge! Everyday I hope that we will be done with this phase (that too shall pass), but for now we continue to muster our way through.

The daily adventures that I get so excited to do with her, often end up getting threatened away, taken away, or if we get to experience the fun soon after we are treated with rudeness again.

What makes it difficult is just the complete change in who my child is – I know she is pushing boundaries trying to figure out her world, and I’m hoping and praying that when we come out of this one, I will once again see the little girl that is a joy to be around.

I know that everyone experiences some different form of these challenges, maybe at the same stage or at another stage in development. I am grateful for honest friends who offer a listening ear, great advice, a shoulder to commiserate on and a husband who is a complete partner in figuring this out together.

I have been told by more than a few seasoned parents that ‘Three and 15 are the toughest ages’ so it’s nice to know you do get a break in between. I’m really holding onto the advice that age seven is a bit of a gold-stage in your child’s life. It doesn’t seem that far away!

So if you’ve been wondering where Debbie is, I have been taking the little down time I have, to learn to play the happiest instrument around – the ukulele and reading many, many books.

I’m hoping to reach the other side of this swamp soon! We can do it – after all in one year we’ll be doing it all over again with Abby!

If you are in the threenager trenches or have been, I would love to hear your stories. I find the community of parents who are honest about these things really help to keep life in perspective!

Paddling through…



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