Parenting a Threenager

Here are a few of the things my 3-year-old said to me this week:

“I hate you.”

“I’m not going to be your friend.”

“I’m not going to play with you.”

“Blah, blah, blah.”

“Naughty daddy.”

Silly me. I thought those comments were at least a decade away. Instead, my wife and I are confronted by that most insidious of creatures — the Threenager.

The Threenager is caught in a time vortex where they’ve outgrown toddlerhood so they feel emboldened with independence and freedom. Yet, they still aren’t old enough to do anything without a parent hovering nearby. And, while adapting to our rules and laws, they push boundaries to see what they can get away with. In our case, we have a child who gets angry when we discipline him. Very angry, in fact. He gets so angry that Hulk would run from this kid.

Here’s the evidence: He slams doors. He refuses to obey our rules. He pouts. He throws things.

Oh, wait. There’s more.

He refuses to wear anything except long-sleeved shirts — even in Florida weather that feels like it’s 110 degrees.

He hasn’t yet learned the meaning of a question mark. Nothing is requested. Everything is demanded. NOW!

Here’s a prime example of his nonsensical behavior: We give our kids watered-down apple juice every morning. One morning he refused to drink it because we put the juice in before the water. What?????

But without a doubt the worst time of day is naptime. He hates to nap. I mean, he HATES to nap. Naptime begins with a book or two of his choice, a refusal to put on a pull-up and my chasing him around the room for a solid 3 minutes before pinning him down. This turns him into a villain from WrestleMania. He gets a look that tells me naptime is only happening after a protracted and epic battle and that I better put my best “Braveheart” war-face.

Like all parents, my wife and I worry about whether this is a temporary situation or evidence of something more permanent and seriously wrong with our once-sweet child. In other words, should we turn his college-savings fund into a future bail money fund?

And just when we are wondering what we did as parents to deserve such a fate, I read THIS POST from Kristen Hewitt entitled, “10 Signs You Are Living With a Threenager.” Boy, did she put everything in perspective.

Still, we hope our youngest isn’t broken. Hopefully, he’s just doing a dress rehearsal for his teenage years.


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About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

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