Reminder To Dad: My Son Is Only Three


Over the last few days, our three-year old son has become more and more angry, upset and not like himself. His happy face crumbles in seconds over the smallest thing. His usual chipper attitude vanishes before our eyes. He is not right.

That leads my wife and I to conversations on what it could be?

Would it be something at home?

Did something upset him at preschool?

Is he is sad that he can’t watch Game of Thrones?

Okay, so that last one is just me trying to put a smile on this new situation in our house. We have not had to deal with this yet in our parenting lives.

But, after discussing it and thinking about it and putting it all together, the thing I realized was I  had to step back and remind myself, that our son is only three.

I often forget he is only three, not 10, not 12 and not a grown up who can digest grown up experiences.

However, our son is a very “old” three. He is mature, polite, and even looks like he is in public school. All of that adds up to be sometimes forgetting that he is still figuring it all out.

He does not understand how long things take. He does not comprehend change well. He is just finding his own opinions and thoughts and it can really suck when you don’t get what you want.

In our house, a lot has changed for him in the last month. My wife and I swapped on parental leave. I am home now, while my wife is back at work. That means, our son sees a lot less of her. That would certainly upset anyone, three-years old or not. Not having mom around is hard for a preschooler.

Then, we also have a seven-month old who, of course needs a lot of our attention. While we do our best to balance the boys, a baby clearly needs around the clock attention. So, many times in day, we can’t do something our older son wants to do because it time to be quiet, or we are occupied with the baby. That would certainly be frustrating to a preschooler.

I will say, our guy has been a God send for being helpful and a great big brother. He makes our lives much easier thanks to him independence and all-around good nature.

Again, this is why we get set up for forgetting his true age. My wife and I are both older kids and I think we have passed down that thinking to our oldest. When you are the oldest, you are kind of like the junior parent. You have to help out, look out and many times, lose out to the other kids in the family.

It is a great responsibility to throw on a kid, but that is how it works when you are the oldest.

Those are just changes in our house.

When it comes to preschool, who knows what is really bothering him there.

He has dropped down to part-time, only going three days per week. The first day after a long weekend always seems to be rough. It is like he has to start all over. Is seeing his buddies less bothering him? I can see that being true. He is pretty tight with a few of the kids and maybe when he is not there, they move on?

I also want to mention, he is the youngest at his school, where most of the kids are four and up. Again, because of his maturity, even his teachers forget he is only three. He can’t deal with stuff as easily as other kids. But I have to say, he is a fighter. Few things really get to him, that is why this new change in his attitude is puzzling to us.

Is it all fallout from the big changes? My wife was almost certain that her going back to work would shake things up in his life at some point.

The hardest part is, you can’t just ask him what is wrong. He knows in his heart and in his head, but can’t really relay it in words. He gives clues but as parents, we have to figure it out. We need to ask his teachers to keep an eye out and we need to keep watching for signs that something is still wrecking his day.

This is all new to us. We have been spoiled with a young gentleman who makes us laugh and blows us away with his thoughtfulness and kind nature.

He has adopted a lot of our traits and it is amazing to see them show up in him.

So what to do?

I want to fix everything. I want to make it all better for him because I hate seeing him mad. This goes for my wife as well, that should be without saying.

He still has to stick to the rules. He still has to live in our house. But it is up to us to take a step back and remember he is three.

He won’t understand patients right away. He won’t understand that a video game has a step-by-step process you need to go through.

It is up to me to be even more patient with him. That of course is hard when you are also raising a baby and feel tired 98% of the time you are awake. Patience wears thin quick when you are tired. But that is not our son’s fault. That is part of being a parent.

So tonight when our super boy comes home from school, I will give him a hug, ask him about his day and make things as normal and relaxed as I can.

There is no need to over compensate with presents and special treats and anything else that shows a reward. He just wants things to be comprehensible and as normal as possible.

Isn’t that what we all want?

Once again, reminder to self, my son is only three. My son is only three.

You can read more of Michael’s thoughts on being a dad at Like A Dad. Also found on Facebook and Instagram.


The Beginning
About Michael Cusden

A digital content creator, who has been at the blogging thing for almost a decade.Michael loves to write about sports, entertainment and now, his two boys and parenting. Father of two, husband to one and a griller to the Gods living in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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  1. therookiedad says:

    This is something that I struggle with on a constant basis. I always think that my son can comprehend things that he doesn’t understand yet. I must remember he is only 2 and half.

  2. Brad it’s hard. Sometimes he will just get something and you think, well he understands and you move on. Then the next time he looks at you like you have 9 faces.

  3. Sometimes what is bothering them will eventually come out, even if it is in tiny-person-speak. Just hang in there. Keep talking to him in general and he’ll keep talking back. That’s my experience, at least. I used to poke and prod for an answer, but like you said, in his head and heart, he knows something’s wrong, but he just can’t get it out. Sometimes, there’s no answer other than, yep, he’s 3.

  4. Great post! And boy, can I relate. I often think the same thing about my 2-year-old. I know, he’s 2…but he’s big for his age, he talks a lot and he’s so good-natured. Some days, it’s hard to remember that when he has freakouts, it’s because something is, well, freaking him out and because he’s only 2! Strangely enough, I’m always baffled when other people forget how young he is. Talk about a double standard. Anyway, it sounds like we’re all in the same boat!

This is what I think...