mom and son

Raising Threenagers

Let’s be honest. How many of you were familiar with the term “threenagers”? While it may totally seem like I have created it out of sheer frustration, but if you are a first-time mom, struggling with the “terrible twos” that is widely notorious, I beg your pardon before I burst your bubble and introduce you to the not so familiar yet exceptionally mind-boggling phase- the threenager.

I know how you moms wait for them to utter their first words. Sweeet!!! I did too. I used to be overjoyed at his utterance and made him say his words over and over again. But as he turned 3, those joys turned into mere NIGHTMARES. You just want them to shut up (dare not say that to them) and let you take that one phone call, or let you focus on something you were ought to finish ages ago or let you rest… maybe in the bathroom? Hell no! You cannot stop them since they enjoy talking so much and have just discovered the power of words.

And speaking of power… sure you didn’t know how powerful whining over every.little.thing can be? It’s like a cherry on top of those not-so-sugar-coated words (at least not anymore) and trust me when I say this, no matter how much you anticipate their needs/wants/toys/snacks/friends/outings you will STILL be up for some epic whining. “I want….NOW” so buckle up moms!

mom kissing son

“I would let my child explore the world like a free bird…” that’s me whispering while my child was all snuggled up in my arms as a baby but little did I know that they were capable of showing their free-spirited and independent side at an age as early as 3 years. They run and race and jump and roll all in hopes of “exploring” the world that you so wanted them to. But did you want them to do so at the malls? Restaurants? Your Friend’s house? While it may be embarrassing, it’s all part of their quest. So, Mommy, you can’t really help it can you?

From arguing over finishing that meal to not sleeping on time, from not letting go of their gadgets to not going to the bathroom to pee, (oh btw did someone teach you the whole science of toilet training your threenager)? These little innocent-looking 3-year-olds have some serious SASS. You beg. They refuse. You plead. They push back. It’s a never-ending battle but that’s what makes their childhood all the more fun.. because what else can you call it? lol.

Having acquired a degree in psychology and a diploma in child psychology, I have come to realize that this battle comes as part and parcel of raising kids. Therefore, instead of trying to win over a certain situation and emphasizing counter control, we must emphasize cooperation and try to find a middle ground, even if that means altering or perhaps adapting our parenting style to fit our child and his needs. We must adapt to a style that works for us and for our kids, as there is no one “right way” to raise a child. 

Does that leave you confused? Well, don’t be. Because that’s the last thing your child wants. Speaking from personal experience, I believe that the two absolutely important traits for any parent are flexibility and respectfulness in order to deal with such behavior. It’s important to not only understand and encourage but also to respect their individuality. They are kids for us but in their heads, they are just individuals driven by curiosity.  Praising them time and again, understanding their behavior, reasoning with them, allowing them to communicate by asking open-ended questions, and staying calm are a few ways you can effectively deal with what we call the threenager phase. This can be applied to any form of a temper tantrum at any age whatsoever.

 Well, in the end (no I mean in the beginning when you are planning your first child), you would often hear people say things like “All your kids ever need is just love and attention”. No sweetie, they need that with everything else mentioned above and more! ☺

Joking apart, losing our cool, complaining about them, comparing them with other kids, and yelling is only going to make them all the more insecure. In order to maintain a secure attachment bond with your child that eventually fosters and ensures compliance, we need to be much more tolerant because our healthy and calm attitude today will have a lasting impact on their cognitive development. 

All the best and happy parenting! ☺

Mehak Patel
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