Is Your Baby A Threenager?
When your child hits three, they can often think they’re the universe’s center -and start acting like that too. The biggest difference between two and three-year-olds is that a three-year-old can begin to realize their power and articulate himself much better. Your kid is now beginning to assert his independence and becoming more willing.
What Is Threenager?
The little human living with you, who is 3 according to their birth certificate, but who is a teenager according to their attitude.
Three-year-olds like their “terrible twos” counterparts are just as curious and test their boundaries, but this time they do it with attitude and stubbornness. I’m sure that if they could, they’d roll their eyes like a 13-year-old.
How to Deal With A Threenager?
If you haven’t seen much of the terrible twos, dealing with a threenager can be more shocking. You thought you were safe when everybody talked about your child skipping the tantrums. That is until when you least expect it, the threenager stage hit you. Below are a few of the tips I learned and recommend:
1. Give independence to your child:
This is the age in which pre-schoolers shed their childhood and want to be like the big children. They are aware of the difference between babies and infants on the one hand, and pre-schoolers and larger children on the other.
Instead of holding your child back, encourage them to become more independent. They may even be so amazed at your willingness to let her try to go beyond and beyond doing her best. They need to know that you can trust them with tasks such as putting shoes on them or climbing the playground alone.
Your three-year-old will appreciate the room to explore instead of feeling stifled. Give them autonomy without hovering to do things on their own. The need to step back and allow it to happen comes with the independence of a threenager. This can be particularly hard when she takes to put on her shoes forever or spills all over the floor the basket of blueberries. Nevertheless, this is when you have to draw patience and reassure yourself that errors and messages are all part of the learning process.
2. Label her feelings now that they more verbal:
At the age of three, children wonder if they are the only one who feels jealous or angry. When they feel their heart beating fast or tightening in sadness, they are unsettled.
Emotion labeling defines your child’s feelings. Naming those feelings makes them normal — something that we all experience. It’s the same as coming down with a new ailment that you haven’t had.
Now that your 3-year-old is more verbal, talking about her emotions is even easier. Talk about how angry she looks, or how disappointed she might feel. Use her growing vocabulary to incorporate emotions into your daily language.
And let them know how they affect you and those around them with their words and actions. Describe how hurtful were their words, or how we must respect each other. They are still egocentric in the way children are, so describing how others feel is important.
3. Accept their feeling:
Your threenager is going to go through many ups and downs. Now is not the time to withhold your affection for being sassy or frustrated or reproaching them for making mistakes (remember, we’re all doing that).
They must know that you love them, even if they are at their worst behavior or give you the most meaningful attitude.
Instead of personally taking things, guide them through all the folly. Their emotions are harder for them than they are for you as hard as it is to stomach their antics. Your threenager actually needs you the most during these challenging times.
This does not mean gushing over their bad behavior or allowing them to continue to speak rudely to you. But it means offering a hug to make them feel better, not saying anything just as hurtful back, or making it look like you’re only going to spend time with them when they’re happy.
4. Model the behavior that you want to see:
Your child will be more likely to imitate your behavior than any discussion with her. You can discipline all day, but none of that will matter if the values you teach do not follow your own behavior.
This is difficult, especially if you have a threenager to handle. Responding with something sarcastic is tempting, but speak with respect. Curb their bad behavior by doing so on your own. Their own communication skills are learned to manage. The more good examples they see to model after, the more they can follow suit.
5. Remember, they’re not a teenager:
We laugh at our little threenagers who believe they are ten years older than they are. Comparing them to teenagers is tempting — unless they are not. Far beyond that.
They are still the little children who need assistance in managing social interactions. Those who are fighting with meltdowns and explosions. Through all their antics they still need us to be patient.
The threenagers are smart and stubborn; they are not going to take no for a response. If they ask you a plethora of questions to justify your ‘ no, ‘ you better have your case ready. If you can’t force them, be prepared especially in a public place for a meltdown.
It is important to remember that consistency and patience are key for everyone who parents a child at this delicate age. Do not personally take their words and try to explain things without becoming too emotional or angry. Remember, if we act as adults ourselves, our threenagers will have fewer meltdowns and learn to make a better transition through life.
Also Read: Emotional intelligence of your child