and other seemingly ridiculous attempts at parenting a threenager.
It appears that the age of three leaves these smart little creatures stuck somewhere between the ability to reason and the ability to do whatever their parents say. What is that called again… oh ya, free will!
Which leaves the parents somewhere between wanting to give their child the independence they crave and the need to guide them to make appropriate decisions (i.e. not wearing a sweatshirt when its 90 degrees outside or insisting they bathe). Or it leaves these parents stuck there.
But we have pretty reasonable expectations of her, that she is well aware of. pick up after yourself, no whining and be respectful. We always give G choices – you can have a or b – usually, it’s not an issue and she picks something. Except when she doesn’t. Then! Look out because she’s going down and taking you with her.
We attempt to pick our battles , as en example we know 9 out of 10 times she’s not going to eat her dinner, so we don’t make her – but she does have to sit with us at the table. Sometimes it doesn’t really matter though – she wants what she wants and nothing else matters. No choice or discussion is going to make a difference. Which is fine and I am assuming normal for her age.
But we are still struggling with her in a way. We know she gets more frustrated when she is hungry and/or tired and there are a few things that we know will set her off (i.e. if her underwear are even a drop wet, she will lose her everlovingmind) so we are conscious of these things. She is VERY vocal and articulate – but sometimes, she will literally just whine, whimper and cry about something that is bothering her, but won’t articulate what that thing is to us. Some days, or sometimes several time a day, she just chooses not to listen (normal, I know) which tends to lead into a screeching, screaming rage over something ridiculous like asking her to put her shoes on the right feet.
More than anything though, I am struggling at figuring out how to help her learn how to handle her feelings and express them appropriately. it’s impossible to know most days what will set her off and when, which makes it hard to anticipate!
We are aware that we need to be more consistent with our initiation of discipline (i.e. counting to 3 or whatever) – she is always aware and we are consistent with her consequences – but getting there tends to be our issue. And just figuring out how to get us all through this stage with our sanity, hair and eardrums intact is exhausting, quite frankly.
I know we aren’t the only parents to feel defeated by their stubborn preschooler, so feel free to provide any ass-vice you have on the topic.
I will say though – that she is still pretty much the funniest, most awesome girl I know. Naturally.