I know (or, at least I tell myself) that every parent of a three year old experiences the same thing.
The frustration, the attitude, the frustration, the crying, the whining, the frustration, etc. etc. for(whatfeelslike)ever.
A lot of days it feels like we are on the extreme end of the Threenage Drama.
I don’t know if it has something to do with school. Or anything at all, really.
But what I do know is that I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle to get my polite, respectful little girl back.
We have a LOT of defiance going on. We hear a lot of attitude. We talk a lot about making good choices, listening ears and inside voices. I have used the line “because I am your mom, that’s why” way more than I thought possible at this point. I ignore the behaviors I am trying to diminish as much as humanly possible.
And it feels like it is all for nothing. Except that I KNOW we are getting through to her at least some of the time by her actions.
I would say her 3 biggest offenses right now – in no particular order are
(1) not cooperating at bedtime (example: she has been in her bed for
35 55 minutes now whining/stalling/trying to find anyway not to sleep)
(2) a bad attitude (example: general grumpiness and angst in the form of whining, grunting and total body limpness. or, saying “you’re not the boss of me” when asked to come in from outside)
(3) being defiant (example: flat out refusing to pick up her toys when she is asked complete with “I am not doing it. I don’t have to listen to you”)
And our biggest parenting challenge is effective discipline. Taking her toys away? She could care less. Timeouts? They work some of the time, but overall, they don’t really phase her. Reward charts? They don’t matter to her. Losing privileges? again, she just doesn’t really care at the time – because if she doesn’t want to pick up her blocks before going to the zoo, she is not picking up her damn blocks. Maybe we are doing something wrong or maybe she is just that tough, I don’t know!
I am not a proponent of spanking or anything like that, but some days – I am telling you it sounds like it might be a good idea.
Mike and I feel stuck – like nothing we do is working. We KNOW she is a good kid, but when she’s not? Look out – Miss Attitude is in full effect. We also know that she is 3 and we try to maintain our expectations with her age. But telling your parents “no, I’m not doin’ it” when asked to pick up your toys and saying words like “stupid, shut up and idiot” is not flying in this house, ever.
We try to always give her timelines, warnings, expectations up front – i.e. “when we are done getting dressed, we are going to brush our teeth and do our hair”. or “in 10 minutes we are going to bed/in 5 minutes we are going to bed”. or “we have to use our words when we need something”
Please don’t get me wrong – she is still as hilarious & awesome as ever. And she has her days of total sweetness. But the days filled with Attitude are quickly overtaking the days filled with Sweetness. I would really prefer that ratio be the other way around.
Any tips on navigating the threenage drama? Because let me tell you – if this is only the BEGINNING of the drama, lord help me and send lots of wine for the real teenage drama that is headed our way.