Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Threenagers: The Drama

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.


Anonymous said...

My threenager is the same.way. what is going with our super cuties acting like fools!

Just the Tip said...

Just wanted to say I feel you. P will be 3 in November and OH.MY.GOSH! lol
Tonight, i'm pretty sure she had to be possessed because bedtime was the biggest joke to her it's EVER been and she laughed when she threw her giant head into my cheekbone.
It's a difficult age, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I thought you were writing about Sofia!!! :) I wish I knew what tips to give you but I need some myself! :) It'll get better.......hopefully, at least that is what I keep telling myself. :)

Annegirrl said...

Just keep consistent and stick to your guns. We made it out the other side of threenager and it is much, much better. We still see some attitude and talking back, but not nearly as much as we did at three. I do have to admit that I caught my four and a half year old rolling her eyes at me...but I couldn't do anything except laugh at her.

alison said...

It's not us, it's them. And it will pass. :) Or so I've been told. I'm trying to stay consistent and pick my battles (which is HARD, because it's ALL a battle some days). At least we have each other!

Deborah said...

Oh, this is all so true! This is what three is like! And since you mentioned spanking... there have been some days where my entire goal as a parent has been to get through three without hitting my son. It takes so much energy sometimes, I can't focus on anything more substantial. But it DOES end, and they are still good people, even when the three thing is making them act this way. Now that he's 4, I wouldn't say it's all gone, but J is definitely getting better. Now, on to the next challenge. Sigh.

Kara Foster said...

After having three boys, I can tell you it's proving to me to be a "girl thing" (at least in our house) Kaelyn tells me she doesnt know how to clean her room. Crying, whining, hitting her brother (yesterday, it was biting) Oh the drama..all.the.time. I dont have much advice because we are also in the terrible threenage year.. Just keep constistant and know that 3 is only 365 days.. Then you hit four: I do what I want.

Anonymous said...

This may sound silly but have you tried ignoring her when she says and does mean things? With L the worst thing I can do is tell her that I will not be spoken to in such a way and that I'm not going to engage with her at all. And I walk awa. And magically she comes around seeking forgiveness. I've also thrown away toys she refused to pick up. That was fun! Sigh..,4 is better. Hang in there!

Jules said...

Three is definitely a tough age. I know it doesn't help M-F we're on our last nerves as it is, but ugh. Some days that's all I've come up with.