The things they don’t tell you about having a 3 year old

three year old Sophie

Whenever anyone mentions children, or toddlers in particular, you are warned about the terrible two’s, the time in a child’s life when they are starting to understand things, but not able to express themselves in return. When the only way to express themselves is to scream and shout and basically make you look like a terrible parent whenever possible.

But they don’t warn you about what happens after two, so, blissfully unaware of what is to come, you either breathe a sigh of relief that the ‘two’s’ are over, or feel smug that you are obviously such a great parent that they never happened at all. You are totally rocking this parenting thing!

And then the worse thing possible happens – your delightful threenager turns into the sort of child that you don’t have any control over, the sort of child that you would be embarrassed to admit was your offspring. I’m pretty sure its a conspiracy, to fool you into a false sense of security. Because lets face it, if you really knew the truth, then you wouldn’t have had children in the first place!  And the worse bit about it? The slyness of them doing it (mostly) behind closed doors.

Nursery tell you how wonderful your child is, there is nothing but praise for how well behaved they are, how they remember their manners, how they mix well with other children. And then you get home and your so called well behaved child turns into the offspring of satan. A simple request to brush their teeth or wash their hands results in the neighbours discussing whether your child is being brutally tortured and murdered, because the sweet little child they wave to in the street would never willingly make those noises would they?

You start to question if it is your parenting, or if your child just genuinely hates you. You wonder what you ever did to deserve this. And as your heart sinks at yet another refusal of a simple task, you begin to wonder why having children seemed such a good idea in the first place. You feel yourself losing your patience, and you wonder if things will ever get better. You feel drained. You try everything, rewarding good behaviour, punishing bad, ignoring, walking away. Nothing makes the smallest amount of difference. Your child is acting like they are possessed.

Then as soon as it started, it stops, and your darling child comes over and gives you a hug and tells you that you are their best friend, that they love you. And all is again well in the world. Your heart melts and you forget the last half an hour.

Then you ask your child to get into bed and it all starts again……

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  1. Seriously though! What happened to the “terrible twos?” I thought we were in the clear. “Threenagers” are way worse. Some days I don’t know what I’m going to do with this spawn, then she tells me she loves me. Ugh! How annoying!
    Tarynn Playle recently posted…The Ever Changing Bedtime RoutineMy Profile

  2. Oh bless you, it is so tough isn’t it? I have been there a few times and it does feel like it is all you but it really is just a phase that they all go through and they do come out the other end. The best advice anyone ever gave me was that as long as they are safe, ignore it and don’t take it personally. And wine helps too
    Nikki Thomas recently posted…Make them go .. (to bed!)My Profile

    • Andrea @ love and cake

      Thanks Nikki, I honestly think that is the way forward at the moment. Sadly wine is off the menu for me though!

  3. Urgh, I so feel your pain with this one. We are just coming out the the other side of it with the boy but Little Miss is just getting started. *Reaches for gin*
    Mum of One recently posted…Simple Valentine’s Day Card and Wrapping PaperMy Profile

  4. I am in the thick of this stage with Syd too – it is SUCH hard work sometimes, and I have found myself being that shouting mum on the highstreet – much to my shame! Luckily it is balanced somewhat by him being double lovely the rest of the time – but I still cant say I will miss this phase much when its gone!
    Sonya Cisco recently posted…Simple Task + Help = Complex TaskMy Profile

    • Andrea @ love and cake

      You have no idea how much better that makes me feel Sonya – I’m currently the Mum I never wanted to be and that makes me sad beyond belief. Although I’m sorry you are dealing with it to, it gives me faith in my current mantra of ‘its just a phase’

  5. But one day we can blackmail them with tantrum tales, and definitely get our own back!! 😀

  6. Oh Lordy, finished with the threenager stage we are now on the stroppy Sixters where they think they know it all, are assuming the attitude of a Teen and HATE everything. And we are nowhere near teens or preteens yet …
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  7. My son will be 3 in March and this has already started!! Glad we’re not alone x #brilliantblogposts

  8. I’m well over the terrible two’s. threenage moments. The mad 5, 6 and 7’s. Seriously, they’ve found the teen/preenage strops already!
    Paul H recently posted…Fun: Do you wanna build a guided snowman?My Profile

  9. ahhh you see i think i’ve got the worst to come. no terrible two’s, no threenager so i reckon the teenage years are going to be hell!
    HPMcQ recently posted…365 04.02.15My Profile

  10. Haaa! I’m like HPMcQ. Have been very lucky so far, but that makes me think that he is storing it all up for the future and come 13 we are going to get years worth of tantrums and rage and bad behaviour which has been all stored up!
    Ruth recently posted…Back to SchoolMy Profile

  11. I could have written this myself! Fab post. X

  12. oh yes totally with you! and it never stops! I still have tantrums now lol. but yeh i have a 26 months old and she is kicking and screaming since she was 20 months way before 2 so…And i have the experience of an older child (almost 6 now) I know it never stops…it just changes…but being a parent is oh so wonderful!
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  13. *smug face that we’ve survived this and are sailing through the school years without incidents*
    Wait till mine hit 13 (again!) ARGHHH!
    Mammasaurus recently posted…Photographs of snow in The New ForestMy Profile

  14. I know how you feel, I have two of these little lovely bundles of joy! people always talk about what is worse having a boy or a girl when it comes to tantrums etc? Well I wouldn’t know anything about that, only having 2 boys. But having twin boys at nearly 3 and a half is quite stressful at times! 🙂
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  15. Three was way more challenging than Two in this household!
    Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One recently posted…Project 365 2015 Week 6My Profile

  16. Ah yes – the terrible twos weren’t so bad when viewed from the perspective of life with a threenager. Those lovely moments do make up for it although the power struggles are incredibly challenging at times. I do love the term “threenager” – describes it so well! Hope you are getting enough of the lovely moments to make up for the tough ones.
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  17. *whispers* hate to break it to you, but we have a four year old and not a single thing has changed! Good luck x
    HodgePodgeDays recently posted…My Sunday Photo 8/2/15My Profile

  18. This made me laugh – but wait till your three year old is a twelve year old like mine lol #hormoneoverload
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  19. Oh so familiar! My youngest is doing a perfect job of being 3 at the moment – and then there’s the 7 year old who’s doing the teenage thing too, just with better grammar!
    Catherine @ Growing Family recently posted…The planting begins…My Profile

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