Originally published on http://www.nannyvillage.ie
Dealing with the tantrums of the much maligned terrible twos has been well documented and recorded. What has been less well publicised however is the stage of the threenager. Now, normally I am not a big fan of the trend to put two words together, thinking that it is largely unnecessary and cumbersome. However, threenagers are an exception, with the body of a three year old, and the mind of a teenager it is the best way of describing this phase. And here is my survival guide for getting through this eventful and surprising period….
1. Give yourself extra time
There is a new war coming, and it is one of independence. Over everything. What to wear, how to wear it, what to eat, what to do…. Giving yourself extra time is essential to reducing stress levels when shorts want to be worn on the head, and underpants on the arms and you had to be out the door ten minutes ago.
I have found that some late night preparation has saved us from some highly emotional situations… leaving the clothes out the night before, setting the table for breakfast the night before, trying to run errands when they are at preschool etc. I was in fact so organised one morning that my son in desperation at having nothing to point out as not to his satisfaction, then had a tantrum as it wasn’t raining. He wanted the windscreen wipers to be on in the car on the way to school. We settled on wearing his wellie boots, in case it rained. Which it didn’t. You can’t win them all.
3. Be consistent
This is a time of testing boundaries and seeing exactly how far they can push things. Pretty close to the edge in my experience, but thankfully not over it. Halfway through my threenager experience, I figured out that consistency is best as though they may have the attitude of a teenager, they do not have a notion about context. For them, wearing a fleece onesie in July is a battle that will be fought as fiercely as beans touching other foods. You have to admire their passion.
4. Always reassure
Consequences are big also in this time, inspiring us to a new mantra. From, ‘it’s a phase’ we moved to ‘everything will be ok’. The Lego will be rebuilt and the sky won’t fall in if you drink out of yellow cup. Little anxieties can emerge, and beneath that tough screaming exterior, there is still your little baby who needs hugs and cuddles now more than ever.
5. Batten down the hatches
Like all storms, this one will also pass. It may leave a trail of devastation in its place but peace will be restored and normal life will resume. Well, as close to normal as possible, as you are probably still up at midnight making sure no blue socks snuck into the wash… Just in case.