Battling the Threenager


A three-year-old boy.Before I had kids, I remember parents referencing the “terrible twos.” Never really thinking much about it, I always chalked it up to young kids being difficult, and when I got to that phase in life, we would deal with it.

My older daughter never went through a ‘terrible twos’ or ‘threenager’ phase. She definitely had her moments here and there with being difficult, throwing tantrums, and not listening, but no real phase. I am a firm believer in the scenario that they make your first child the easiest to trick you into thinking all of your kids will be that simple to deal with. I will completely admit that she was three during most of COVID, so I think things were just difficult in general, and I didn’t pay much attention.

And then I had twins.

As parents of twins always know, having two is way more complicated than having one. I know this. But WOW, we are in the thick of the ‘terrible twos’ and the beginning of what seems to be a very intense ‘threenager’ phase.

Lately, I cannot keep up with how many tantrums are thrown per day (and my kids are in childcare most of the day!) Sometimes it’s just because my son doesn’t have the correct color Pringles he wants, or he wants to be independent and screams, “I DO IT!!!” 

Other times, it’s because my daughter wants a different water cup than I gave her. She will throw herself on the floor and scream like I am the worst mother ever until she gets the cup she wants. And the fighting between the two of them. Don’t even get me started. They fight over who shuts the door, who brings the dog her food bowl, who gets what stool to stand on to brush their teeth, and the list goes on and on.

Don’t get me wrong; some days are better than others. And my twins do still have sweet moments. My son’s new favorite thing is yelling to me, “I need a hug, Mommy.” Or he will hug my leg and say, “I love you Mommy.” My daughter can be just as affectionate by nuzzling her head into my shoulder when I pick her up. These are the things I try to remember when they start to display their alternate personalities of the ‘threenager.’

I have tried several different tactics to deal with the two ‘threenagers’ that I have in my home. I have tried ignoring the negative behaviors. I have tried scolding. I have tried re-directing. I have tried time-outs. You name it, I have been there, done that.

Honestly, every day is a mixed bag. I go into each day bracing myself for battle with not just one but two highly emotional three year olds. If anyone has any other ideas, please, help a mom out. I feel like I go into every day with a high level of patience, and by the end of the night, that patience is at less than 1%.

I don’t want to wish these times away. I know that these times are fast and fleeting. I also know that as kids get older, bigger kids mean bigger problems. But really, how can you enjoy a tantrum? I most definitely will NOT miss those. I do not think I will mourn the ending of the crazy ‘threenager.’


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