Thursday 11 February 2016

Parenting | The Threenager (& how to deal with them)

Threenager.. that is the perfect word to sum up a three year old.

You spend the first few years of your child's life teaching them right from wrong, how to act in social situations and how to be polite.. they finally start to get the hang of it and then they turn three. This is the point you feel like you've been doing it all wrong and wonder if somehow, you have been teaching them amateur dramatics subconsciously.

Stamping feet, slamming doors, answering back, having strong opinions and point blankly refusing to do things, stood rigid with their arms crossed and the sternest look on their face.. this becomes a daily battle and it can be a hard transition for both parent and child.

Your child is suddenly aware they have their own feelings and opinions and can struggle to interpret them.. when they're angry they don't know how to let it appropriately and sometimes aren't sure how to get their opinion across without being rude or lying.

As parents, we can forget they still need to learn this and instantly go down the discipline route which may not work. We have been using a few tips with Sienna to help us get through the threenager stage which have been helpful so I wanted to share them incase they help anyone else that is going through this phase.

1. Explain
When Sienna does something 'naughty', we take her to one side and just reiterate the right way to behave and explain why she shouldn't have done what she did. I find explaining is SO important, more so than just disciplining so they learn.

2. Stay calm & ignore or distract
When Sienna is really having a meltdown about something.. it is usually over something so ridiculous. Rather than getting annoyed and angry myself, I try to stay calm and think to myself how funny it will be to look back on when she's older. Obviously, I don't laugh or show I'm finding it funny on the outside but laughing in my head definitely helps. I also try to distract her.. swiftly change the conversation or ask her if she wants to help me do something. If this doesn't work, I just carry on with what I was doing and ignore her or start singing.. just showing her that it isn't affecting me ends the meltdown a lot quicker.

3. Offer another outlet
If you find your threenager is becoming increasingly angry and lashing out.. they are struggling to get those feelings out in an appropriate way. We have to remember that we all get angry at points, children are no different.. you shouldn't punish or discipline your child for feeling a certain a way (even if it is over something 'trivial' to us).. just show them how to vent it. Different things will work for different children so it might take a while to get it right but things like time out, deep breaths, taking themselves to their room to calm down or even using a calm jar when angry can help them use a different outlet to express emotion and calm down in a less destructive way. Sienna is a big fan of taking herself to her room if we're home and then coming down herself when she's calm, or if we're out she takes deep breaths until she is calm and then tells us why she got so angry or upset.

I hope these tips help when the threenager battles strike!

What tips or tricks do you use?

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