Home Parenting Tips Will I Survive the Terrible Year of the Threenager?

Will I Survive the Terrible Year of the Threenager?

by Ivy B

I feel pretty confident that the answer is no!  Maybe physically I’ll survive … nothing has succeeded in killing me yet.  Mentally, however, my threenager is making me more and more insane.

threenager meme
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Forget the “terrible twos.”  In comparison, I loved two.  My daughter was learning a lot, soaking up all the information you gave her.  She was sweet and polite, using her manners regularly.  I actually enjoyed being around her, and she seemed to be happy around us.  I’d venture to say she even liked me.


There's always talk about the terrible two's, but I wasn't prepared for a threenager!

Life With a Threenager

I don’t know what happened.  At three, she’s turned into a tyrant crybaby with no regard for other people.

Too often, she chooses to cry about things without ever using her words to express what’s wrong, before busting out into tears.  She’s always been dramatic, but this takes the cake.  There’s nothing we can say or do to get her to talk to us before getting frustrated to the point of crying.

Her sweet pleases and thank yous have turned into loud, boisterous, and outrageous demands.  Requesting that she ask for things politely only results in more anger or tears.  When her requests (or demands) aren’t met, it leads to screaming, more crying, and arguing.  Still … no sweet “please” ever willingly comes out of her mouth and getting a thank you is like pulling teeth.

She spends the majority of her days arguing with me.  It doesn’t matter if you disagree with her, or if you happen to agree with her, she still argues.  It makes reverse psychology impossible to implement because I can’t win anyway.

can't make a threenager happy #sahmplus

I can’t make her happy.  If I do something she wants, regardless of my ultimate feelings about doing it, I am rewarded with screams and crying when our time is up.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough.


It’s the same as if we just never did what she wanted in the first place.  Either way, the end result is an unhappy, ungrateful, crying, angry, bossy little tyrant.  And I can’t even just decide to do what I want with her because it ends horribly too.   So, I feel like the best option is always to just stay home.  If I’m going to have to deal with all that negativity, I might as well do so in the comfort of my own home where judgmental eyes aren’t on us.

At least at home, I can lock myself in my room, leaving her to work out her emotions alone for a few minutes.

I force myself to get past the near-constant attitude to enjoy the short moments when she’s in a good mood.  Like when we go swimming together, having fun, smiling and giggling.  I just enjoy it.  Or visiting the neighbor who has a difficult time letting us leave.  Or spending a morning at the zoo enjoying the animals or splash pad.  It’s all fine and dandy until the moment something doesn’t go her way, or it’s time to go, and I’m certain to see a meltdown, screaming, and maybe get a bonus “bad mommy.”

When I’ve requested that she please be nice, I’ve been met with the response “I don’t want to be nice, it’s not fun.”

And she wants to be a grouch.  She forces herself to not laugh, or smile, or giggle.

My heart aches when she says she doesn’t love me or calls me a bad mommy.  I’m hurt and angry that nothing I do for my daughter is ever good enough.  I question my parenting techniques, though my husband assures me that I’m paying the price for trying to raise our daughter right.  My alternative is to give in to all her demands, in hopes of getting her to like me, but then we know we’re not teaching her that people expect to be treated with respect.  The alternative means we’re sure to raise someone who has high expectations of what she should get out of life and people.





Hitting inanimate objects.

It feels like it’s all day, every day.

And when daddy comes home?  She’s typically smiley, happy, and sweet.  He only sees short outbursts.  And, only recently, did he end up being at the receiving end of a full weekend of her wrath.  Until then, it was as though I was crazy.  I’m not entirely certain he believed just how bad our every day was.

I don’t think he understood just how much I can love her, yet just how much I can’t stand to be around her.  I often suggest that there’s probably going to be a need for mother-daughter counseling in the future.  I’ve even wondered if her attitude is affected by undiagnosed food intolerances.  I mean, if I have them, what makes me think she doesn’t?  And we learned that some of my food intolerances did actually have an effect on my moods.

That’s how much I think her behaviors go beyond a typical three-year-old.

But, maybe she isn’t?  I don’t live with another 3 year old.  Our friends don’t often get a chance to see what I struggle with at home, and I probably don’t see their struggles.  So, what makes me think my daughter is any worse than another threenager?

Certainly, there’s something wrong with me.  I experience constant guilt over how I feel.  What mother feels like everything is out of her control?  What mom wants to hide in her room for an entire day, only to want to leave the house as soon as relief has arrived?  Does a good mom have so many bad days in a row?  Does a good mom actually think there’s something so wrong with her child that she thinks the kid needs a counselor or a special diet?

And then, on occasion, I get a glimpse of that sweet, caring individual I knew when she was two.  Freely giving of her smiles and affections.

a genuine happy threenager moment #sahmplus
Image Source: SAHM, plus

I second guess myself.  Is it all in my head?  And, I wake up every morning hoping for a brighter day, only to have my bubble burst sometime before we’ve finished breakfast.  Yes, I’ll give it that long, just not to sound overly dramatic myself.

I know I’m going to physically survive the Terrible Year of the Threenager.  Only because I’m counting down the weeks until she turns 4.  I have hope that four brings this house some peace, even if it’s a miracle.  And if it doesn’t, she’s going to be in VPK three days a week to give her and me both a break from each other.  And for that, I hope absence makes the heart grow fonder for us both too!

She’s beautiful, smart, and clever and I don’t like feeling as though I’m counting the hours to bedtime from the moment she wakes up.  We both deserve better than that.  I know I’m a good mom because, every day, I try my best … regardless of the inevitably disappointing outcome.  And I wake up every morning with a little bit of hope to have shattered.  I’m a good mom because I love that adorable little tyrant, even if I don’t like her attitude or terrible behavior.

Yes, I will survive the year of the threenager, just not with much sanity.

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