3 Year Olds and Arguing

Posted on Dec 23, 2010 by 2 Comments
3 Year Olds and Arguing

I keep repeating to myself that it does my 3 year old no good for her to have a mom who is sullen and pissed off. But sometimes the anger just builds and builds and it erupts before my very eyes. I don’t know, maybe I’m alone in this?

Like this morning. I woke up super early because my littlest one is a lark and she wakes up before the sun starts stirring. Luckily, she is so happy to start the day that she sings out and smiles and blows kisses (her new 1 year old trick) as I enter her room and pick her up. Unless, of course, she is starving or I’ve waited too long to come in. In that case, she is screaming. Then the 3 year old gets up and things start to go down hill. The jealousy is getting worse, not better, and invariably whatever the wee one is playing with is the EXACT toy the older one wants. RIGHT NOW. This morning, oddly, it was the other way around.

My 3 year old was playing with a candle (yes, a candle and in my right mind I know this is not an appropriate toy). Oh, don’t worry, the candle wasn’t lit or anything and my daughter DID make it at her preschool so she thinks it is hers. But she’s fascinated with it because 1) it is pink 2) she made it and 3) it’s a candle.

So, she was in the wee one’s room holding this candle and creating this involved story about how the candle helps her imaginary gopher be quiet or some such thing – they have such creativity at this age! Then the baby crawls over and puts out her hand to touch it and the pushing and the hitting starts. Then the crying.

This, mind you, all before 6 freakin’ 30 in the morning. We live in a flat so I’m always a little nervous about the amount of noise we make, which doesn’t help matters. I took the candle (honestly, that should have happened when it first made an appearance) and all you know what broke loose. I sat back in the chair wondering, what do I do? Besides seethe with anger, that is.

As my child is fitfully trying to explain that it is HER candle and her gopher needs it, I’m thinking to myself “why can’t we all just get along? How hard is it, really?” Well, truth be told I was thinking “shut the F up” before the whole “get along” idea entered in my head. But, I want to state for the record that NO, I didn’t voice any of this…

Have you seen this video by Louis CK on “Pig” Newtons? It’s ever so slightly offensive with all that cursing, but I swear, tears were rolling out of my eyes I was laughing so hard when I saw it. The man is funny. It captures the futile nature of arguing with a 3 year old.

For me, I figured it was time for reinforcements because I clearly need to learn what a 3 year old is undergoing developmentally. I mean, my instincts are just not cutting it. (Obviously..wanting to yell at the top of my lungs “SHUT UP” is not a good instinct, no matter how good it might feel in the short term!)

Enter Louise Mates Ames and the Gesell Institute of Human Development.

I’ve read the 2s book (which was a lifesaver, I tell you), so that is why I turned to her book, Your 3 Yr. Old, Friend or Enemy. The title says it all.

I kid you not, as I opened the book, my eyes fell on the first part about the conforming period and the rebellion period and lights started zinging on in my brain! You mean this is all NORMAL? The constant rebellion, the manipulation, the attention-getting tactics, the demanding-ness? OMG! I have much to learn.

So, as I read this I will let you know what I find out. For now, if you need similar guidance, check it out. Or, you can simply stay tuned and I will offer up the pearls I find.

photo credit: qwrrty

Posted in: Parenting

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  • Penny W.

    I find that the time-outs are usually best when Mom takes one, rather than the kids. One needs to walk away, take a breath, and try and laugh at the absurdity of the situation you find yourself in. That can often lighten your mood and give you some renewed patience to deal with the tantrums.

  • Pinchus Rose

    Penny, you are so right.
    I also find my own time out to work best. i go into bed (when i had a newborn i went to the toilet and sat for a sane ten minutes even as he continued to colic away) and gain some sanity.
    i come out better able to handle things, and my dear son calms down too. the interesting thing is that he turns angelic with me out of site. suddenly he is the big brother and all is good between them.