Just think about it. When your kid is two, you can distract her from whatever she’s fixated on and have a happy child again in seconds. You can lead them more easily through everything that has to happen in a day.
When she’s three, distraction as a technique goes out the window. It seems children gain a laser focus on the things they want, whether it’s to continue playing when it’s time for dinner, one more book at bedtime, or a new toy.
The threes are much more demanding on parents. Your wee one is not old enough to make meaningful decisions, yet they regularly demand to. To make matters worse, they use the words and phrases they’ve learned from you, so it sounds like they know what they’re talking about. They negotiate and wrangle based on their emotional in-the-moment state.
They come out with things like, “It’s not time for bed yet. I already peed this morning. I just had a bath yesterday. I’ll put my toys away after lunch. After I’m done playing, I’ll go to the table.” This is usually when you have to start in with “NOW!” And you really feel they should know better by this point.
Then, the Why questions. There just isn’t enough time in the day to answer all the whys. Plus, you know it’s more a stalling technique than a true desire to know why they can’t have one more cookie.
Other times, your little boy or girl may be talking a blue streak. It’s tempting to just say “uh huh” and go with the flow.
But if you don’t pay attention, you’re going to miss the part where they’ve told you they’re going to repaint the furniture blue with their markers, since they’ve run out of paper and it would look prettier that way anyway.
Talk about mentally challenging for a parent! Tell me, how are the threes going for you?