Which is more challenging?

Monday, October 26, 2009

From a parenting point of view: two's or three's?

Everyone has heard about the 'terrible twos' and the challenges that parenting them present. I however argue that three's are harder. At least for me. With the understanding that of course every child and every parent are different- so their particular interactions and strengths and weaknesses as well as interaction dynamics will be vastly different.

In my parenting experience limited as it may be I have a hard time with three's more than two's. Temper tantrums sure- but a two year old is more easily distracted; whereas a three year old is much more stubborn, verbal, willful, tenacious and well in general just MORE. Limit pushing may be developmentally appropriate but it does not mean I have to like it. Arguing and back talk as well. The stubbornness is especially challenging as once an idea takes hold it will NOT leave. They are also more intellectually complex than a two year old in that they try and manipulate you in more ingenious ways.

My three year old is the picture of this. And heavens is it challenging. He will go after not just me but his older sister too- just to push her buttons- while I am more able (sometimes) to remain calm- explaining to a five year old that her brother is being a snot because he is learning his limits is decidedly harder- she is quite likely in fact to haul off and wack him. Which then I have to address even though I had been tempted to do the same.

So this mama spends a lot of time deep breathing- refocusing- praying before responding to any number of situations. Which has been helpful. If I can remain calm it helps him to get himself together.

The challenge that I am currently learning to embrace is that I have said three year old and another child rapidly approaching two but already a pro at tantrums.

It is all worth it though (you can't think I'd ever think that it wasn't, right?). Stinky can charm like no other. And for all of the times he is a handful and half there are easily just as many times when he is the sweetest little guy you could ever imagine.


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