15 signs you’re currently parenting a threenager

Soph’s birthday came around and it was like a dormant time bomb went off, signaling the start of year three, and all the sass she could serve. Her previously slightly ‘stubborn’ streak became more of an all-consuming personality trait.

Threenager – The Urban Dictionary  defines the term ‘threenager’ as “a 3-year-old spouting attitude like a spoiled teenager.” For example: “My kid just left the house in mismatched/stained clothes and 17 bracelets because she’s a threenager and I have more important fights to pick.”

Here are 15 signs you’re currently parenting a threenager – can you relate?

1. Mood Swings – One moment you’re full of smiles and jokes and the next minute, you’re moody as hell, side-eyeing the crap out of me.

2. Personal space – Your brother is your very best person. He’s an affectionate kid – but, true to threenager form, when he swoops in for a hug you push him away and say, “No more hugs!”, “Don’t touch me!” and I’m constantly a couch referee mediating the squabbles that come because Oli is too close to you or his toe touched her your blanket.

3. “You’re irritating me!” – You hear this from your child’s mouth for the first time, in the correct context.

4. Temperamental – You’re as temperamental as the weather right now. You shriek like a banshee when a sandwich is mistakenly cut into triangles instead of the squares which you instructed us to do the day before.

5. Being the boss – When it’s time to clean up you decide to delegate the task to your older sibling – or anyone in eyesight for that matter – “You clean up!” – with folded arms for extra effect.

6. I do it myself – We now need to prepare to leave the house ten minutes earlier than usual as getting you into your car seat requires a whole lot of patience. Apparently you now know how to strap yourself in (which you don’t), and after repeatedly shouting ‘I do it myself’ you relent red-faced and frazzled switching shouting gears to “YOU do it Mama!”

7. Do not look at me the wrong way or make a joke – A threenager does not find your jokes funny. Case in point, I took Oli to the doctor last week. Our lovely, friendly doctor joked when it came to the part of the consultation that involves a sweetie, and Sophie naturally lined up for one and did not take the joke (oh having to be sick to get the reward) very well – I even whispered to her “here come the tears” and perfectly on cue, a fresh wave erupted.

8. You have the expert negotiation skills of an FBI negotiator – Negotiating has become part of our everyday norm with negotiations on treats, if you tidy your room, Peppa Pig or just literal control over the TV remote over your brother, activities, bath time, you name it – you negotiate it.

9. Love on your own terms – While putting the kids to bed it’s Oli who’s begging me to stay and cuddle, while you order me to go cook in the kitchen and after a quick kiss you shout “Go NOW Mommy!”.

10. Getting dressed – You believe you have the styling skills equivalent to that of a Harper’s Bazaar stylist and emphasise most outfits with an obligatory bow, hat or tutu of your choosing – serious, life-altering decisions that can take ages and multiple wardrobe changes to perfect. I’ve since stopped being embarrassed by your questionable fashion choices.

11. The rights that come with being Three – You believe turning 3 has brought with it the right to ask for ‘lippie’, makeup and perfume before we leave the house every morning. (Mom hack – a bottle of Johnson’s® baby cologne decanted into a small spray bottle has you convinced you’re spraying the real deal on, and the once over of Calmex on your lips doubles as your ‘lippie’).

12. At three you have your whole life planned out – You confidently tell me you’re either going into makeup or to be a chef in the kitchen (pavlova ranks high on your baking repertoire).

13. You express your anger in the harshest of ways (in a threenager’s world) – “You’re not my best friend Mommy” is the line you deliver to cut me where it hurts, apparently, and when I reply with “That’s okay, I’m not your friend, I’m your Mommy” you put the ball firmly back in your court with a simple side-eye.

14. You have an answer for everything – Heaven help us if we don’t agree with you, dear Soph has the unshakeable belief that all she believes is correct, and that’s the end of it. Whispers to Oli to nod his head and simply agree, even if he doesn’t, goes a long way to calm the beast that arouses if we dare disagree with you.

15. You engage in conversation as and when you please – Answers to how your day at school was or how swimming went go unanswered or I get a ‘I’m tired of talking’, but low and behold the conversation that erupts out of your mouth should I get a call or try and hold a conversation with anyone.

Parents everywhere are conned into thinking they’re in the all clear when their child turns three, leaving the terrible two’s behind, but how wrong we are! All I can say is buckle up and pick your battles, we’re in for a ride – until we hit the next stage, the f@#king fours! As exhausting as this age or phase can be, you need to find the humour in it. With all of Soph’s strong-willed, sassy ways I may just be raising the next great female CEO, so I’m going to go with the flow, grit my teeth and count to 10-hundred and hold on tight. It’s got to get better, right?!


14 comments Add yours
  1. So true! I can relate to all of this – I wrote a similar piece a couple of weeks ago; it’s literally as though someone flicks a switch at 3 and a whole new person appears.

  2. Hahaha these words could come right outta Yusufs mouth . Last night I got a “NO! I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE!” Say whaaaaat????? let’s see who doesn’t love who when it comes to bed time Mr

  3. Love it! 🙂 I’ve heard and continue to hear them all on a very regular basis. The latest one is “You’re no longer my friend” this when I’ve said no to something he wants like chocolate or a biscuit just before supper!

  4. Hugs! You will get through it!
    A little battered and a little bruised! But you will!
    The car seat one is a hard one!

  5. This is so adorable and scary!!! Uhm, we are going to do and I am struggling with tantrums.. so this… I don’t know.
    Good luck mama! xx

  6. Wow, I feel like I’m reading an autobiography of my life with my threenager (minus the second kid).
    I laughed… it’s so real. I get “You’re not my best friend Mommy” at least once a day. You’re 100% right on picking your battles. Today my child went to school sporting the, what I call, “Hobo Chic” look. Nothing matched, and I don’t care. She’s 3, she will figure out her style as she gets older. I do have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to rudeness. Like with all things in life there are consequences to both good and bad behaviour, and my kid gets a healthy dose of time out when she forgets.

    Lol, it sounds like you’re doing a great job… or at least I hope you are, because if you’re not, we’re both stuffing it up! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks so much for reading Ashley! Soph gets a lot of time outs that’s for sure. Then she’ll call me when she’s ready for a hug. In fact, she puts herself in time outs! xx

    1. Lol, Mel, every child is different, Soph has been more moody at three than Oli was for sure, so you never know! xxx

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