Five Tips for Surviving Life with a "Threenager"

Five Tips for Surviving Life with a "Threenager"

As I mentioned in my recent live chat over on my Facebook feed (click here to watch!), many of the parents I work with and those in my free online community have experienced the almost overnight change in their child as the transition from two to three years old. It’s like a switch is flipped and our sweet, compliant little baby becomes a moody, defiant teenager-in-training.

And really, that isn’t far from the truth. Both periods of life are characterized by monumental growth and development and are accompanied by an innate drive for autonomy. The catch with “threenagers” is that they are still quite dependent on their caregivers in a way that true teenagers are not. They not only need us for physical nourishment and protection, they need us for emotional nourishment and protection as well (an argument can be made that the same is true for teenagers, but that’s a conversation for another time), and at the same time, they desperately want, and have an innate drive to seek, independence and autonomy. They are figuring out who they are, striving for independence and looking for ways to have control over their lives, while at the same time wanting desperately to know that they are loved, cared for, protected, and safe. And that inner war of dependence and autonomy-seeking is what makes this time so hard for everyone in the family.

So, how can we all come through this tricky time in one piece? Here are 6 tips that the parents I’ve worked with have found particularly useful.

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We start each day fresh. Full of opportunities to do things be the parent and partner we are striving to be. Each morning I wake up (way too early) and remind myself of my parenting and relationship goals. To be present. To be compassionate. To truly "see" my children and my partner. To respond calmly and confidently and without yelling. And to give myself and everyone around me a bit of grace when we inevitably make mistakes (because we are, each and every one of us, human). 

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How to Deal With Toddler Tantrums

TODDLER TANTRUMS GETTING YOU DOWN? The toddler years can be so challenging as parents. On the one hand they are filled with the joy of watching your children express themselves in new and exciting ways, while on the other that expression has the potential to be annoying, overwhelming, and obnoxious. If you are feeling that way I want to tell you right here and right now: That's ok. You're ok. It is NORMAL to find toddler whining annoying

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