Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

Pros and Cons of Having a Threenager

Pros and Cons of Having a ThreenagerEveryone warns you about the “Terrible Twos”, but I think two-year-olds get a bad rap. Sure, kids start having tantrums at two, but what I’ve come to find is that the Terrible Twos don’t hold a candle to the “threenager” stage.


Three is a challenging age, especially when your child has the DNA of two pretty stubborn parents. Yep – that’s us. But, three isn’t all bad.

Here’s my list of pros and cons of having a Threenager:

Pro: They can start doing things for themselves.

Your pride soars when they can start to put on their own clothes and shoes. They can brush their own teeth, pick out and play a show on Netflix (I swear this generation is born knowing how to do this), and make up games to play.

Con: Once empowered with these skills, they must do EVERYTHING themselves and THEIR WAY.

They insist on dressing themselves even though their shirts are on backwards or their shoes are on the wrong feet. Mine will only brush her teeth with her red toothbrush. And the new bubble gum toothpaste she begged for at the store? Nope, she will NOT use it. She must have the old, sparkly blue kind!

Pro: Threenagers are old enough to express their emotions.

My heart melts just a little bit each time my daughter looks at me and says “You are the best mom” or “I love you so much.” She floods people and animals alike with hugs and kisses. She feels empathy when a kid gets a booboo at the playground or someone bullies someone else in a movie.

Con: Threenagers are overly emotional!

Rarely until three did our daughter shed real tears. She was a happy baby and a quick-to-recover toddler. But at three, it’s drama, my friends. She gets so upset when she doesn’t get her way, whether it’s because she doesn’t want to go to bed or we ask her to drink her milk or we bring her to wrong type of Band-Aid. I shake with fear when I think about what this will look like at 13!

Pro: They understand more things.

I am continuously astonished by the things my daughter learns and knows. She has memorized books and loves to also make up her own stories. Her vocabulary is huge. She’s inquisitive and asks a lot of questions. Her daycare teachers even say she is advanced for her age. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.

Con: “Understanding” does not equal “listening”.

It’s like there’s a small animal or some debris lodged in both of her ears whenever we tell her what to do or what not to do. Don’t smash the cat. She doesn’t hear me. Stop eating your boogers. Is this thing on?! Please get back in bed. Nope! Do you want a sucker? Oh, I think I dislodged the blockage.

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Do I have stressful times with my threenager? Yep. Is this a cry for help? Certainly not. I find her antics amusing more than anything. As long as we keep up with the talks about why it’s important to listen to parents and teachers, and put her in time out or take away privileges when she breaks our rules, I think we’ll be okay.

This is just another one of the glorious (albeit frustrating) stages that we as parents/guardians get to experience. This too shall pass. And, while the cons do sometimes make me want to hide in the closet with a pint of ice cream, the pros are out-of-this-world amazing!

Little threenager – I see you. I hear you. You are brilliant and charming and active and curious, and I wouldn’t change you if I could. But, seriously, will you please stop throwing rocks?! This is the fifth time we’ve had this talk today…

What else have you got, mamas of (past or current) threenagers? Let’s hear those stories!

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