lezbemoms

Raising a Blended Family

Lessons on parenting a three year old.

on April 17, 2012

So on the keeping it real side of things: as it turns out…three (almost four) is a hard age.  It is the age of giggles and dimpled smiles and cuddles, but it is also the age of temper tantrums and screaming-when-you-don’t-get-your-way and refusing-to-eat-most-foods and constant whining and crying at bedtime.  At least, that’s how it is in our house.

Lately, the clouds are overshadowing the sun a bit for me here.  The constant, constant, constant whining is getting to me more than it should.  I am letting Shorty take the reins more than I should with the parenting-of-the-three-year-old (not that there is anything wrong with her taking the reins, except that it means she has to work harder than I do with parenting the little one, which isn’t fair).  I’ve just been… more frustrated and less patient than I should be.  I can fully acknowledge this here, on this open space I have created to blog, but it is also associated with feelings of guilt and frustration at myself in real life.  He is three, you know? He’s supposed to whine. I need to get over it.

There’s also the if-I-can’t-handle-this-how-am-I-going-to-handle-this-baby feelings.  I know it’s not rational, and that I am fully capable both of parenting the three year old and of parenting this baby when it comes, but still the doubts creep in. I guess I’m just stressed.

I think what I need to do is acknowledge that parenting him is hard right now.  Acknowledge it, and stop blaming myself for it… work on the parts I can work on (hello, patience) but stop feeling guilty for feeling like it’s hard.  It is hard.  He is three, and has all of the normal hang-ups of a three year old: tantrums, whining, missing-the-toilet-seat half the time (it’s the little things that make life difficult, lol). On top and blending into the normal three-year-old-ness, he’s also an angry little boy (probably stemming from abandonment issues) and he will often go from perfectly-happy and playing happily to angry, shouting, and throwing his toys with very little warning.  The other morning, we had an incident where he was in the bathroom playing in the sink, and after being told to stop playing in the water and come out of the bathroom, he ran up to us and just SCREAMED directly into our faces. No words, just screaming.  It was very intense and a little bit intimidating, even- you could just tell how ANGRY he was behind the scream, even if there were no words.  The screaming resulted in a time out, which caused more screaming, which eventually ended with him in his room throwing all of his toys at the closed door while screaming at the top of his lungs for HOURS.  Hours.  So taking this little instance, for example, is proof to me at least that that shit is not just in my mind- that is real, hardcore, plain old hard parenting right there, and nothing to feel guilty about having a hard time with.

But I do fully acknowledge I need to work on my patience.  With both kids really, but mostly with the three-year-old.  More patience-oriented parenting and less frustration.  More understanding that he’s only three (and in the heat of the moment, I admit that sometimes I do forget that he’s not just throwing a temper tantrum to be a poohead…. that maybe he’s feeling something he doesn’t know how to control and maybe he’s expressing it in the only way he knows how).  It’s hard to remember that his emotions are still immature and that his frontal lobe consequence-understanding capabilities are nowhere near developed and that heck, he is just three.  Three.  Yeah, I need to remember that… but I also need to cut myself some slack.

And breathe.  Yeah, breathing.  Breathing is good.

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2 responses to “Lessons on parenting a three year old.

  1. allison-lee says:

    Definintely cut yourself some slack. You’ve got a lot on your plate and I’m sure you’re doing a great job.

  2. SotOhana says:

    Phew! That does sound very intimidating. I agree, though, with Allison. Slack is deserved. I wonder if some gentle intervention might be good for the little guy. Maybe some play/art therapy? We went that that when I was young because of some shit that happened in our family and I remember it feeling very safe and helpful. Anyway, just a thought. Also, I can almost guarantee that you are doing a lot better job than you think you are. Hugs.

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