My Sweet Pea is Three

Abby taking a joyride in her new car, a birthday gift.

Today my coworker Juana asked me if I had discovered yet that raising girls is very different than raising boys. She had previously told me this and I had internally rolled my eyes. Even a few weeks ago I would have thought that was a silly statement. But, she has raised three girls and three boys, so I think she knows what she’s talking about. I should have believed her.

Abby turned three in July. Oh, the drama since then. My two-year-old has turned into a threenager. The sweet, shy giggly two-year-old has turned into a bossy, grumpy, three-year-old. She does not want to listen. She tries to assert her independence at every turn.

Where before she would happily do things asked of her, like throwing a Kleenex in the trash or picking up her toys, now she will argue and cry at the drop of a hat when you try to enforce a consistent bedtime or her need to do chores. She will look you in the eye during an act of defiance.

The mercurial attitudes and back talking is reminiscent of my sister at age fourteen. Lord, I am in for trouble when she actually becomes a teenager. She loves to share her opinion, especially when it is not appropriate. She has recently become jealous of the attention her younger brother receives and has been acting out to get more attention for herself.

I have been trying to spend extra time alone with her. I make sure that she knows that I love her and that while she has a younger brother now I do not love her any less, even though sometimes he may require more attention because he is a baby. I try to take a kind but consistent approach to discipline. Other than that, I don’t really know what else to do.

Sometimes Abby acts so grownup that it is hard to remember she is only three. In times where I am getting frustrated, I try to remind myself, she’s only three.

Has your child gone through this phase? What did you do?

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