My middle child just turned three years old this past Tuesday. Many of you may agree with me that the three year old stage is far more challenging than the famous "terrible twos" stage. It definitely does vary from child to child, but this was certainly true with my older one and several parents I've spoken to have agreed with me.
What is it that makes this stage so hard?
It is all related to development and how their little minds are learning new things, their wills are earning to be independent, yet their emotions are difficult to control. They get frustrated easily when their little hands and bodies can't keep up with what their minds want them to do.
Now our middle child is fairly mild and even though this stage is a challenging stage for her, we are not experiencing the all-out body thrashing tantrums that our older child use to throw. No.. with this one it is more of a stubborn and silent defiance. She will sometimes have a scowl on her face if she is not getting her way but she does not melt down nearly as much as our first.
I wrote this entry when my oldest was in her two's... her three's were actually much harder to deal with. Now that she is five, I think it is safe to say that she has outgrown the tantrums. She will always be my emotionally sensitive one, but she is learning to control her feelings better...
Now, my third child was starting to throw mini tantrums after turning one. We are already bracing ourselves for when he turns two then three... too bad they don't stay this cuddly and compliant!
Ok.. so some practical things I've learned to deal with tantrums:
- try to stay calm while child is freaking out (this is not always easy but important)
- we may both need a time out to calm down
- physical hug and assurance of love
- don't give in to the demand or they will learn that tantrums can get them what they want
- avoid triggers that will set off tantrums (routine really helps)
- make sure getting enough sleep (tiredness definitely leads to more emotional breakdowns)
Yesterday was my first child's fifth birthday. Five years ago, we brought home our teeny little baby and began this adventure called "parenthood"... did we really know what we were getting ourselves into?
There are so many books out there... but really... until I actually stepped into this role of "mommy" I don't think I ever could have imagined all the highs and lows that come with mothering.
It has been such an intense journey... filled with lots of giggles, sweet kisses and cuddly hugs... but also has its moments of agonizing frustrations and exasperated explosions. Sometimes I feel inadequate and defeated and worry about how my reactions and actions will affect this little being.
Those are the times I look up to my loving, patient Father in heaven in desperation and plea that His grace covers over the multitude of my mistakes.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is
made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly
about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
November is here! Which means Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Many blessings to count for this year... especially with the recent aftermath from Hurricane Sandy, I'm reminded of all the things I often take for granted (like lights and hot water). We were very fortunate to gain back power so quickly and to sustain little loss. Here is a photo of the only damage from the storm really that I can see in our backyard. Pretty impressive that the winds picked up these ceramic tile pieces and smashed them. Oops.. we had put away the chairs and didn't think to put away this little table as well...
My prayers and thoughts go out to all those who have suffered much more loss and damage to their homes and those still without power and heat.