Monday 20 February 2017

Let's get honest about the Terrible Twos, The Threenager Years and the Feisty Fours

When people warn you about how parenting is tough they tend to tell you about the sleepless nights, the lack of a social life, how hard the birth will be and so on but I can't recall anyone ever telling me about the different behavioural stages. The health visitor comes and tells you about different milestones they should be hitting at various ages but why oh why don't they warn you about the hard behavioural stuff. Why in all the books and manuals do they not gear you up ready for the onslaught so that you don't feel like you're the world's worst parent and you are out of control?

So let's be straight. You will encounter The Terrible Twos, The Threenager Years and the Feisty Fours (this is where we are currently).

The Terrible Twos:
The first thing i'm going to tell you about this phase is that it actually doesn't start at two. It can hit anytime from about 18 months, possibly earlier.

The terrible twos are usually the epic tantrum phase. Everything you do or say is usually wrong and this is met with endless screaming, shouting and more often than not it is usually in public. 

This is also the I am going to make myself as rigid as possible phase. You know when you are trying to pick them up or remove them from said epic tantrum and they just turn themselves into a statue, a total dead body weight. They fling themselves back and will stay there for as long as it takes.

At this age they also understand that noise and their actions have an effect on others. This is why i'm sure they become as loud as possible. I can sort of sympathise with it because at this age they often can't communicate their needs and wants fully but my goodness do they have to be so difficult with it.

You will probably be very familiar by now with the word no except it's not coming from your mouth anymore, it's coming from theres. Everything you ask them is met with a a very firm, very shouty NO. 

The Threenager Years:
My oh my did we struggle with these years. These years are about the time your child must realise they are their own person and they start to assert and demand their independence.

You still have tantrums except this time they are more like a battle. They are a battle of the strong willed. Parent vs child. These tantrums aren't just crying they are a bit of answering back, a lot of no's and of course the standing still and not moving battle. I wrote about one of these battles last year, The Final Showdown.

Three is also when the attitude phase starts. You may note some hands on hips stances, a lot of pointing and a lot of bossiness. 

Let's talk about clothes. Wasn't it nice when you could pick a lovely matching outfit for your child and they would sit there and look adorable? Well kiss that phase goodbye cause at this age you are met with your own little fashionista and their desire to dress up is uncontrollable. 
They will take a very long time to get dressed. I mean choosing an outfit (most of the time non matching) takes its time and of course you have to try a million different things on to find the perfect outfit for the day.
If normal clothes aren't the desired pick for the day, then you'll probably find your child dressed in whatever fancy dress costume they can find and of course it is totally acceptable to wear them wherever you are going. Try and get them to take it off and you are back to point number 1 of having an epic tantrum/battle on your hands.

This is also the start of the negotiating years. You will miss the days when you could take them wherever you wanted, make them any food and they'd eat it, put them in the bath and put them to sleep. Remember when all you had to do was sing a lullaby and rock back and forth before bedtime, well those days are distant memories. You will now be negotiating with your threenager on how many more stories they will be read or you'll be met with 'just 10 minutes more'. They also become food critics. I missed the days when my daughter would just throw the food on the floor and let the dog have it. In the threenager years she would tell me how rubbish it tasted or negotiate something better with me. If you make me spaghetti then I will eat all of it! Hmph!!!! 

The Feisty Fours:
This is where we are currently at. I'm pretty sure my daughter has been replaced by some miniature version of a combination of Beyonce and Nicki Minaj. My goodness has she got some sass and attitude. She is a girl that knows what she wants and when she wants it. When she addresses me i'm pretty sure I can here 'Just a Girl' by No Doubt playing in the background. 

We are only one month into this age and I have broken down about it pretty much every week so far. I've drank a lot of wine and cried on a few occasions. That's right, my feisty four year old has bought me to tears because she can and she knows she can.

At this age they could be working for MI5. They are hardcore. Little mini assassins and manipulators. They know how to play you and believe me they will. If there's two of you parenting, they will play you off against each other.

The feisty fours are the not listening stage. They have got this down to a fine art. Don't get me wrong every age involves not listening but this age really is selective hearing at its best.

The tantrums/battles become wars. If you disagree with them this could go on for days. They don't forget things at this age. Things will be brought back up time and time again and used against you.

So there you have it. Can you relate? I'm sure it won't stop there and every age to come will have some difficulties. Bring on the next few years, it can't get much worse, can it?



  1. Yep definitely can relate. We're 2 months into the threenager stage and if I hear one more NO I'm going to throttle him. The thing that is driving us even madder is the constant "I don't want it, I want it" followed by screams and tantrums. Oh my lord if I was still drinking alcohol I'd have shares in a vineyard by now!

  2. We're about ten years on from this stage and maybe you will be pleased to know it is a distant memory. I really only remember the good bits now. Stay positive!

  3. Oh and I have all of this to look forward to still!

  4. Haha, this was me, I would get really angry if something didn't go my way. Apparently I really wanted a Cadbury creme egg but I wasn't allowed so I grabbed it off the shelf and started eating it. When I got found out I proceeded to throw the rest of it at the person I was with and threw a tantrum. Lol I really wanted that chocolate.

  5. I'm on my second time around with children. My own are in their 30s but I've been bring up my grandchildren since the youngest was 22 months. Getting closer to the teenage years again now though

  6. I've got a 1, 8 & 9 year old. It get's worse the older they get. Give me the baby stage any day. Although when they get to 9 the tantrums are few and far between but they are WAY worse. Keep telling yourself 'it's all a phase' x

  7. Well this made me laugh out loud, especially calling them little hardcore mini assassins! I can relate to each and every stage, my youngest is just 21 months old and she was definitely in the terrible two stage early, she's a little terror!

  8. I am currently dealing with two feisty three year olds and it's hard.

  9. I can certainly relate. I went through the twos last years, we are now fast approaching the threenager stage and it's already showing its little face wish me luck

  10. You are SO right. Nobody warns us just how hard it is (at any stage because believe me, the 9 & 12 year olds I have can be just as demanding, frustrating and scary) to deal with, and how you can feel so powerless and out of control. One of the worst parts of being a mum is feeling that I am useless and just crap! Great, informative tips x

  11. I know exactly what you mean here, my friend has 3 kids and they are exactly like this x

  12. My mum says I went through the terrible twenty-twos instead of the twos. I was moody and grumpy and lethargic and obstinate! Seems like kids rebel at some point...who knows when!

  13. Ohh I can totally relate, my very shouty 2 and a half year old had a huge tantrum in a very busy bus shelter this morning, I was mortified!

  14. Erm, as a mum with teens and tots I shall refrain from commenting (I will admit I find tots easier)

  15. I have to admit, I've enjoyed the terrible twos so far, Although sometimes she has tantrums, she is just expressing herself, and showing her independence which I guess I'm fine with. I think i'm so laid back because I worked in childcare, and knew what to expect. x

  16. I remember all of these stages. I remember picking Emma up from nursery when she was about 2 and never making it home (five minutes walk) without a tantrum. I remember picking her up when she was 3 and having such fights in the car I had to pull over and calm myself down. And yes, the attitude at 4. School calms them down a bit so there is hope, hang in there :-).xx

  17. I am probably kicking myself in the foot, but haven't had too much trouble with the feisty fours, but the other two all the way!

  18. Yes been through the twos once, now going through it all again with the youngest. I have to admit though, I quite like the toddler years, I know I will only miss them, once they get older :) x

  19. We are in the feisty four stage too. Only a few weeks in and hoping they'll end promptly.

  20. I can relate to this. In the thick of the terrible twos at the moment. So challenging. Lots of deep breaths and a good sense of humour are essential!

  21. We're heading into the threenage years - "take your hands of your hips" is becoming a very common phrase!
    Alana x


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