Yep apparently some parents have their ‘terrible two’ year olds converted in to a ‘terrific three’ year old over night. I’m not sure how much it costs or if it’s a secret cult you need to be part of, but it definitely didn’t happen here.
Noah has just learnt to be slightly more manipulative and to copy our parenting methods. One example is with choices. I have learnt that given his choices gives him a sense of power and can by pass some power struggles (tantrums). It has worked really well and really opened my eyes to the gentle parenting method. It’s not always the solution but generally giving him a choice helps him to make a good decision and understand why he is feeling frustrated.
However he does use this against us, if he doesn’t like that we are telling him it’s bed time. He will give me two choices, I can either go to bed or go in the garden. This is amazing because I would love to go to bed at 7pm and leave all mum duties for someone else, he doesn’t realise that it isn’t a punishment. Or another tactic he uses is making me laugh when he knows he had driven me mad. He does this by mimicking my method of calming him down, he touches my cheek and says “look, I know you are getting grumpy, let’s have a cuddle”. Number 1. I am so proud of him for understanding that you can calm a situation by helping someone with a cuddle and I hope he does this at nursery, number 2. He sounds so damn cute that I end up nearly in happy tears and forget whatever he has done to cause me to be grumpy. See, he is a genius at just 3. He is no better behaved than he was when he was two, he is just now very clever at making me forget what he has done.
Honestly sometimes I think we could rent him out as a form of punishment. Days when he just wants to hear his own voice, refuses to even stop talking to eat, demands and steals food every 5 minutes and flat out refuses to stop chasing the dog. The days when only a mum could love him!
If anyone is struggling with a terrible two or three, four, five year old. I would really take a look at the gentle parenting method, it really brings you back to thinking of your child as a little person that can often understand much more than they can communicate. It had helped me to explain things to noah instead of asking him to do something and getting frustrated when he doesn’t do it, such as asking him to tidy up. He never did it because that term is so vague, now I say “please can you put your train set away in the green box, your books back on the shelf and your pirate ship on the top shelf” and it works. He doesn’t get frustrated and then gets praised for helping me.
Don’t get me wrong, not everything in the method works for us, a few things like not praising children or encouraging competition just don’t sit well with me. I use lots of different phrases to say well done or good problem solving and sometimes competition is good. For example some days the only way to get noah to dress himself is so say “ I bet you can’t put your socks on as quickly as I can” and he does it! So I think it’s a win that I can encourage a toddler to wear clothes let alone put them on himself and leave the house!
Take a look for yourself and see if it helps you, there is also a Facebook group for gentle parenting which is so helpful and people are always there to ask for advice with specific issues.
Wish me luck!