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Why is age 3 such a hard age?

I have one child, an 18 month old. I keep hearing all over CM that age 3 is a really really tough age with a lot of kids. Just so I'm prepared, what can I expect?:-) Why is age 3 so bad?

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Asked by finallymommy at 1:44 PM on Jan. 14, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 2 (6 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • It isn't. Every age has it's challenges. As long as you are behaving like a responsible parent, start teaching your children from an early age.. Kids learn about picking up toys when they are a year old and you say. "come help Mommy put them in the box" (or whatever) You teach them throwing a fit isn't going to get them what they want by walking away when they do and refuse to talk to them when they whine. Infants are hard..they are up all night. 2-4 yr olds are hard...they are learning to be autonomous, they can be picky eaters,. 5-8 yr olds can start having issues at they are exposed to all those other kids with all those other attitudes. Teens are hard because hormones make their brain Adfult children are hard because you have to let go and let them fall on their ass sometimes...parenting is hard, It's work. One stage is not harder than the other as far as I'm concerned.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 1:51 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Many people think 18 mo is hard.

    If you build a repertoire of parenting skills while your child is young then no age is difficult. Punishment doesn't work for teaching good behavior and having happy kids and families. So out goes hitting, taking away stuff, time-outs, grounding, and all the other forms of punishing. Counting teaches kids they don't have to obey right away - out it goes.

    I didn't have good role models. I had to read books, join mothering groups, go to conferences, take college courses, go to classes, and then start teaching and leading groups and classes to learn how to be an effective parent.

    If you know what to do with 3 year olds they are great. I really enjoy 2 and 3 year olds.


    Answer by Gailll at 1:55 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Oh thanks grneyed, great answer! That is really what I anticipated when I thought about motherhood and the road ahead. I excepted each stage would come with its own ups and downs but I kept hearing talk about those 3s ;-)

    Answer by finallymommy at 2:01 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Three is the worst age! They are developing their reasoning skills and beginning to se themselves as separate entities from their mommies.


    Answer by rkoloms at 2:14 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • You have to be kidding me. You think a 3 year old trying to be his own self is harder than a 15 yerar old with raging hormones who wants to do things you won't allow and "it's my life' gets said 500 times a month. pahleeeeeze.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:30 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • My girls are still young, so I have yet to experience the teenage years. However, the absolute hardest time with both of my daughters was DEFINITELY when they were 3. People warn you of the "terrible twos", but 3 was so much more challenging! Now they're 9 and 4, and we're doing well for now. Good luck!

    Answer by GirlyMama78 at 3:20 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • Every age is rife with challenges and rewards. ;)

    That said, three year old's have an awareness of self and an ability to articulate that they may not have had prior. For parents that are new to the world where kids test boundaries and offer opinions, push back, etc, it's a whole new ball game. It's not so much about 3 being the harder than other ages, as much as it can be about a young parent experiencing the child as "individual" for the first time. It's a big learning curve for both of you.

    I've not done the teen thing as a parent yet. Clearly I've done it as teen though. I don't look forward to aspects of it - and yet I do look forward to other parts of it. Each stage has the same sort of pros-and-cons aspect to it.

    You hear a lot about "terrible 2s" and for many (my kids included) 2 was nothing. The challenges started at 3. And there were issues at 4 and at 5...and see where it's going?

    Answer by ldmrmom at 3:45 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • I have to disagree Gailll. My family as a whole is tremendously happy and we do so with boundaries and consequences. My kids know there are certain things that will not be tolerated and they know there are consequences to breaking those rules such as time-out and loss of privileges. They are also very well adjusted, happy, and productive little people.

    My parents raised two kids. They raised us the very same way. One of us a functioning member of society, supporting a family, happily married, raising two kids, happy, well-adjusted, still incredibly close to Mom and Dad - in fact we talk daily and see each other socially as friends. My brother? He's in a miserable marriage with a step-daughter that disrespects him at every turn. He's in massive debt. He's very much "me-me-me" focused. He only calls home when he wants something. It's not simply about building your skills. Kids are people too. Sometimes they're just difficult

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:53 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • ldmrmom, what you're saying is something I can totally see being something of a culture shock...for lack of a better phrase. It makes sense that at the first point in time when kids begin to express their individuality it could knock you on your butt. I guess you realize your really a full fledged parent to an individual. I always said that having a baby was a bit like being a pet owner LOL. You wash them and feed them and love them etc. but its not until they're older that what I think of as the real parenting begins. I'm actually excited. I'm just now getting my first little taste of it!

    Answer by finallymommy at 4:35 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

  • 3's are hardest because at that age they are more verbal, are learning to communicate, to state their feelings,wants and needs. They are developing their own personalities. I work with 3-5 year olds everyday and trust me the 3's are a challenge.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 6:08 PM on Jan. 14, 2010

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