The terrible threes? — The Bump

The terrible threes?

Did anyone else's sweet kid turn into a total nightmare when they turned three?  DS will be three in a month and is not the same child recently.  He didn't really have the terrible twos - a few fits here and there - but recently its like several times a day.  Today he had a fit in the mall because I wouldn't buy him a toy.  I had to carry him kicking and screaming the entire length of the mall back to my car.  

What good advice have you gotten on dealing with this behavior? 

Re: The terrible threes?

  • Yep. DD has only been 3 for almost 4 months and she's been driving us crazy! The whining is out of control and her attitude and behavior is ridiculous.

     We started a reward system with her. She earns marbles for certain behaviors and when she fills the jar she gets to pick a special treat. It's working really well. She gets marbles for things like staying in her bed at bedtime, using table manners, using a big girl voice, following directions, etc. Her treats are things like going to get ice cream, visiting the local bounce house place, movie night at home, etc.


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  • Yes! ds was really good and at about 2 1/2 he turned into a little terror! He is still good in the car but eating out has become harder as well as going to the mall.. we cant do that anymore cause he has a fit every time.. but he loves target and the grocery store.. very weird.
    DD 11/5/10 born by c section DS 9/8/07 born by c section due to Pre-e/Hellp Syndrome m/c at 5 1/2 weeks 8/4/06 Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker DaisypathAnniversary Years Ticker
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  • My mantra for my DD: She's acting her age (and her age is obnoxious!).
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  • Three is way worse than two!!  Anyone who said terrible twos didn't have a three year old.
  • Ahhhh...yes!  DD's new found attitude is driving me crazy!  My go-with-the-flow 2 yr. old is gone and now I'm dealing w/ the assertive, know-it-all preschooler!  The not-listening phase is the worst.  We will say something once or twice and she purposely refuses to comply.  We've started taking away a princess doll (prior to this she did time out and it was very effective, but now she smiles when she gets a time out and doesnt' care) and when she listens the next time she earns her doll back.  So far it's working, but who knows for how long.  So far, three has definitely been a challenge!
  • Haha yep.  My mother used to always warn me that it is the "trying twos" and the "terrible threes."  Now that they have figured out what they can get away with, they go crazy.  For my SS, we use time outs and a reward system. AKA if he is good while DH and I shop at the mall then he can have 30 minutes at the play center.  This seems to work fairly well, and whenever the bad behavior starts to arise, we just consistently remind him that if he continues to be good we will go play.
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  • My son also didn't seem to get to the real defiant stage until he was 3.  I just tried to remind myself that it's an important part of human development, and that -- as annoying as it is for the mommy -- they have to learn to assert themselves and separate from mom at some point!

    Best bet -- be consistent, keep a sense of humor, and don't take their defiance personally.  It's their job description as toddlers to go through this.

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • Our DD has become a monster as well.  The sassy tounge, not listening, fit throwing, the list goes on and on.  Then people keep asking why we arent prego yet and i say... spend a full day(wake up to wake up) and tell me how you could have another one now.  But we LOVE her so much.

  • I'm so glad this was posted.  Ben was a pretty good 2 year old, but when he turned 3-the whining, throwing fits, and definace began.  I'm glad I'm not alone.
    Proud Mommy to Ben
    You didn't grow in my tummy, but in my heart!!


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  • I have no advice.  All I can say is I feel your pain.  I'm good friends of a mom with twin boys and she said terrible twos were nothing in what the "threes" brought on.  All I can say is hang in there.  Boys seem to be a bit harder when they turn 3.  My DD was an easy 3 year old. 
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