child development

7 Reasons Threenagers Are Worse Than the Terrible Twos

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4. Your Threenager is into pop culture.


Gone are the Terrible Two’s days of “Hop on Pop” and sundry Little Golden Books. Your threenager has the pop culture tastes of an actual kid. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rock, and though he doesn’t quite know what they are, they absolutely must adorn his underwear. You will find yourself humming the Beat Bugs and PJ Masks theme songs at odd times, possibly while waiting in line in public places. My threenager is often found watching some iteration of How to Train Your Dragon while playing a Dinosaur Train game on someones phone and yelling that he wants to wear his PJ Mask shirt RIGHT NOW. Of course, he must own all the action figures to all the aforementioned things or he will scream. See number 2.

5. Terrible Twos just cry. Threenagers repeats themselves.


This sounds like no big deal to the uninitiated. Your Terrible Two, when confronted with something he didn’t like or something he wanted, would just plant himself and cry. It was annoying. It was frustrating. But your threenager? Your threenager, in the same situation, repeats the same short phrase over and over. Little known fact: this is actually recognized as a form of torture by the Geneva Convention. “Wanna coloring book. Wanna coloring book. Wanna coloring book.” Over and over. Or, “I’m thirsty. I’m thirsty. I’m thirsty.” Try, “I wanna go home. I wanna go home. I wanna go home.” These are all delivered in unvarying miserable semi-monotone. You will snap. You always do.

6. A Threenager is a master of deflection.


We took our threenager Sunny to a local museum. He decided very quickly that he didn’t want to be there. But he didn’t say that he didn’t want to be there or he wanted to go home. Instead, a repeated (see above) “I’m thirsty,” once met, became “I have to pee,” became a repeated “I’m hungry,” then a repeated “Carry me!” Or imagine that your threenager’s gotten into the watercolors and made some horrible mess. When confronted, he blinks a few times, then launches into a rambling story about the dog (as if there’s any other kind for a threenager).

7. Your Terrible Two can’t tell you want he wants. Your Threenager can tell you EXACTLY what he wants.


It’s frustrating for your toddler when he can’t find the right words to tell you what he wants, what he needs, or how the dog just sat on his head. Frustrating enough to launch him into a storm of tears. But this is nothing compared to your threenager, who can tell you exactly what he wants, when he wants it, how he wants it, who he wants to help him with it, and how that helping should be done.

He can tell you what he wants in Target (everything. Just … everything. Especially everything PJ Mask-related) – and lose it when you say no. He can tell you what he wants to eat – and lose it when that’s not a possibility (no brownies for breakfast, kid). He can screech at the dog to move, and move, and move again until the poor animal starts avoiding him. He can tell the whole world what he wants, and he will. Oh, he will. Shudder at the thought of his Christmas list.

So, what’s worse? The Terrible Twos? Or Threenagers? Tell us your stories in the comments!

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(Image: iStock / arnoaltix; IndigoLT)

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