The Tumultuous Threes

I don’t care what “they” say about the supposed “terrible twos.” A 3 year old child, I have come to realize, is WAY worse, and so much more challenging than one who is 2. I’m speaking openly and honestly here about my 3 year old. I love her so much. I love to watch as she learns and grasps new concepts, and her ever-present curiosity of the world around her. However, this has been a very challenging age for all of us. I’ve had many parents agree that 3 is way harder than 2. I have seen sides of myself come out I don’t like–I have not always reacted the way I should to her outbursts, and I have had my short-comings brought loudly to my attention more in the last 5 months than ever before. Being 3 is hard. I had a friend ask, “why do we have a huge 1st birthday celebration? We should have a huge 4th birthday celebration because it’s a miracle for any child to make it to age 4!” I have to agree. I’ve been told that a few months before my child turns 4 things will change, all will be different and everything will seemingly “click.” Oh, I long for that time!

I struggle with my 3 year old. I struggle daily not to yell and scream at her. I struggle with her bazillion questions, I struggle with her stubbornness, and struggle with her ridiculous (to me) outbursts and defiant behavior. And yet, I have to say, there have been numerous moments when I have looked at my daughter’s ill behavior and have seen myself. Myself, acting like a 3 year old to the Lord. How many times do I stubbornly say “no” to God? How many times do I throw a ridiculous fit because I don’t like what he’s asked me to do? How many times do I ask him the same. exact. question. time and time, over and over? I cringe just thinking about it. To think I act like a 3 year old and do the same bad behavior to my Father in heaven. How frustrating I must be to Him! How much must God want to yell at me, spank me and not put up with my bad behavior?

I do know this: I’m thankful for a God, a heavenly Father, who loves me and shows me MUCH grace. This has reminded me that I, too, need to be willing to show my daughter grace. Yes, she needs to obey and mind the rules, but I’m learning sometimes showing her grace will do so much more for her than issuing another spanking, or taking away video time, or whatever. Sometimes she just needs to know I love her, and I can show her that by showing her grace. Grace is hard, folks, but if I expect it to be given to me then I sure need to give it out as well.

Are you a parent of a 3 year old? What are your struggles? What are ways you show grace to your 3 year old?

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