How to Stop Your ‘Threenager’ from Arguing : A Step-by-Step Guide to Losing Your Mind


Threenager: (n) 1. a 3-year-old in stature with the attitude the size of a teenager; 2. a pain in the butt; 3. my kid

I knew I was in hot water after a conversation argument over breakfast one morning: 

C: I need more breakfast now.
Me: You can’t have more breakfast until you finish your banana. If you’re still hungry, you can have more.
C: I don’t have a banana. I need more breakfast. Now. 
Me: (looking at the banana on his plate) Your banana is right there.
C: That’s not a banana. It’s a doughnut. 
Me: Well, whatever it is, you can’t have more breakfast until you finish what’s on your plate. 
Me: (accepting defeat) OK. 
C: I need more breakfast now. I need a doughnut. Now. 
Me: Well, you said you have one on your plate… 
Me: (looking longingly at the bottle of wine leftover from the night before) Please tell me it’s 5 o’clock somewhere …

My threenager loves to argue. My threenager lives to argue. It doesn’t matter what it is or what he’s previously argued with me. His points and opinions facts change as quickly as the headlines on my facebook newsfeed. Even a simple three-sentence encounter leaves my head reeling and frustration escalating. 

I’m new to the “Parenting Threenagers” Club, but I’ve already learned some important things. Largely, how to lose my mind and sanity. So, if you are also getting too attached to your joy and all things sacred in your life, let me give you a proven way to throw it all down the toilet (probably along with all your hopes and dreams of potty training if your threenager argues that, too …). 

Step 1: Fight every battle.

Every. Single. One. You will no longer need to binge-watch The Bachelor for the cat-fights. You’ll now be able to get all the drama fix you need from your relationship with your threenager. No need to pick your battles mama; pick ’em all. 

Step 2: Fight to the death.

Won’t eat his sandwich in a triangle shape? Won’t drink water out of the green cup? Won’t sleep without her blankie? Won’t tie his shoes before he’s 25? Point your finger in her face and yell until she gives in. The louder your voice, the harder she’ll fight back and the longer the encounter will last. I know you’re getting tired and wanting to give up give in, but fuel your anger and don’t quit. 

Step 3: Help them with everything.

Don’t listen to his desperate plea to “do mysewf mama.” Forget about fostering self-confidence and independence in the long-term. You know it will only lead to death and destruction in the now. He will probably swing and kick at you, but how else can you tie his shoes or strap him into the car seat unless you hold down his arms and legs?

Step 4: Use as much PDA as possible.

All day, every day. I know it’s hard to muster affection for someone who riles your anger like none other, but let’s face it. You love her deeply, right down to her annoying little core. So, show it. All the time. Especially on the playground or in front of her friends at preschool. She’ll likely wipe off your kisses and push away your hugs, and if you’re lucky, it will also illicit a fight (see step one and two)

Step 5: Tell them they are wrong.

Oh mama … Don’t you know? That high school/college/graduate/doctorate diploma hanging on your wall means nothing in comparison to the vast and immeasurable worldly knowledge of your threenager. He already know it, so why don’t you?? Tell him he is wrong. I dare you. He will end up fighting you to the death! 

I can promise you, that if you follow these five steps your threenager will stop arguing with you. Largely because following these five steps will kill you, and then there will be no one left for your threenager to argue with and mass chaos and destruction will erupt when she is in charge. 

So, in hindsight, don’t listen to me. This is terrible parenting advice. Laugh at my misery and then go buy a book on Amazon that will steer you in a better direction. And please do me a favor. Can you send an extra copy to me before I wither away into toddler oblivion?? 

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Amie Glazier
Originally from Denver, Amie enjoyed a break from cold winters while stationed in various southern locales with her husband, who is a pilot in the Navy. But they currently live outside Seattle, and she is now learning to love the rain. Amie and her husband have four small children who eat dinosaur chicken nuggets like they're going extinct and love all things aviation. After graduating with her B.A. in English, Amie worked in various fields with each military move, but never stopped writing. She has been a contributor for The Military Mom Collective since it was founded and finds joy in helping other moms connect in community. When she’s not writing or herding her adorable brood, you can find Amie working out at the local cross fit gym, binge-watching Hallmark movies, and actually enjoying chemistry while home-brewing with her husband. Amie is proud to be co-owner and Director of Partnerships for MilMC to help military families connect worldwide. You can contact Amie at info {at} militarymomcollective {dot} com and follow her journey on Instagram @mrs.amielou