Terrible Twos VS Thunderous Threes – Which Age is Worse?

The great debate: Which age is worse, Two or Three?

Is it the terrible twos with the screaming, crying fits, or the thunderous threes with the attitude and sudden outbursts? We’ll let you be the judge!

Terrible Two VS Thunderous Threes

Terrible Twos VS Thunderous Threes - The Battle Begins!

With Maddie her twos were so horrific I’m not sure who cried more, me or her. Let’s get into it…

The Terrible Twos

At 21 months something snapped inside my daughter that I can’t explain. She went from being my little come-a-long dolly to some kind of beast I could barely control. She found her strength, her “right” to choose, and all around stubbornness. She could not be reasoned with, bargained with, or negotiated with… it was her way or else! Sure she would have a week or even two weeks where she did OK, but overall I was very happy to see the twos go.

It was the same way when she was really tiny. At first she cried non-stop, but when she hit 6 months we fell in love – too bad it only lasted 15 months. To make her terrible twos even worse, she is the kind of child who has no fear of people, stunts, or objects that could really hurt her. Combined with the two year old syndrome of not listening, this made for a very stressful time.

Discipline just didn’t seem to work. Turns out that adhering to discipline is a sign of weakness on both sides of her family. And the fits… oh my, the fits! I always said I would never be one of those parents with a child screaming on the floor in public but guess what, I was.

Yes, I have been that horrified parent trying anything to get her child to stop the wailing, sobbing fit on the floor before someone comes and asks if I am trying to abduct her or something.

I was spoiled while helping raise my littlest sister. She worshiped me and vice versa. She was a mild, easy to manage little girl so I just naturally figured that the people with kids screaming on the floor were just doing something wrong. Boy, was I in for it.

My daughter was a fireball basically from conception, always kicking me to death and keeping me awake at night. She is like a wild stallion that will not be tamed.

The sound of a two year old’s fit…
Have you ever noticed that the sound of a two year old’s fit is different from that of a three year old’s? It has that certain ring of “baby” – loud and wailing.

The sound of a three year old’s fit…
The three year old has more of the direct scream without as much of the tears and sobbing. They just want you to know they are fired up.

Speaking of the three year old – let’s get to their side of the story…

The Thunderous Threes

As I eluded to, a three year old will actually fire off a direct warning shot of a scream to let you know their fit is coming. They have lost the baby cry and most of their baby ways and are now telling you how it is going to be. They stand with their little, still slightly chubby arms crossed or straight down stiff by their sides in a huff. They stomp and slam doors as if they were mini-teenagers in training.

Although hard to stop, and considering that they still don’t really listen, sometimes they can be bargained with or dare I say it, bribed. They are starting to learn the world of compromise and occasionally have glimpses of reality where they realize that there may be some danger in the world. Of course, they still haven’t decided to completely avoid that danger. They now might actually hold your hand to cross the road, plus they have a lot less fits than a two year old, well that actually depends on your child.

I do think that baby Sinclair was two years old during his sugar rush!

Let’s not forget the “Pros”

We cannot leave out the good qualities of the twos and threes though.

At two years old they are still babies and need to be mommied. They still like their bottles & pacifiers and any other little object they have attached themselves to. They will still let you carry them and rock them to sleep. They are a bit chubby & squishy and just overall “babies” still.

So far I am loving Maddie’s threes. She has turned into a snuggler, which she never was at two, and she even reasons somewhat with me. She can tell me what is bothering her instead of just crying. She comforts me when I cry, and is like a little adult most of the time. She of course, still throws some fits and experiences an occasional melt down, but they don’t last long – maybe the discipline is slowly taking affect.

At three they are more reasonable and pretend to be grown-ups. They have entered a world of recognition and imagination that is fun to admire. You can start taking them on more adventurous outings and perhaps you can get away with leaving them with grandma overnight!  They become a little sweeter and more caring. You can actually take them to the movies and enjoy yourself – whereas it is typically a nightmare at two years old. They start to really imitate you and pick up your vocabulary, so be careful. Even words that aren’t bad can sound awful coming from a three year old like “I said, please be quiet!” Cute, yet naughty.

Either age needs to be dealt with in patience and love and lots of attention. Try your best to enjoy them as you will never get it back.

What age did you dread more?

Tell us your horror story or leave your opinion in a comment.





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