Babies—perfect. Toddlers: trying. But are three-year-olds just mercilessly impossible? Sarah Fader has the definitive answer.
I have two children. Before I had kids, everyone warned me about the terrible twos. Watch out, when your kid turns two they become wild and uncontrollable. All they say is “no” to everything and good luck, because that year is going to suck big time.
Well, I am here to tell you that “everyone” was wrong. Two-year-olds are challenging, but they are nowhere near as hard to deal with as 3-year-olds.
After dealing with two 3-year-olds in my house, I can tell you from experience that they are undeniably the hardest humans on the face of the planet to negotiate with. The reason? They don’t give a fuck!
My daughter is three. No matter what I tell her to do, she does not fucking care. For example, I could tell her to put her pants on. She will insist that she is absolutely not under (any circumstances) wearing those pants because they are blue. “I want pink pants!” she will shout. I explain to her that there are no clean pink pants. I open the drawers and show her that they do not contain pink pants. She doesn’t fucking care.
She still wants the pink pants that do not exist.
This morning, she got out of bed, took a cup from the kitchen—one of those expensive, Preserve recycled cups—and threw it in the toilet. I gritted my teeth and explained to her that she wasn’t to do that again. She just smiled. So I sheepishly put her in time out.
And it’s not just her. Ari acted the same way at three. He was oppositional, didn’t care what I told him to do, and wanted to do the opposite. In fact, I blocked out a lot of his defiant behavior because I think I was traumatized by how I had absolutely no control over him.
I thought, maybe my kids are just challenging me. Maybe I’m a shitty parent. But no, it’s not just me. This is a worldwide epidemic. All three-year-olds do this to their parents. Something happens to children when they turn three. They become…assholes.
I’m sorry, there’s no other way to put it.
They do whatever they want to do and they do not care if you tell them not to do it. In fact, if you tell them to stop throwing M&Ms at the cat, they will throw more M&Ms at the cat with increasing velocity and greater intention to hit the cat in the face.
Thankfully, they don’t stay assholes for a long time. Their asshole behavior only lasts for one year. When they turn four, they become slightly easier to negotiate with and gradually begin to respond to bribery. So there is hope.
If you are dealing with an asshole now, just take a deep breath and realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
This too shall pass…in 12 months.
This piece originally appeared on Sarah Fader’s HuffPo Blog.
Photo: Jenn and Tony Bot/Flickr