Beware, You’re Raising a Threenager!

Beware, You’re Raising a Threenager!

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If you ask the parent of a toddler, they will tell you it’s the hardest age for the whole family. But if you ask the parent of a teenager, they’ll tell you it gets even worse. If you ask me, both have valid claims. Three-year-olds and teenagers have a lot more in common than many people realize. Behold the habits of the threenager!

Bathroom Behaviors

  • Teenagers have a reputation of spending hours in the bathroom, grooming and primping. TV show after TV show depicts teens pounding on the door, demanding their turn in the coveted place.
  • Threenagers will also bang on the door incessantly if their parents dare to take a moment to answer nature’s call with some privacy. The difference is, the threenager doesn’t want to use the bathroom, he is just outraged that his parent is taking time away from entertaining him.

Not Morning People

  • Everyone knows teenagers will sleep until noon if you let them; they are grouches if you dare wake them up when the clock still says “am.”
  • Threenagers can also be bears in the morning. There are days they wake up on the wrong side of the bed and days parents run out of patience with them at 8am. However, no one asked them to get up at 5:30! Their sleep deprivation and crankiness is solely because they decided to wake up when it was still dark outside.

Brothers vs. Sisters (Or Brothers vs. Brothers) (Or Sisters vs. Sisters)

  • Think back when you were a teenager. I bet you didn’t always get along with your siblings. My brother and I definitely had our moments growing up.
  • When threenagers fight with siblings (and believe me, they do,) they drag Mom and Dad into every battle. I used to think “Mom, she’s looking at me” was an exaggeration, but now I realize this is an actual thing threenagers say. Often.


  • Teenagers break curfew. They don’t finish their homework. They sneak out of the house at night. They’re wired to break the rules established by Mom & Dad.
  • Threenagers break rules you never knew you needed to create. House rules at the home of a threenager include: Do not put your hand in the toilet. No jumping off the top step of the stairs. Pants must be worn when we leave the house. No toys in the toaster, DVD player or any other electronic device.

Honesty isn’t always the Policy

  • I recently read a study that teenagers lie more than any other age group. (You can read about it here.) It’s pretty interesting, but not too surprising.
  • With threenagers, the issue can be a little too much honesty, like when a three-year-old tells a complete stranger what she thinks of his clothes, hair or even smell.

Your best bet when engaging with a threenager is a mixture of love, understanding and patience. Good luck!

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