Stressed-out dads may be to blame for their child’s ‘terrible twos’


While many parents know about the terrible twos, not as many will be familiar with ‘threenagers’.

Yet if you believe today’s parenting experts, three-year-olds will in fact give you more grief than two-year-olds.  

So much so that they’ve been dubbed ‘threenagers’, thanks to their teenager-style temper tantrums.

‘Two-year-olds get a bad wrap but once you get a threenager, they come with attitude,’ Australian parenting expert Pinky McKay told MailOnline.

‘When kids hit three, their language develops in leaps and bounds.

‘No longer are they just saying “no”; now they’re negotiating like tiny lawyers.’

Research shows excessive screen time damages children’s ability to regulate their own emotions and moods.

Dr Justin Coulson, author of ‘9 Ways to a Resilient Child’, told The Courier-Mail: ‘There’s evidence that too much time in front of screens is having a negative impact, that when we start putting our threenagers in front of these screens, we create more temper tantrums, more self-regulation problems.’

According to Pinky McKay, there are many ways in which parents can deal with their grumpy three-year-olds alongside limiting screen time. 

‘Don’t take it personally,’ she said. ‘Let your child have increasing control over things that are safe and don’t matter too much.

‘She needs to clean her teeth and wear a seat belt but does it really matter if she wants to wear gumboots with her party dress?

‘Also, don’t get drawn in and argue with your threenager – remember you are an adult.’

The best remedy is to make sure your kids are spending plenty of time outside, instead of inside looking at the TV screen or a computer.

Sleep is also key for cognitive function, and at age two and three, kids can need as much as 14 hours each night. 

‘There are lots of great things about three-year-olds too,’ Ms McKay said.

‘Their imaginations are coming on board, they can listen attentively to books and may even be able to read from picture books.’