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No one warned us about age three. No one prepared us for the random outbursts or the rollercoaster ride of ups and downs while she figures out what she can get away with and what she can’t, where the boundaries are and when we’ll push back. More often than not, she’s very well behaved so it makes the moments when she acts out even more surprising as a consequence of their rarity and while a time-out still holds weight, it’s not nearly as heavy as it used to be… now we’re forced to get creative.

Many parents resort to spankings or hand popping and there’s nothing wrong with those methods, I certainly received my fair share when I was younger, but it’s not something I’m comfortable with. I really want to stress that it’s never okay for her to hit someone or for someone to hit her, especially a man, and I have a hard time trusting that she’ll learn that lesson if I in turn hit her when her choices are less than favorable. 

I believe the punishment should fit the crime so I’m sure there will come a time when we remove her bedroom door after she slams it repeatedly or roll back a curfew when she’s late, but for now we take away a toy should she decide to throw it and we ask her once not to whine when asking for something or else her request is denied. However, the grand punishment these days seems to be the dreaded overalls.

We save them for particularly bad behavior, conflicts at preschool or intentionally doing something after being asked not to, so the times she’s had to wear them are few and far between yet when punished with them she hasn't made the same mistake twice. Sometimes we leave the overalls hanging in her room because the sight of them seems to threaten her into behaving as the sweet little girl we know she can be, that we know she is.

She’s had a love affair with all things dresses over the last year refusing to wear pants unless begged or prepped in advance that she’ll be wearing them and for how long; consequently, overalls are the ultimate faux pas in her eyes as she feels strapped into the pants without any chance of escaping them discretely behind the couch. Our success rate with this wardrobe sentencing is 100% at this point (knock on wood) so we’ll continue to enforce it until it fails… as ridiculous as it seems. The fact we find her adorable in them is an added bonus.

4 comments

  1. Awwwwwwwww, her punishment is to have to wear overalls. How precious (and hilarious!). Oh, let me tell ya, my 4 year old is soooo much worse than his 3 year old self. Much more stubborn. Emotional. Back talking. Even tantrum crying thrown in there. Patience.

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    1. Well, 4 sounds fun. I made the mistake of praying for patience once and found out the hard way there's never an answer without a test... now I ask for understanding and guidance instead. Parenting, as challenging as it is at times, is still the most fun I've ever had.

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  2. Removing the bedroom door... We did that. She hated it. She learned.

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    1. I can imagine. My parents never did that when I was growing up, but I can assure you it would have worked.

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