Posts Tagged ‘Unique Challenges of Being 3 1/2’

The Unique Challenges of Being 3 1/2 Years Old

I have quoted Slow Family Living founder and early childhood parenting coach, educator and speaker, Carrie Contey numerous times on Attachment Mama over the last year.  She never ceases to amaze me with her thoughtful insights on parenting babies and young children. Parents inside or outside of Austin can benefit from Carrie’s wise counsel. I’ve really enjoyed the number of workshops I’ve attended over the last three years and out-of-towners really appreciate her e-handbooks, tele-classes and phone consultations. Check out her web sites for options!

My husband and I recently reached out to Carrie for advice on our 3 1/2 year-old and her frequent intense emotions over the last few months which have felt like too much for her age to my husband.  With Carrie’s permission, I’m sharing her brilliant response in hope that it may serves other parents:

3.5 is a monumentally challenging time to be a little person and subsequently the parents of a little person. Even if conditions are ideal (slow pace of life, super resourced happy parents with tons of emotional, financial, physical support, minimal changes and transitions, plenty of exercise (but not too much;) …she would still be having a hard time because that’s what 3.5 is all about.

It’s halfway between 0 and 7 and it’s fraught with the desire to stay a baby and feel extremely felt by the main people around her and to be completely independent and not need a thing from you. It’s crazy making for her and for you. And, add in all the changes, stresses, new stuff, good stuff, hard stuff… that your family is going through and yes, she’s going to be challenging. A lot of the time.

All that said, I do believe 3.5 is a golden opportunity for:

1) helping her understand how to feel all these big feelings AND know that other people can have their feelings and can set boundaries so she can be safe. Both are true. And she’s learning this. And she needs patience and compassion and love and presence in monumental ways right now. And so do you. For yourselves.

2) doing some digging into your own early experiences. She’s pushing big buttons that are rooted in that time of life for you. Did you get to tantrum with support? If not, what happened when you expressed big feelings? How do you relate to yourself now when you are feeling those kinds of feelings? It’s all in there and it’s all up because she’s so emotional at the moment. Which is really exactly where she needs to be. It’s your work to get really well resourced, look at what’s triggering you, be clear with your boundaries and ride the waves. Think of it as learning to surf. (more…)
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