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Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy by…

Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy

by Louise Bates Ames

Other authors: Frances L. Ilg (Author)

Series: Your ... Year-Old (3)

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183464,645 (3.94)3



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This is an oldie, but it’s still in print for a reason. It takes parents through the difficulties they may have with their three-year-old—or, more to the point, their three-and-a-half-year-old, and how to work around those difficulties. It’s not so much about how to get your kid to “obey” as how to understand what’s going on with your little one and adjust your expectations accordingly. Many kids this age, apparently, seem to go backwards—they are less obedient, less “easy,” and even their motor skills may seem poorer (as in drawing a shakier line or walking down stairs with less confidence).

What can parents do? Hiring a babysitter more often and/or putting the child in preschool is really their best suggestion (many kids are more tractable for anyone besides “Mother”), with a close second being to remove as many sources of conflict as possible. If your kid wants to eat nothing but, say, chicken nuggets and bananas, go with it. S/he won’t eat? Serve your child’s meal, then leave the room and tell them to call you when they’re done eating. Another way to get less emotionally involved is to, for instance, close your eyes and tell your child to tell you when they’ve gotten out of the bath. Parents may also enjoy reading about some the advances that kids this age are making that might not be obvious. A better understanding of the child’s capabilities and limitations can be helpful. And the datedness of the book adds a little further interest—might help today’s parents dial their expectations back. ( )
  jholcomb | Jan 6, 2014 |
I read this book when my son was 3 1/2, so most of this book was skimmable, but there was still a very worthwhile amount of advice and tips that really improved my parenting for the challenging 3 1/2 phase. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in this series, and I felt this gave just the right amount of information. ( )
  VVilliam | Apr 7, 2013 |
This is an honest book, as its title might suggest, though the authors are quick to answer the title's question at the end of the first chapter: your three year old, despite evidence to the contrary, is not your enemy. It covers child development, comparing three and three and a half year olds to two and four year olds, while also acknowledging that all kids are individuals and on similar but different timetables. Three and a half, they note (the age that Guppy is closest to) is extremely difficult. Tantrums are normal, and struggles with basic routines like getting dressed, meal times and bed times are constant sources of conflict.

First published in 1985, it's somewhat dated, but the basics still apply. Note, however, this is NOT for parents looking for detailed science, and it might offend some attachment and homeschooling families. The authors offer no magic advice, just sympathy with a dose of realism. They recommend getting support from babysitters and daycare providers so parents and kids get a much needed break from one another. Distraction at this age, is better than discipline. Above all, they note, is just getting through the day with both parent and kid as unfrazzled as possible. ( )
  Girl_Detective | Jun 15, 2009 |
Though to tone of these books is quite dated, the information is useful, and more or less free of judgement, but simply descriptive and explanatory. If you're looking for just the basics of developmental frames for specific ages, this is a go-to series. ( )
  lilysea | Jun 25, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louise Bates Amesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ilg, Frances L.Authorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Advice for understanding a three-year-old including toilet training, eating habits, friendships, fears, language skills, and nursery school.

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