Terrible Threes

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Dear Mentor,


My three-year old daughter is still caught in the terrible twos. A drama queen, she has frequent melt-downs when she doesn’t get her way. My husband and I are at our wits-end listening to the excessive screams and find ourselves rushing to give her what she wants in order to avert the noise. When will this end?


                                        Signed, Deafened and Dog-tired


Dear Deafened and Dog-tired,


You are wise in recognizing the gravity of this situation. True, she is “only three”, but the attitudes and actions that she perfects now become the basis for her manipulations as a pre-pubescent. Imagine her, ten years down the road, once hormones kick in. How will she cope when school disappoints, friends snub, or boys tease?


Part of training your daughter up in the way she should go (Proverbs 22:6) is teaching her to moderate her emotions.


As a believing parent, you have been given the delicate balance of power, love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Or in Greek, dynamis (a dynamite-strength inner power), agape (a God-sourced love) and sophronismos (a restrained, self-controlled mind). In parenting, we easily see the need for super power and love, but often overlook moderation. When we make room for restraint in our own lives, then we have the authority to teach it to our children.


As Father, God allowed Jesus to experience “loud crying and tears” without quickly relieving His anguish (Hebrews 5:7). Jesus Himself had to go through such experiences in order to learn obedience (Hebrews 5:8). Why, then, do we feel so guilty for allowing our children to cry through their disappointments in an age appropriate manner?


Following our Heavenly Father’s example, you must wisely seek how to best train your daughter to moderate her emotions. Even at the age of three, you can begin to establish simple boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable expression. Your ultimate goal is to help her see her inner strength in God, rather than continue to depend upon the world to fix her feelings. Praise the Lord He has given you several years with which to accomplish this task.


May you hear Him clearly as You seek His face day by day. I’m praying for you.


                                              Grace and peace, Your Mentor