Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy?

Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or EnemyYour Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy by Louise Bates Ames

I didn't actually write a review on Goodreads, but I'm stealing their formatting for links and the cover image. This book wasn't that helpful, but I was drawn in by the funny title. I was looking at parenting books at the library and saw this one. I am such a frustrated parent much of the time now. It's like I am the tantrum-prone toddler with trouble controlling my emotions (or at least I have my moments, with and without Jane around).

The book was published in 1985 and the advice is funny. There are several sections that talk about Father not understanding -- expecting too much of his children's table manners so better for the 3-year-old to eat supper alone in the kitchen before the family meal. LOLOL.

A running theme is: PUT YOUR CHILD IN NURSERY SCHOOL FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING. They write a lot about how people who are not the child's mother can get better results with a 3-year-old so take advantage of that. Also they say several times to find a local high school girl to babysit. (I don't think that flies now since high school girls are probably overscheduled with after school activities, college prep and dates.)

For us Jane is in preschool a couple mornings a week, and we love it. I was very resistant to it at first, but she's really liked getting to make friends, which is something that I am so bad at. It's also given me a little time to work on projects myself. BUT I also respect the choice to keep kids home for as long as possible (or even home schooled). I have fears of her picking up bad behaviors from other kids, but for us I think that's a trade off we're willing to accept for the socialization aspect (since I'm lacking in that area -- or something like that). She's also learning a lot and having experiences that don't include me, which have to happen eventually, no matter how weird it seems to me.

The book also advises against feeding your kid food dyes, since they've been linked to behavioral changes in kids. They say if you and your kid are reasonably happy with their behavior you don't need to change anything, but if there's "deviant" behavior that you can't figure out look to the diet and eliminate foods with dyes. That's not to blame for Jane's behavior (none of which is deviant, all of which is typical 3-year-old stuff, however much I dislike it in the moment), but I will still do my best to keep food dyes out of her body. (That's another mark against going to school because she's fed crap on a somewhat regular basis ... although they say they're "treats" it doesn't seem so much because it's so regular. I'm especially not happy with the King Cake that will be part of next week's lessons -- green, yellow and purple food dye are the main ingredients in the frosting ... not to mention the sugar, which is another thing we really limit in Jane's diet.)

There's got to be an up-to-date parenting book for preschoolers, and maybe I'll stumble across it or seek it out. (If you have a recommendation, let me know!) For now this was fun enough to read and probably gave me some insight into child development, at least as understood in the 80s (which is when I happened to be a 3-year-old myself, and my mom said it was the worst age!). I'm going to keep on loving my girl and do my best to keep my own emotions in check.

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