To all Parents of 4 Year Olds – Come Clean!

Does it get better?IMG_1352[1]


Seriously… does it?


Because I’m going to lose my marbles over here. And I’m not even joking.  So – I’m talking to you… parents of 4 year olds.  Where were you last year?  Why did you hide this dirty little secret?


Why didn’t you tell me that age 3 was worse than the “terrible twos?”


I blame the parents.  For not warning us.  I was completely blindsided by this obnoxious behavior.  I thought… “Terrible twos? These aren’t that bad.. I’ve got this!”


And then… they. turned. three.  Seriously. The twos were just a prelude to the mayhem to come.


They are Maniacs!



Things that might cause me to go right over the edge:


  • Hearing, “I’ll do it myself!” one more time.
  • Another fight over how much dinner someone has to eat before they can get down from the table.
  • One more shouting match at the table as I frantically scramble to fill orders over breakfast: “I need more MILK!”
  • Btw… What happened to our manners?  They seem to be all replaced with “I needs” or “I wants” – where did my cute babies who said “please” and “thank you” go?
  • Oh… the time spent dressing! Because they can’t get their shoes/socks/pants/shirts on – but won’t let me help them.
  • Fighting over who gets to read first / go pee first / sit down first / play with a toy first / – you get the idea…
  • Hearing another back talk “NO!” when I ask/tell them to do something.
  • I can’t take another day of coaxing them out of the house, into the car, out of the car… I mean – how many toys or other things can you need?
  • My son has now decided he can open the door to go outside himself, get in the car by himself, walk in parking lots and stores by himself, and even drive my car.  All of these he has either demonstrated or informed me of. IMG_1475[1]
  • My daughter is just outright defiant.  She will look me right in the eyes and do exactly the opposite of what I ask her. Unbelievable.

So this is my plea. Mothers of 4 year olds.  Please. Please. Please – tell me it gets better.  I really need a sign of hope.


I actually shortened my list because I was starting to freak myself out.


Anyone else with me?




  1. Jessica says:

    OH Im SO hoping 4 is going to be easier. Terrible twos are some sort of a joke. Two is easy compared the three. Three is a freakin nightmare.

  2. Delilah says:

    Ha! My daughter at 3 was a total nightmare but she was much better at age 4. My son on the other hand has been a handful since the month he turned 3 and he’s now 4 years and 2 months old. So far, no sign of him becoming less of a nightmare. I still have hope though.

    • Kristen says:

      Delilah – your comments about your son are not welcome around here. (just kidding!) but seriously… you are starting to freak me out because my son is a complete maniac. He has to be better by age 4. Today? We went to this huge jungle gym play area. I’m with Alexander and Mixie and Addison went up the play area. So Andrew went up a different way. Ray chased Addison, I couldn’t do anything because (you know… baby and dog) – Anyway – Andrew was LOST for 10 minutes. Seriously.

  3. Tracie says:

    I remember that three was bad. Four was MUCH better. Five, six, seven – full of the cute. Right now we are in the middle of eight, and although the good days outweigh the bad, I’m seeing that defiant streak come back with a vengeance, and added to it is the beginning of what I can only describe as emotional mood swings. I’m hoping the mom of a nine year old will tell me that it will be better.

    • Kristen says:

      Tracie – thank you for giving me hope. I hate to burst your bubble of hope – but I’ve heard it gets worse…. sorry.

  4. Christie says:

    I feel your pain. Three is so much worse than two, but four is definitely better and five is even better yet. I still look back on the blissful age of two though.

  5. Erin says:

    It does get a little better, my 4 year old is almost 5…and he at least is starting to sometimes listen to what I have to say.
    But wow your house sounds like mine. I hope it all gets better too!

    • Kristen says:

      It has to get better…. It just has to. My son will actually talk back with his hands on his butt so he doesn’t get a swat. WHO DOES THAT? Oh yeah – a 3 year old!

  6. OK, I confess, I giggled a little.
    My kids are a little older (11 yrs – 18 yrs) but my kids half-sister on their dad’s side is 3 yrs old. I just love her. The other night she was at the kids’ softball practice, exhibiting her 3 year old-ishness. My older daughter told her “be still on the bleachers before you fall!” and 3 yr old said “Wiggle wiggle wiggle! Ooops, sorry. Wiggle wiggle wiggle! Ooops, sorry”. I was DYING.
    3 year olds are defiant. That’s how they roll. That’s why I’m not having any more children. Ha!

    • Kristen says:

      I don’t even like kids! Just kidding – only mine. and now.. only sometimes :) Addison would so do the wiggle wiggle thing. They are funny… but so defiant. btw – I taught teenagers. They aren’t always such good listeners :)

  7. PS Forgot to say, I came by from PYHO.
    Also forgot to say, I only like kids until they’re 2 years old. Then I’m done with them until they’re teenagers! =D

  8. Wait, what, 3 IS GOING TO BE HARDER THAN 2???????

    • Kristen says:

      I know. It is a good thing I didn’t post this earlier – you might not be having this belly if you knew it was going to get harder! ;) just kidding. But yeah – 3′s suck.

  9. Stasha says:

    It DOES get better only to start getting worse again once they get older. . .

    My daughter is nine going on 21. . . There is backtalk, attitude, stubbornness. . .

    Yeah. . .

    I can already see the teenage years just might kill me. . .


    • Kristen says:

      I just need a few years of PEACE! :) But, from what I’m gathering is … 8,9, etc… gets worse. Good to know. I’m going to start saving for private school. ;)

  10. Kristen says:

    I don’t remember the fours being so bad. Around 6…get ready! They are all sorts of independent when they hit first grade. Then the next big one is 9 & 1/2 as they prep for the tween years. Give me a call then! I’ll have your back!
    xo, The Other Kristen

    • Kristen says:

      Kristen. You are to only give me good news. None of this 6′s are pretty bad, 9 (well, now 10) get’s bad, etc. None of that! I’m just going to put you on speed dial ;) xo.

  11. Adrienne says:

    I am SO with you on this one!! Three is so much worse! Why does everyone call it the terrible twos? I think when they’re two, they’re still cute babies, at three? they are beginning to shift to little kids. Their expectations are different and so are ours. We begin to discipline and try that whole parenting thing. The three yr olds? They like it better when we let them be babies. I feel your pain!

    • Kristen says:

      Ok. I’m tired. I thought you said “they are beginning to shit to little kids.” – that has a whole new meaning. then i started cracking up. Because you are funny. And – we are funny together. :)

  12. marsi says:

    Oh, I feel your pain! Hugh got his first taste of soap last week for talking back and saying words we don’t allow in our house. Honestly, they stop and think now before yelling “NO” at me when I tell them to do something. And when they say it I ask them, “do you tell mommy no?” and they stop in their tracks because they know soap is not a good thing. Don’t judge, we just had to do something to stop it! :)

    • Kristen says:

      I’m not judging. You KNOW i’m not going to say anything about anyone’s discipline. I’m running out of creative ways to punish them. The other day, I thought – you know… maybe it is still a Mixie / Alexander thing. So I sat Andrew and Addison down and was telling them how much I loved them. They got up and started shouting at me. epic fail.

  13. Oh my, I can so relate! I felt exactly the same way when my son was 3 and 4. Terrible two’s can eat their little hearts out! But yes it does get better, my son is now 5 and so much calmer :D

  14. Robbie says:

    i didn’t know you then otherwise I would have told you..2 is a walk in the park, 3 is hell! FYI, 10 is sucking the life outta me right now. Consider this your have 6 years to prepare!

  15. Shell says:

    Three year olds are pretty much little boogerheads.

    Fours- they do get better, I promise.

    But, 3s? Oh, no. Give me a pack of 2s over one 3 any day.

  16. I always wondered how terrible twos got its name after experiencing threes. Boy was that a rough year!

  17. Siobhan says:

    My girls were great through the “terrible two’s” now they are 3, it’s a nightmare some days! 3 is definitely the new 2!!

  18. My 14 month old is already testing out the terrible two’s at times. I may not even make it to two -let alone three!

  19. Rachel says:

    Four is a world away from Three. Sure there are still some trying days, but about two months prior to the fourth birthday, we started to notice a HUGE difference. Like I would take him out to dinner by myself, sit across from him in a booth and enjoy a nice dinner. Can you imagine that now? NO, you can’t.

    One of my friends once told me that the odd years were the issue, and I agree. One and three were ROUGH. Two was better than one and four is MUCH better than three.

    • Kristen says:

      Ok. I’m sensing a theme here. The people who love me keep telling me age 4 gets better. I love all those people back :)

  20. Kerry says:

    Oh our twos were a NIGHTMARE…so 3 wasn’t all that bad. I think you either get it at the age of two or the age of three. The age of four? Oh so sweet. Still defiant…but SO much more self sufficient…confident…I am LOVING this age. I feel like our lessons really sink in. I still negotiate my way through every day, but the screaming and tantrums are over. Oh…and the please and thank you’s have returned. :)

    xo Hang in there!!!

    • Kristen says:

      Please and Thank yous return? They stop screaming at me like I’m their maid? “I need more MILK!” “I need more SYRUP!” “I need more PANCAKES!” “Fork” etc. …. ok. I can do this.

  21. joanna says:

    I would take two over three any day. Everyone says water boarding is cruel and unusual…

  22. Meredith says:

    Four was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better than three. Five has been good, once I got used to the fact that I didn’t know anything anymore, now that my oldest is in Kindergarten and has all of these TEACHERS. I had to tell him that I AM A TEACHER TOO before he actually started listening to me and believing that I might be right! haha

  23. Mich says:

    I have 3 kids. Jason will 13 in June. Andrew was 10 in January. And Sarah Beth will be 5 in August. I don’t understand why they call them the terrible 2′s. Because it lasts for like 3 years! At 2, not so bad. Just learning to talk. Not much of a mind of their own. Then 3 hits. And they’re VERY vocal. And obnoxious. And let me warn you-4 and 5? Not much better. MAJOR independence sets in. Unless of course you’re in the middle of something, and then they have to have your help RIGHT NOW. Of course, I’m also at the tween stage where they pretty much stop talking to you all together. And REALLY think they’re independent. So yeah, while 3 sucks. They’re only 3 for awhile. So enjoy it. Because soon, far too soon, you’ll have have a teenager and be wondering why you thought 3 was so bad. :(
    Linking up from PYHO.

    • Kristen says:

      Mich- I’m so glad you stopped by. But, seriously – you couldn’t have brought better news? ;) Thanks again – even though – you could have lied :)

  24. Jessica says:

    I was in the same boat as you last year, 2 three year-olds and I thought I was going to lose my mind. Just as you said, three was SO much harder than two. It’s the potty training and the big kid beds and the getting into EVERYTHING. So what you were waiting for… I swear 4 has been better. There are still challenges but they have so much more self control, I can actually reason with them and they are much easier to deal with than their brother who is almost 3.

    • Kristen says:

      If they don’t get better – I’m shipping them off to pre-school. I mean… why did I wait until they turned 3 to quit working?

  25. GRAMPS says:

    Does it get better????/
    Heh, heh, heh

    Oh yeah, and then they become teenagers

    Oh yeah, and then they move out. Sort of

  26. Shannon says:

    My 3 year old sounds a lot like your pair…….

  27. I’ll never forget when the director of our daycare told me with daughter #1 that “if you don’t get it under control when they’re 2, 3′s are hell on wheels”. I thought she was joking. She wasn’t.

    • Kristen says:

      I thought I had them under control! Ugh – they were like my “all my friends are envious of how good they are” babies. Now – everyone wants to run away :)

  28. Love this! I would have warned you had you talked to me. I warn people all of the time, especially when they start proclaiming terrible twos. I call it the horrific threes! So glad to be done with that. My daughter turns 4 this week and while she is still defiant and still screams way too much at us, she is SOOOO much better than 6 months ago. Having kids 17 months apart, I’ve been in terrible twos and horrific threes for years now. I’m so grateful to be moving past it. Good luck!

    • Kristen says:

      ANOTHER reason I should have started blogging earlier :) We really need to start discussing game plans for the rest of my kids lives ;) Thanks for the encouragement!

  29. Emily says:

    Last year I would have said that 4 was great – no worries, based on my prior experience. But now that I have 2 4-year olds, my perspective has slightly changed….. it’s still tough. So I’ll hold onto the idea of how great 5 is…. ;)

    • Kristen says:

      5? I’ll never make it to 5. We might be all headed your way. Or at least me – just so I can get a break :)

  30. I was left thinking the same as Alison…it gets worse?! My son is just a couple months into 2, and I am already ready to wave the white flag most days. He is incredibly strong willed (no clue if it’s “regular 2yr old” or just his personality), and we have already started to hit the blatantly defiant stage. There are days I want to grab my keys and tell him that he and the cats can battle it out to decide who’s in charge. I’m choosing to find some comfort in Kerry’s comment and believe that our threes will be better. Maybe?

    (Visiting from PYHO)

    • Kristen says:

      Listen – I will tell you this. It does get worse. And – I promise – my kids can be the experiment… the second it get’s better – I will let you know!

  31. People did tell me three was worse than two. And they were so right. I have also been told to prepare for the “F–k You Fours.” Your post is totally confirming that it is in fact going to just keep on getting worse. I need more wine.

    • Kristen says:

      No. No, No. We can not have any more bad names for numbers. The 4′s are going to be great. They have to be. Or I will be in a white room. ALONE. :)

  32. Amber says:


    My daughter is 4 and…yeah, she’s still really stubborn..

    • Kristen says:

      Amber, I should have mentioned – that if you don’t have anything nice to say (or lies) then you can’t comment. :) Just kidding. But you should have lied.

  33. Charlie says:

    I guess all I can say here is…thanks for the warning!!! I’ve got a ways to go but you make it sound so much fun I can hardly wait ;-)

  34. veganlinda says:

    I have three kids (12, almost 8, and 4). I would say 4 was the hardest year for each of them. :-)

  35. Oh yes! Boy does this take me back. My son also had the terrible 3′s instead of the terrible 2′s. But yes, I promise you it gets better! Pinky swear.

  36. Say it ain’t SO!!!! The 3s with the Crazies have kicked my a$$!

  37. Angela says:

    OMG – my 4 year old can drive me to drink (and I’m a teetotaler:)
    Year 4 is brutally intense – emotions are as strong as a 2 year old, but thinking is at such a higher level. So they get stressed about so much more, but react like 2 year olds. Some one once described 4 year olds as 2×2. I have to agree. I cannot imagine TWO at once;)

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