Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What's Up With My Three-Year-Old?

Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy
by Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D. and Frances L. Ilg, M.D.

I was introduced to these books by Sarah at Hindsight – Thank you!

This is a great series of book about child development, from Your One-Year-Old through Your Ten- to Fourteen-Year-Old.

This is not just another parenting book, and does not teach a particular philosophy or discipline style. Instead, the focus is on the characteristics of each age – how your child responds to other children; what general milestones are reached; why your child is behaving a particular way right now.

The authors talk about alternating times of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Where three is an age of conformity, three-and-a-half is just the opposite. A three-year-old is confident and happy; a three-and-a-half-year-old child becomes insecure and anxious, but also determined and self-willed.

Reading this book has taught me several things:
  • It is normal for my son to experience fears and insecurities, even in things he had previously mastered.

  • This weird stutter that has developed over the last few weeks, is normal and will fade over time.

  • My son is learning to exert his will; I need to give him room to “win” in the daily struggle for control.

  • This is the age to begin developing meaningful conversations, to lay the groundwork for great conversations later on.

  • And especially that this phase will pass, both the bad and the good.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a three-year-old, even if you only read the first four chapters. The entire book is packed with valuable perspective and information. The chapters are as follows:
  1. Characteristics of the Age,
  2. The Child with Other Children,
  3. Techniques (great chapter) and
  4. Accomplishments and Abilities
  5. The Three-Year-Old Birthday Party (terrific ideas for a successful party),
  6. Help with Routines (great help for those who's child is at three-and-a-half),
  7. The Child’s Mind or How He Sees the World
  8. Individuality
  9. Stories from Real Life
Also included are recommendations on toys and books for three-year-old’s, and a list of suggested parenting books specific to this age.

This book is only 150 pages and well worth the read!

By the way, this is not a paid or solicited review; I just really liked this book.


  1. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Hi Christy,
    I hope you are all doing well! I just wanted to thank you again for mentioning this series. I got Your 8 Year Old from the library and it has been a very interesting read.
    Take care!


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