I first encountered the word “threenager” while reading a blog post. Apparently, to some, 3-year-olds are a lot like teenagers.
Perhaps. But it’s a little different when you have an actual teenager. In my eyes, teenagers are scarier than threenagers. Here is why:
1. Teenagers are bigger. They can take you down if they want to, but 3-year-olds can only attack your knees. They do bite, but it’s more chilling to see the person you made towering over you—eyes blazing with anger, with angry red pimples all over their face.
2. Teenagers’ voices are deeper. When they are upset with you, they no longer shout at you in an adorable Chipmunk voice. I’d laugh at my 3-year-old when he got upset because it was amusing to hear, “I don’t YIKE this!” I don’t laugh as much when my teenager booms, “Nothing is going right today!” and the walls are shaking.
3. If teenagers throw a fit in public, people judge. This is because everyone assumes a teenager should have their feelings in check. Newsflash: They don’t. If a 3-year-old is throwing a fit, some people will throw sympathetic looks toward the parent—looks that say, “We’ve all been there. Hang in there.” When a teenager does it, people mutter things about juvenile detention facilities.
4. Teenagers want more expensive things. A 3-year-old might beg for a plastic PAW Patrol set. A teenager is like, “Can I have the new iPhone?” You might assume that when kids get older that it won’t be as expensive—finally, no more toys—but it’s not true.
5. Teenagers won’t stop eating. You’ll watch as they inhale most of a large pizza. A 3-year-old will pick at their food. They’ll be content with a bag of character fruit snacks. But a teenager will ask for more food, even if they’ve just eaten 10 minutes ago. You’ll be amazed when they go, “There’s nothing to eat!” You’ll say, “But I just went grocery shopping two days ago. There’s plenty.” You’ll open the pantry door and blink with disbelief when you find that everything is gone.
6. The mood of a teenager can change instantly. One second, they’ll be laughing, and you’ll think, “This is great!” The next second, they’ll be wearing a scowl and grumbling something about how “their life is over.” Yes, a 3-year-old can have terrible mood swings. But again, it’s not quite as frightening to hear a Chipmunk voice go, “My life is OVER!”
7. Teenagers have a bigger vocabulary, so their words can hurt. A 3-year-old might call you a “poopy-head!” That amuses me. A teenager might write a long letter telling you how you’re ruining their life. They might go on a tirade on how “they didn’t ask to be born.” A 3-year-old will eventually tucker out and be ready for a nap. One hour later, your teenager might still be ranting.
8. A teenager might fall silent and not speak at all. A 3-year-old is rarely quiet. But when a teenager goes quiet, you wonder what’s happening. Are they secretly doing drugs? Drinking? What’s happening? What’s going on? And all they’ll say is, “I’m fine.” Are they being bullied? WHAT’S GOING ON? “Fine.” A 3-year-old will tell you all about their day. “Janie picked her boogers. Parker wants to know if he can paint his cat. Dora found the hidden treasure.”
Bottom line? Teenagers are frightening creatures. Sometimes I even wish my teenager could morph into a 3-year-old again.
But then I remember how my 3-year-old couldn’t be left home alone. So I think I’ll keep the teenager.
Even if he does scare me sometimes.