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When Three-Year-Olds Stand Up for Themselves

03/03/2016 03:24pm ET | Updated March 3, 2017
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There's no one like your own child but three-year-olds often have a lot in common in the way they express their new found autonomy and desire to stand up for themselves. Three-year-olds love to explore all their senses, focus, build language, and have exciting conversations about their personal experiences. They move with great ease, run, climb and perform large-muscle tasks as well as demonstrate fine motor coordination. Mostly, they are just so much fun to have a round.

A Day in the Life of a Three-Year-Old

Spending the day with a three-year-old in New York City is a day that requires a lot of energy and focus! Vic is a pint size charmer who speaks up to everyone. On the train into the City a warm stranger in the seat across from him said, "What's your name?" Jumping out of his seat and standing up making a little fist in the air, he declared, "My name is Vic. But today it is SUPERMAN!"

I had to remind him over and over to hold my hand and stay by my side at all times. Walking through crowds and racing into the subway, I had terrible fears of him being snatched up by a stranger. When on the subway, he was determined to show me that he didn't have to sit on a seat but could balance holding onto the pole. I learned very quickly telling him to sit down was senseless, so I just stood up with him at the pole and told him what a great subway rider he was.

Showing Self-Confidence and Feeling Proud

In the Museum of Natural History, we went to the live butterfly exhibit. He listened intently as the exhibit leader gave him instructions on how to behave with the butterflies. He pointed and gasped as they flew all around him. Then he directed me to look in a large netted cage where he announced there was a giant moth. I have no idea how he knew that it was a moth, not a butterfly. But he was right and very proud of himself. He knew how to stand up for what he believed was correct.

For a second, I thought I lost him as he ran over to a large butterfly that turned a bright blue when it opened its wings. But there he was a few feet away from me showing the museum leader what he just found. Once again, he stood right up for his discovery.

Lively Dinner Conversation

Later at dinner, little Vic seemed to put the icing on the cake of the day when after ordering his favorite pasta meal, he looked around at everyone and pointed to me and said, "You are my best friend." I write with chills to think so much love could come from that beautiful little body.

So little, so precious,but such a belief in himself and his knowledge. It's a wonder to see such confidence in a three-year-old.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst with a recent book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior, found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Familius, and wherever books are sold.