Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy” as Want to Read:
Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  411 ratings  ·  84 reviews
A three-year-old is a real puzzle to parents, sometimes anxious to please and befriend, sometimes strong-willed and difficult to get along with. At the heart of the three-year-old’s personality is often an emotional insecurity—and this causes a host of problems for parents! Drs. Ames and Ilg, recognized authorities on child behavior and development, help parents understand ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published January 18th 2012 by Dell (first published 1976)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Your Three-Year-Old, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Your Three-Year-Old

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 620)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Allison
What a crappy crappy bad book. I finished this book a week ago and keep trying to write a review but I'm not even sure where to start...
First off, I only have a barely three year old, but I've talked to people who have had 3yo's and the way this PhD author is decribing the 3s doesn't really match up that well. The subtitle is Friend or Enemy and Ames (the author) seems to think that 3's are your friend and 3 1/2 yo's act like your enemy. And "our best advice" on dealing with your 3 1/2 yo? "enl
...more
Jenn
If taken only for the information about the mind, emotions, and development of a three year old child, this is a truly wonderful resource! Each book in this series serves to calm the worries of the reader that their once-delightful child has been ruined, revealing the new an often unpleasant behaviors as completely normal, expected developmental stages. In other words: realax! Your kid is NORMAL. I found it's great help, and entertaining to boot! The anachronistic advice is often silly, but any ...more
Tiffany
I don't agree with everything in this book, and it's been a while since I read it, but what this series does is give a great overview of what to expect socially, psychologically, emotionally, and in regard to general development. It's a little outdated, but there have been a lot of moments when I was like, ah, yes - now it makes sense. For example, 3's hate it when things are not whole - once I understood that, I had a better grasp of how to help my own daughters cope with some frustrations. Not ...more
Amy
May 14, 2014 Amy rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horrible mothers from 1985 who are afraid of their monster preschoolers
If you’re reading this book, it’s clearly because you have a 3.5-year-old. A parent of a 3-year-old would not need such a book because 3-year-olds are perfect angels. Add on another 6 months, and you’ve got a monster child on your hands. Never fear. This book is here to help.

The first thing you must realize, dear mother, is that you are the problem. The child only acts like a monster around you because you actually care about your child and they can sense this. Thus, the first step is to remove
...more
Anna
I have to say that upon reading the subtitle, 'Friend or Enemy', way back around her third birthday, I thought, "how offensive! My child could never be my enemy! That must be an artifact of the dated discipline advice I know to be endemic to this series!" Enter three-and-a-half, when friend/enemy status is renegotiated on a daily-- nay, hourly-- basis.

But yes, this book certainly is full of incredibly dated advice on discipline ("some endomorphic boys seem to need a good spanking now and again,"
...more
Thystle
May 02, 2009 Thystle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks with three year olds
This is one of those books where there are little bits of information that are very helpful and whole chunks where I read it and cringe. It talks about what three year olds are like and basically generalizes 36 months old vs. 42 months old (3.5years). It also says some things like "an occassional spanking, if it works, is not immoral..." !!! I've tried to ignore all of the sections on parenting if it assumes a control/coercion world view and just look for the interesting parts.

The section on hav
...more
Jeff
I thought that Ames had written what the essential user friendly guides to child development based on the fact that every time I turn around these books pop up. They are at our library, on bookshelves in every major bookstore, in people's homes. They are down right ubiquitous.

With all this coverage you would think they were quite good. However, they were all published in 1985 and might as well have been published in the 1950's with the language that Ames uses and the assumptions that she makes.
...more
Kristan
I'm not sure how (according to the author) a 3 year old is pleasant to be around, but when they turn 3.5, it's a whole different story. I find my 3 year old to be extremely challenging right now, and I can't imagine his behavior will be drastically worse in 6 months. The one thing I did takeaway was to minimize the stand-offs and battles and not be afraid to enlist outside help.
Kristen
Outdated? Yes. Full of dad-at-work mom-at-home assumptions? Yes. Worth reading for some of the child development points? Yes.

I picked this up when my 3 1/2 year old suddenly changed into a new, uncooperative, tantrum-thrower. And I discovered that everything that was going on could be explained by his developmental stage. The descriptions of his behavior were spot on. Unfortunately the only concrete recommendation was to get a babysitter to help us ride out the storm until he turns 4, which is
...more
Shala Howell
Helpful for the overview of the developmental state. Several times I found myself saying "so that's why my daughter does that!"

The rest of it was a bit hit or miss. For example, I wish I had read their prescription for a birthday party before throwing ours. On the other hand, some of their assumptions about family structure are dated. Especially the assumptions about the role of the father, who was described as being a stern disciplinarian out of touch with his children. That may have been true
...more
Sarah
I can say a couple of positive things about this book:

1) Some of the developmental stuff is helpful! It's just that I don't entirely trust it based on the fact that the book is based on very old research.

2) It tells parents not to try to break their children's will, and to approach discipline as teaching, and to parent based on a good understanding of what is age-appropriate for your child.

Bad things:

First of all, it's written in such a way that I found it very difficult to read. It's not that i
...more
Lauri
Your Three-Year-Old:Friend or Enemy isn't your typical parenting book. Louise Bates Ames's series of child development books covers ages 1-14. So far, I've read the 2- and 3-year-old books and plan to keep reading these every year before my son's birthday.

Published first in the 70's, what makes these books different from most parenting books is the focus on behavioral information. This book won't tell you how to deal with your 3-year-old's tantrums exactly, but it will tell you WHY your child ac
...more
Kristin
My son is 2 1/2 and I read this book to prepare myself for the upcoming year because so many people say 3 is worse than 2. I found the developmental cycles helpful, but most of the time I found myself saying "My son does all this already." I don't think it's because he's ahead of other children his age or the developmental schedule, I just think children are progressing faster than they were in the early to mid 80's. I also found it confusing that what to expect from a 3 year old was immediately ...more
Ashley
At 150 pages this is a very quick read and has helped me calm down about my three year old's behaviors of late. (Don't be turned away by the publishing date-1985-or old photos!) My daughter has been very oppositional and acting out against her younger brother to the point where I felt a bit helpless and frustrated. This book mostly describes behaviors through out this year (vs telling you how to discipline). It has helped me see the world through her eyes and understand why she's acting the way ...more
Amy
What a strange book. I can tell it was written in 1985, because the parenting advice is a little different than what you hear these days. It's part of a series on child development that covers various ages ("Your 3-Year-Old, Your 4-Year-Old, etc) published by a institute on child development.

I picked it up because another book I read mentioned this book as a helpful resource in knowing what's normal in each child's age, and what's going on with your child's emotional, physical, social developme
...more
Grace
Possibly the most helpful parenting book I've ever read, and I've read quite a few. It is nice to see my issues addressed honestly for once, and her tips are priceless. Some of my favorites: if your kid freaks out about getting dressed in the morning, put their new shirt on the night before so that you only have to wrestle them into clean pants the next day. If your kid flat out refuses to bathe and turns daily grooming into a battle to the death, head to the beach. I'm sure whatever gross stuff ...more
Jessie
It's hard to give a star rating for this, because it's so outdated in some ways (1976 publication date). Some of the research holds up, and I found her examination of the marked differences between 3 and 3 1/2 really interesting. However, some of it is useless. It amazes me how much thoughts have changed on potty training in just one generation. Now it's pretty common to have 3 year olds still in diapers, while back then it was practically unheard of from what I can tell.
Christina
Perhaps the publication date should have been a clue. And maybe the sections on child behavior (what's typical for the age, how this age interacts with other kids) might have been interesting, if that's what I was looking for. But some days, my three-and-a-half year old drives me crazy... and the authors' "best advice" is to hire a babysitter. What, I'm supposed to hire a babysitter to raise my daughter for me for the next 6 to 9 months? Why not just put her in full-time daycare and go get an of ...more
Kristi
As it turns out, more enemy than friend. (Kidding. Sometimes.)

The insight of this book is the recognition that three-and-a-half-year-olds are creatures very different from three-year-olds, and often not in a particularly pleasant or comprehensible way, which can require adjustments to one's parenting approach. That part alone made this book worth reading, especially as I downloaded it in somewhat of a panic ("why the hell is [my three-and-a-half-year-old] acting like this all of a sudden?!?") an
...more
Tracey Mcd
Developmental stage overviews very helpful, especially the difference between 3 and 3 1/2. But the Q and A hasn't been updated. And the authors view the fathers as absentee or even negative influences.
Jeannette
This series, one for each age through the teenage years, is indispensable. It goes through developmental behaviors, expectations, difficulties...everything you need to know about that age group. So when you're about ready to pull out your hair, it's nice to know that it's developmentally appropriate, and how to direct children to maximize the benefits of their age as well as be able to show them grace by setting reasonable expectations for their age. The series was written several years ago, so ...more
Anna
In which your three year old is a jerk, and it's all mom's fault. Horribly dated and sexist, but skim for nuggets of truth.
Michel
My copy of this book is from 1985 and you can tell. There is so much "stay at home mom" assumption along with "hands off dad". Times have changed! There were some really interesting parts of the book. There were many times that I found myself thinking, "Evan does that!" For example that at this age, they start to use time references even though they don't really understand what they mean. They might say "let's do that at 8:30" even though they have no idea when 8:30 is. It was worth reading but ...more
Zooey73
Not as enlightening as the 2 year old book, but helpful to understand the tantrums.
Annemarie
My other mother-in-law introduced me to these wonderful books. I love that they are small and each one focuses on one year. one book related to the next. I love these so much more than the what to expect books. They were written a while ago, but they were done at Yale, and I don't think any of it is outdated or no longer true. Well, expect for the part about children playing with records - I don't know what children have records anymore. ... I wonder if my parents still have mine... I loved thou ...more
Breanna Leigh
Of all the "Your _ Year Old" books I've read so far, I found this one the most helpful. It was nice to know how common things like my son's sudden excessive blinking are among three-and-a-half year olds. Or that it's not just in my imagination, he really is pushing harder against me than he does anyone else. And this is all normal. And this too shall pass.
I am so grateful for these books, not only because they teach what you can expect from your child, but also because they put in a few tried a
...more
Natasha
Putting aside some of the dated advice and information, the developmental and behavioural information is still very relevant and useful.
Christine
So far, I'm not impressed. The author describes just about every conceivable type of three year old without really providing much help on how to parent besides, "Don't feel guilty, or that you are passing the buck, if you leave a substantial amount of your child's care to a sitter, since many at this age do best with someone other than their own mother." (p. 39) She repeats this advice several times in the first half of the book. This book reminded me why I generally avoid parenting books.
Mary Beth
Well, I have to agree with a lot of the other reviewers. The information is a bit dated, but the basics are great. Some passages described my three-and-a-half year old to a tee, which made me feel like I'm not losing my mind. But some of the suggestions--basically, remove myself from the situation and let a babysitter handle him--are simply not okay or feasible. However it did help me put into perspective what my son is going through emotionally.Read it with a grain of salt.
Kerri
As with other books in this series, there are some helpful general comments about behavior at this age. But, the book is so out of date that it should be read with caution. For example, I would hope that even the most poorly read parent would disagree that nothing is wrong when a three year old bangs his head on the wall for hours every night. Again, it is interesting for an historical perspective as to what mothers versus fathers were doing as parents in 1976.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Heartfelt Discipline: The Gentle Art of Training and Guiding Your Child
  • The Emotional Life of the Toddler
  • Adventures in Gentle Discipline: A Parent-to-Parent Guide (La Leche League International Book)
  • Seven Times the Sun: Guiding Your Child Through the Rhythms of the Day
  • Mothering Your Nursing Toddler
  • Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting
  • The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning
  • Your Child's Growing Mind: A Guide to Learning and Brain Development from Birth to Adolescence
  • The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers:  Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child's Sleep
  • Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character …in You and Your Kids!
  • Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven
  • So That's What They're For!: The Definitive Breastfeeding Guide
  • The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day
  • Families Where Grace Is in Place
  • Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun.
  • Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
  • Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids
  • Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children
Your Two-Year-Old: Terrible or Tender Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful Your Seven-Year-Old: Life in a Minor Key Your Ten to Fourteen Year Old Your Nine-Year-Old: Thoughtful And Mysterious

Share This Book