Although every child is different, there seems to be that one thing which every child has in common and that would be the Terrible Twos. As a parent, you feel horrible calling such a wonderful time in your child’s life ‘terrible,’ but there is no other way to describe the rapid onset of temper tantrums or your toddler’s stubborn resistance to being told what to do. While you, as a parent, know the purpose behind what you are instructing your child to do, or not as the case may be, they don’t yet have life experience to know why, and are unwilling to listen to directions.
Unfortunately, they are still not able to be reasoned with from a developmental perspective, and so you end up coming off as the bad guy, which sets off another bout of screaming, throwing themselves on the floor and kicking their feet like a fish out of water. You can’t believe you’ll ever survive the Terrible Twos, but parents have successfully made it through for thousands of years, albeit with bald patches on their heads where they’ve torn their hair out in frustration, but they did live through the Terrible Twos and you can too.
Sometimes It Helps to Know Why
Although it doesn’t make living with a two-year-old any easier when they are in one of their moods, it does help to understand why your beautiful baby suddenly turned into a monster. This is a period in your child’s life where they are going through a rapid growth spurt, physically, emotionally and socially. At this stage in their development they are becoming more independent but are not yet able to do some things they would like to try.
Sometimes it’s a lack of motor skills and other times it’s a matter of safety. You can’t just let a child run across the street because he sees something he likes on the other side, so you are left no choice but to say no. Your child, wanting to assert his independence, throws a fit and so it’s now a matter of controlling the outburst. In fact, your child by this point may have even forgotten what he’s crying about! And, so it goes.
Remember, your child is beginning to assert independence for the first time but doesn’t have the language skills to be reasoned with. You will still need to deal with the Terrible Twos, but it helps to know you are not alone. Every parent goes through the exact same thing.
Consistency and Socialization Are Critical from This Point On
How many times have you given in to your child, at a grocery store for example, because they pitch a fit and everyone turns to look at you. So, you give in and let your child have that candy you had just said “No!” to. That is one of the worst mistakes you can make during the Terrible Twos. Let them look! If there is a parent out there who tells you they didn’t go through the exact same thing when their child was 2, they are lying! Most will understand and although they won’t be happy with the screaming, will at least support you in your effort to teach your child the meaning of “No.”
Also, at this stage in your child’s life, socialization with others outside the family becomes crucial. Many parents find a highly recommended day nursery for children aged 2 ½ to 3 years of age for this reason. Social skills are beginning to develop at this stage in your child’s life and the safest place to let your child interact with others is a nursery setting. Here, trained professionals can help children learn to ‘play nice’ and interact with others in an acceptable manner.
The Terrible Twos is a time when you should also be learning to let go. Your child is at a developmental stage where it is healthy to begin learning to be independent of mummy some of the time. If you don’t let go now, you will almost certainly have trouble later. Nursery schools can offer a safe form of independence from mom because there are professional teachers and staff on hand to ensure your child’s safety. They are consistent in their expectations and can help your child learn the meaning of “No!”
See for yourself just what a difference this will make in your child’s behaviour. Give yourself a break and you’ll both be happier for it. You can survive the Terrible Twos. Luckily, they don’t last forever.