Oh, the wonderful phase of the terrible twos. Luckily it’s just that, a phase but it never fails to seem like it lasts too long.
Some parents feel embarrassed or like a bad parent when it happens in public but don’t. This phase is completely normal. It’s just the child testing out their boundaries/limits and exploring their independence while clashing with learning on how to communicate frustration.
It doesn’t necessarily only happen at the age of 2 but around that age is when it hits. It could happen before or after age 2. I always hear new moms saying “I don’t even know when, why or how this started.” I was definitely one of those moms. I feel like it happened from one day to another with no warning signs. They go from being extra clingy to telling you ‘no’ and doing what they want. The biggest mistake most parents do is give into the tantrums to have the child calm down, never give in. This phase will be typically filled with lots of scandalous tantrums, the word ‘no’ and other people just staring at you & your child.
Here are the top three ways to conquer the terrible two’s:
You need to express to your child that their behavior is unacceptable. With that being said make sure to pick your battles with your child. Don’t react to everything. If they always hear you saying ‘no, don’t do this, don’t do that’ they won’t take it as serious as it needs to be when you actually want them to stop something immediately. I’m not saying ignore the situation. Try to use alternative ways to explain their unacceptable behavior. For an example instead of saying “Stop hitting!” try “Please keep your hands to yourself”.
You can use time out as a way to penalize your child for their unacceptable behaviors. Another method you can you use is taking away a privilege (toy, TV time, etc.) for a short time period. It’s important for them to realize they will not get what they want if they throw a tantrum.
This phase will cause lots of stress on the parent. Just take a deep breath. Don’t let those dirty looks from other people get to you. Realize it’s a normal phase and it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong as a parent. You want to remain calm (or at least pretend to). If you’re at home let the meltdown happen as long as the child is safe and simply ignore it. If in public, try your best to remove your child from the situation as soon as possible. Try redirecting them. Give them options to do something as soon as they calm down, that usually catches their attention.
Remember your child is your mirror. How you react to things in stressful and frustrating situations is how your child will learn to react to stressful and frustrating situations.
Praise is just important as penalizing. Praising good behavior is a great tactic. If you see them put away their toys, that is the perfect timing to get animated and express how proud you are of them. Praising makes anyone feel good, especially toddlers. They will get excited and will definitely want more of those reactions from you. Try to keep praise non-materialistic for doing things they should be doing. Try to keep it for specific situations so it remains a special moment.
Even though it might not feel like it, this phase will come and go. Don’t worry, You got this!
How are you handling the terrible two’s?