Terrible Twos

The terrible two is a stage during toddler’s development that is considered absolutely normal. Most mothers report marked changes in mood, excessive use of “no” by the toddlers and uncontrolled temper tantrums. This stage usually comes in motion when toddlers start struggling between their longing for independence and reliance on adults. At one point, the child may be seen clinging to dad or mom, and at the other, the child may be seen running in the different and opposite direction. However, there are ways to make things better. Good parenting skills and calmness are all you need to handle the terrible twos.

Cause of Terrible Twos

A 2-year-old child undergoes major emotional, social, intellectual and motor changes. Their vocabulary expands, and they develop anxiety and eagerness to carry out tasks on their own. They also begin to discover that they are expected to follow some specific rules. Most of the 2-year-olds are usually not able to move as swiftly as they would like to, and are incapable of controlling their feelings. On top of that, they are unable to communicate clearly about their needs. As a consequence, misbehaviour and frustrations take birth, often referred to as ”the terrible twos.”

How to Deal With Terrible Twos

Before the Tantrum

A temper tantrum occurs when your child feels overwhelmed, bored, tired or hungry. You may predict these tantrums by paying careful attention to reactions to a situation and nonverbal clues exhibited by your child. You may give him a snack, tuck him to bed, or do a quiet activity with your child to keep him calm.

During the Tantrum

When the tantrum starts, try to stay calm and do your best to avoid reckless reinforcement of the behavior. Lock away all your emotions, as slight expression of frustration or agitation on your part may escalate emotions of your child. Don’t confront or laugh at him; try ignoring him all together and make no physical or eye contact until the calmness of your child is restored. Such behaviors prevent negative enforcement of your child’s tantrum.

After the Tantrum

Once the spell of tantrum is over, give guidance and reassurance in a positive manner. Make conversations with your child in a tone that is relaxed and teach him how he can express his feeling and emotions through words rather than pulling a tantrum or show.

Tantrums in Public

Having your child cry at home is tolerable, but nobody expects you to feel okay when your child pulls out a whining show in public, creating a mess and letting you feel embarrassed. When the temper tantrum diffuses in public, don’t let yourself down by thinking you are a bad parent.Many people around you might be parents and will grasp your state of matters understandingly. How to overcome this situation? Collect your child in your arms and take him to a quiet place, such as a bathroom or a car, where you can hug him and shower him with guidance.

Additional Tips on Dealing with Terrible Twos

It is imperative to understand that as your child grows, he takes another step towards physical, emotional and personal independence. As a parent, you can facilitate this process and help him in being a self-sufficient individual without compromising on disciplinary matters.

1. Remain Strong and Offer Alternatives

Temper tantrums are displayed by your child when he does not get what he wants. The best thing you can do under such circumstances is to stay put and not to surrender to the demands of your child. When a child sees that his parents melt easily by temper tantrums, he makes it a habit to get things his way by putting up a show. Be firm, and ignore your child during this time; however, ensure his safety. Once the child is back to his normal calm state, tell him alternate ways to let out his frustrations and disagreement.

2. Avoid Power Struggle and Let Him Choose

The journey from infant to toddler brings along independence, which leads to longing of controlling things according to his wish in every situation. The desire for control in turn results in power struggle between the child who wishes to have things his way and be in charge, and the parents who should rightfully be the actual people in charge. This can be eliminated to certain extent by presenting choices in front of your child as frequently as possible. For instance, you may let the child choose between two pairs of pajamas at bed time. The child may not have any choice regarding going to bed, but since you allow him to pick between two pairs of pajamas, he would feel in charge of the situation up to some extent.

3. Adopt Disciplinary Techniques and Reinforce Conseqences

When enforcing discipline on your toddler, be certain to make sure that the consequences are in direct relation to offence and occur after the behavior as soon as possible. For instance, if the child throws away his food on the floor, ordering him to clean is a way better consequence as compared to prohibiting him from playing with any of his toys afterwards. In order for children to relate behavior with discipline, you must be very picky about the consequences. Some toddlers can be better handled by disciplinary measures like time-outs and privilege loss, provided that they make any sense in the situation.

4. Provide Emotional Support

When your two-year-old feels frustrated, provide him with support and assist him in finding an outlet to expel his frustration. You may take him for a run or let him walk outside in fresh air. If you teach your child helpful techniques to deal with his frustration, it will make things peaceful for him in the future. In addition, you can try to help your child if he is stuck with something or unable to do things on his own (without letting him feel that you are helping him).

Here is a video by a mom to deal with terrible twos: