Parenting Tips: Terrible Twos!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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What is "Terrible Twos"?

According to Wikipedia, terrible twos is a child development stage which normally occurs around the age of two (but can start earlier) and consists of toddlers often saying no and throwing temper tantrums. 

Terrible twos is a stage of toddler's development that can be difficult to parents especially if you don't understand why it is this happening. I was caught surprise to know that my son is already at his terrible twos stage. He used to be so cooperative and understanding, but now he always throws tantrums especially if he doesn't get what he wants.

Before, I can just move him away from the source of his fussiness then voila, his back to his happy mood. But now it doesn’t work most of the times and he will still remember what is that something he is whining for. Sometimes he is makes feeding time harder for us though he will eat everything we give him. Adding to my stress is that we are having hard time putting him to sleep. Sometimes he will cry to sleep and then at the middle of the night, he will wake up and cry. When ask why, he will just cry.

I know I must understand that my son isn’t trying to be intentionally defiance or rebellious. The temper tantrums and disobedience is the result of him trying to express his increasing independence and to make his own choices. The conflict between us and our toddler comes because they have to disagree with us for the choices to be theirs and not ours. So that is often ends to our toddler’s frustrations and lead to crying and anger. Also, toddler looks at his world at a much narrower perspective while we see it the opposite. Toddler just want to explore the world to see how it works, and that they don’t understand what is safe, good or bad, right or wrong.

Toddlers can’t easily express their self and what they want so this can also be a reason why they often gets frustrated and throw tantrums. Our job is to teach and guide them in their activities. We must learn about this normal stage of our toddler’s development and make sure we aren’t contributing to more struggles than usual.

Here are the other tips to help us deal with our toddler’s terrible twos stage:

  1. Have a regular routine for meals, naps, bedtime, etc. Stick with this routine everyday as much as possible.
  2. Offer limited choices only. We must give our toddler a couple of alternatives and let them decide. This will help them make some decisions and they will feel power over things.
  3. Set limits about things to keep them safe. But expect that our toddler will try to test those limits.
  4. Don’t give in to tantrums. They will use it as a tactic especially if they learn that tantrums will get them what they want.
  5. Distractions.  Move them away from the source of his whining and divert their attention to something else. By doing this, they will forget they are upset.
  6. Don’t just say NO. If you tell them what not to do, they don’t necessarily understand what the right thing to do. So as much as possible explain things to them in the best way they can understand.
  7. Use time-out and taking away privileges.
  8. Provide a safe environment for your toddler to explore and play in.

Remember that this stage has a good side also. In this stage, our toddler is learning at an amazing rate and they will do things that will surprise us. This is so true because my 26-month old son is a very fast learner. He knows how to count from 1 to 20 and he can recite the alphabet. He even knows all the body parts (Filipino and English), fruits, shapes, colors, animals and so much more. He never stops to maze us. He also makes mano (kiss hands) and everyone is telling us how polite and obedient he is. 

So let us focus at the positive side and be prepared for the opposite side. Is your child at this terrible twos stage too? Please share how you are coping with it.

Happy Parenting!