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What are the terrible twos?

How to cope with the terrible twos

One day your toddler will be sat there like a little angel, looking like butter wouldn’t melt, smiling up at you as you walk past and laughing at some silly game. The next day it seems like they have been possessed. There are the typical two year old tantrums, screaming, yelling and your toddler will only respond with one word: “no”. So what has happened?

Welcome to the terrible twos. Your darling little angel who thought the world of you has disappeared overnight and has been replaced with what can only be described as the devil child. For the really lucky parents among us this can turn into the terrible threes and fours.

There is good news however; the terrible two’s wont last forever and there are a number of things you can do to beat the terrible twos (or at least minimize the outbursts).

How do you know if your child has entered the terrible twos?

The terrible twos can start pretty much anytime after your child’s first birthday. Generally once a child is one and has learnt to walk, it is only a matter of time before you join the other parents cowering in the corner and your toddler becomes boss.

You will notice all kinds of changes in behaviour when your child enters the terrible twos, and you will have to deal with the delights of:

  • Temper tantrums – these will happen anywhere and at any time. The two year old tantrums can happen anywhere, your child doesn’t mind if they are in the privacy of your own home or out in the middle of the crowded super market.
  • Saying “no” – your toddler will respond to any question, comment (even if you are not talking to your child) in this manner.
  • Hitting
  • Biting
  • Not listening – “Can you put this away?” will attract no response, but “Are you ready to go to play in the park?” will have your toddler stood by the door, shoes and coat on, in two seconds flat - I believe the technical term is ‘selective hearing’.

There are many similar behaviour patterns that will occur during the terrible twos depending on your child.

One such behaviour that no parent seems to escape is the incredible radar that gets turned on inside your child and draws them to anything and everything that is not acceptable. This can range from playing with plug sockets to becoming the next Houdini and making their escape out the back gate.

So next time you can’t see your toddler and everything has gone quiet, run to find them and be prepared for the worst.

So why does your angelic little prince or princess disappear?

I can promise you that it is not because you are a bad parent, or that you have done something wrong. In fact it is quite the opposite.

Your child’s brain has developed and they are seeing things differently. They want to explore but have no understanding of what is right or wrong, safe or harmful. Your toddler gets annoyed because they no exactly what they want, but their body is not capable of doing it and they can’t always communicate with you what they want.

Put simply, they are frustrated.

This is where their favourite (and your most hated) word “no” comes from. Your toddler knows what they want but are not able to get it and anything you offer them is not a good enough alternative.

Put yourself in their shoes. You are a bit peckish and want something as simple as a biscuit, but no one will listen. You try and say the word but it comes out as a made up word that no one else understands. You try and point, but are not exactly sure where the biscuit tin is. You start getting frustrated because know what you want but can’t tell anyone. People then get cross with you because you are getting frustrated; yet all you want is one biscuit and thats where the two year old tantrums come in to play.

Now are you starting to see how something so simple can elevate into a big drama?

What can you do to beat the terrible twos?

The terrible twos can be a nightmare time for any family, and unfortunately, as boarding school is not an option, you are going to have to tackle the problem yourself.

As a parent, your job is to guess the things that are going to gain negative reactions from your toddler and turn them around into positive situations. Have a look at how to beat the terrible twos for ways to get peace back in your household and get your angelic prince or princess back.

Have a look at this site all about what to expect and how to make the most of the terrible twos.