These past few months have been a real challenge for me. Terrible twos they say but is it true? Is this really a phase that kids go through? I don’t recall my first child ever being this challenging or even experiencing this entire phase. I feel like I'm being completely tested in the second phase of my toddlers life. The hitting, spitting, throwing objects and being told "NO" for absolutely everything leaves me feeling defeated and wondering could this really be Terrible twos?
The terrible two’s stage can start anywhere between 18 months old to 3 years old. At around 18 months my toddler began to display behavior's that confirmed his transition into the terrible twos stage. Parenting does not come with instruction manuals as every child is different however, recognizing the behaviors and developing the right strategy to effectively discipline your child can help reduce or alleviate Many of the challenges terrible two brings. Although terrible twos can be challenging for some we as parents can learn better techniques on how to cope and effectively communicate with your child based on his/her needs.
Two Years Old's Developmental
At two years old a child begins to think and process information differently. They are developing into their own identity. At this stage your child wants to explore the environment and make decisions on their own. Your child is now able to put few words together to form sentences to express their needs, wants, likes and dislikes. Your child may get frustrated during this stage if their needs are not being met and parents may have a difficult time understanding their child thoroughly which may be the contributing factor to a child exhibiting behavioural issues to combat their feelings. Recognizing the early signs, addressing the problem before it escalates can save both you and your child from having a full melt down.
10 Terrible Two Behavior Challenges
• Constantly saying no for everything
• Refusing to follow rules or instructions.
• Throwing objects
• Crying (sometime inconsolable)
All toddlers experience the terrible twos stage some exhibit more behaviors than others as noted on the parenthood Webpage (https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/terrible-twos#causes) written by: Donna Christiano. They have finally reached a stage in their life where they are developing their independence and identity. They do not have control over their emotions as they are still in the process of figuring it out. When my son gets frustrated he would make a gnarling sound which usually leads to a loud cry or scream. This behaviour happens mostly when he feels he has lost all control. Frustration is a common trigger for a terrible two melt down.
Feelings of Frustration in Toddlers
Frustration is when there is a shift in a child's mood causing them to act out. My son will go from this fun, loving happy baby to this angry, crying baby in the matter of 10 seconds. Most times the frustration begin when he is unable to complete a task, not getting what he wants or having difficulty expressing his feelings.
How to Cope With Terrible Twos Tantrums
This stage can feel exhausting as it's challenging and can get frustrating for both the child and the parent. When we are unable to understand the specific needs of our child it may lead to one or more of the terrible two behaviors. This stage may contribute to a parent feeling defeated and overwhelmed. For me it's when my child refuses to follow my instructions or rules. Having to constantly repeat myself over and over “toys are for playing not throwing" "stop spitting" “no screaming", no climbing” as he looks me directly in my eyes disregarding every word I uttered. But the biggest challenge I face is the constant "NO". "6 simple methods to coping with terrible twos" that I encourage parents to try are:
1. Being consistent and maintaining your stance with the Boundaries you set.
2. Develop or stick to a schedule. Hunger and tiredness are usually a trigger when a toddler gets frustrated.
3. Try not to disrupt nap time as it is vital for their development and growth and can trigger irritability if missed.
4. Redirect your child or try to distract them from the things that are considered their main trigger.
5. Offer your child options and choices. Allow them to have a choice in what they wear and eat. This gives your child the opportunity to Develop independence and it aids in the area of them wanting to have some form of control over their life.
6. Put aside some time for yourself and address your own needs. Whether it means going to another room to cool off for few minutes before engaging with your child. This coping process is necessary in order to effectively parent a child.
How to Maintain Serenity With Your child
To maintain a calm and happy child it is important to recognize the root problem the child is facing. What is causing the tantrum? Is it hunger, tiredness, pain from an underlying illness or is it the inability to expressing their needs? Recognizing the root cause is a process that can prevent the child from getting frustrated which may lead to tantrums. Once you have recognize the problem as parents you can then begin to act, discipline and encourage according to the specific needs.
Terrible twos is a real phase. It’s a stage that has me at times feeling like I’ve lost all control but since I began to apply the “6 simple methods to coping with terrible twos" and recognizing the problem in advance there has been a positive shift in my child's behavior and the way I respond.
This terrible twos stage will pass and we will have our happy, smiling child that was once constantly bubbly and full of joy back in no time.