Family Magazine

Five Top Tips for Trouncing the ‘Terrible Twos’

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

Well.. you’ve made it. Congratulations. You’ve made it through the parental highs and heartaches of caring for your screaming new born baby. Sleep patterns are returning to normal and the suitcases beneath your eyes are becoming mere bags once more. Crack open the bubbly! Parenting must surely be a doddle from this point onwards. Mustn’t it? So why is junior now throwing his meals on the floor and biting you at every opportunity? Why is he irrationally lashing out at the entirely inoffensive family dog? And why is every cajoling request you make of him answered with a stubborn “no!” often reinforced by window-shattering screaming and theatrical (occasionally hilarious) displays of temper?

 

Five Top Tips for Trouncing the ‘Terrible Twos’

 

Welcome to the ‘terrible twos’. Just when you thought you were home and dry in the parenting game, your beloved toddler is entering a new phase of development in which the entire world, and you as a parent, exists to be challenged by them. They are gaining the realisation that they have choices and a will of their own and need to make you aware of that fact in any way available to them. Don’t panic. You survived babyhood, and with the help of these five tips you can cheerfully navigate the stormy waters of the tears and tantrums of the ‘terrible twos’.

Give your toddler ‘no lose’ choices

The ‘terrible twos’ are largely driven by your toddler’s need for control. Giving them choices puts them in control of particular decisions. The key is to make those choices significant to your child, whilst they have no particular impact on you. Avoid closed questions such as “shall we go home now?” as these will always prompt a negative response. Ask them instead “shall we go home through the park or along the High Street?”

Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’

Denying your toddler a request they have made may result in a tantrum and often in the most public places such as a supermarket or crowded tourist attraction. Before you respond to your child, consider carefully whether or not their demand is reasonable. If it isn’t take the time to explain why their request can’t be granted (e.g. “you can’t have a bag of sweets because you’ve just had a cake and it might make you feel poorly”) and be prepared to ignore the ensuing histrionics. Giving in to unreasonable demands for the sake of a quiet life gives your toddler the upper-hand and may be the foundation for later behavioural problems.

Set ground rules and routines in advance

Getting your toddler accustomed as soon as possible to what is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour, and setting their expectations as to mealtimes, playtimes and bedtime can help to relieve the frustration that leads to tantrums by allowing your toddler to know in advance what to expect next each day. Always praise good behavior and admonish bad behaviour, but never with physical force; an appropriate facial expression and tone of voice should be sufficient to let your child know that their behavior is unacceptable.

Teach them the ‘magic words’ of politeness

With repetition your child may soon learn that by asking nicely for something they want and using the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is a far more effective way of achieving success than rolling around on the floor and bawling; somehow it’s far easier to placate a polite toddler than an offensive one..

Never forget that the ‘terrible twos’ are just a phase

No matter how frustrating, annoying or selfish your toddler’s behavior may seem never lose sight of the fact that this is just a natural stage of development during which they are trying to assert their independence with the limited communication and negotiation tools available to them. They are still dependent on your total love, care and affection no matter how naughty they seem. If you feel the need for revenge, take photos or video footage of your toddler’s particularly embarrassing tantrums and keep them for showing to their potential partners later on in life…!

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