Terrible Twos

Apart from having no interest in sleep, my son is, and always has been, a well-behaved boy. Friends and family continually comment on his sunny nature. But like all 2 year olds, Luca is always only a blink away from a tantrum.

This is well known phenomenon amongst parents, called the ‘terrible twos’. I remember I was pre-warned by other mums, ‘enjoy shopping with him now, whilst you can’. I recall laughing smugly; my angel would never be like those other toddlers, which we all give wide berths to in the aisles of Tesco.

Parenting is (and always will be) a steep learning curve, but only two years ago I was holding a little, gurgling lump of joy in my arms and, in my naivety, I never thought we’d need to teach our son discipline and consequences of his actions so soon.

I admit it, I was one of those onlookers to other children raging in the supermarket and I would say to myself, ‘well it’s clearly a lack of discipline from the parents’ ..little did I know or understand until I became a mother.

You see, these displays of attention are a toddler’s way of communicating their frustration at why they aren’t allowed to have something. At two years old, they can’t articulate their irritation, or indeed understand why they can’t have everything they see.

And in understanding this process I have most definitely learned not to judge others. The fear of the full tantrum in the middle of a public place lurks at every turn, from every toddler.

The best advice I could offer is, routine and structure as often as possible. Believe it or not, toddlers crave routine and adapt well to it – and most important of all, do not give the tantrum the attention it seeks!

We also use the naughty step. Remember to explain the reasons as to why they have been naughty and once they have ‘served their time’, a simple apology (or acknowledgement of understanding) from your child, and a hug, will help to instil discipline without having to throw a tantrum back!

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5 thoughts on “Terrible Twos

  1. Hi there. What a super post. You sound like a well-grounded Mum. Thanks for following my blog too. It is a long time since I had a 2 year old full time and grandchildren seem to behave better than their parents did! I remember I did use ‘time out’ in a strange form. I would always remove them immediately from the scene – often difficult if you are in the middle of paying. Then when they had calmed down – often quickly as the source of the frustration had gone – I would tell them why. I hope you have lots of new Mum followers for your lovely sensible posts.

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  2. Very well put and summed up in a nutshell… Often people who judge in the isles of a supermarket are not parents themselves… I’ll be the first to admit that as a “SAHD” I am pretty tight on discipline with my two and have always been (just the way I was brought up myself). But they still behave like other kids when they are tired or over excited. Sometimes you just cannot control them… They’re not robots, afterall…

    At the moment, my daughter has left the “terrible twos” behind and is now in the “frustrating fours”. In that she cries and whines for attention… You get to the stage where with experience, you can hear whether its a real cry or “du cinéma” (putting an act on) – as they say here in France. She’s doing a lot of the cinema malarky.

    One last thing, as I’m a SAHD and am with my kids much of the time during the day (when they’re not at school that is), my OH works full-time. Ever since both my son & daughter were small they’ve always been more difficult with their Maman than with me… Don’t know if they think she is an easy touch or not, or just pay back because of the fact that she simply isn’t there between 8.30am & 7pm…

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  3. Definitely not looking forward to the terrible twos. I’ve been teaching the girls basic sign language. They already know certain signs. Even know how to tell me when they are hungry. Let’s hope it helps with their frustration when they are older. Great post and great read. Lucas is a super cute handsome boy. Xx

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  4. Seeing mine are at the tail end of terrible teenagers, I feel you may think me a bit of a fraud when I say that I didn’t find the TTs too bad. I must say that I probably tackled it with a ‘right here we go’ attitude though – the fall out from my mother ‘predicting’ stages with doom and gloom.

    I don’t know if you’d agree that you have to be adapting all of the time. So, I never took them to the supermarket, if I could help it – always going in the evening – or I would’ve tried internet shopping (if it had been as it is today). The odd occasions I had to shop until they could pop, I would have shamefully used bribery and corruption (eg if you … you can,etc).

    Just to make me seem less smug tho’, there was a time that youngest was ABSOLUTELY shattered and screamed WH Smiths down! We HAD to be there ‘cos I’d promised eldest he could buy a mag to take on hols the next day. I know the lady who came up to me thought I was going to wallop screaming youngest (I never, ever did, by the way). So, sh*t happens – and, in that case, I just thought it was divine retribution for me tut-tutting screaming babies in my pre-child life 🙂

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