The “terrible two’s”!
We have all dreaded the time when our adorable toddler turns two years old for this is the onset. Some children come into this stage sooner than the age of two and others a bit later. Needless to say, they all do it. But, what exactly do they do? They make messes, which others must clean up, they get into things and they throw tantrums. Our society teaches that the “terrible two’s” is normal. Must it really be as it is labelled?
Around the age of two, children begin to realize and exert their own will. They discover they are independent from their parents and do not necessarily need to follow the parent’s directions. Their new found independence revolves around their ability to move around more freely (walking) and a growing ease of coordination in mechanical movements.
Awareness is the first step to taking “terrible” out of the “terrible two’s”. The messes that toddlers make can be minimized with more attentiveness. Reduce opportunities for them to be made by placing items out of reach -also known as “child-proofing” your home. Being aware of the child’s increased mobility and curiosity, will not only help cut down on the unnecessary clean-ups but also helps protect the child from hurting himself.
Throwing tantrums is probably the most common characteristic of the “terrible two’s”. Dealing with them, again involves awareness. Not necessarily that your child is in the “terrible two’s” stage, but that your child is learning to be his own person. You may have to be more creative in directing his energy, setting boundaries and being consistent.
Changing our expectations as parents is the second step to taking the “terrible” out of the “terrible two’s”. Much of how our children behave is the product of what we expect. If we expect the “terrible two’s”, complete with tantrums, that is exactly what we will get. If, on the other hand, we excitedly anticipate the growth and development of our child’s personality and will, our perspective will change. No longer will this important stage in our child’s development be labelled as “the terrible two’s”. It will become the start of a life long learning process for us and the child. Building a relationship with your child during this stage yields many rewards, present and future. It is time to stop accepting what our culture calls normal. Raise your expectations and enjoy your toddler as he grows, develops and learns to be an adult.
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