With 10 children, I have been through the terrible twos ten times now!Now, I have grandchildren in this stage and I can say from experience, this can be a wonderful time!
Some of the most popular questions I get about the Terrible Twos are;
- What are the Terrible Twos?
- Do they have to be terrible?
- How do I handle them?
Contrary to what most believe, they don’t have to be terrible!
Yep, you read it right! When I get the question – Do the Terrible Twos Have to be Terrible – my answer is absolutely NOT!
Have you dreaded the time when you child turns two? If so, you aren’t alone!
Most moms do because after all, the terrible twos are terrible —- Aren’t they?
Some children come into this stage sooner than the age of two and others a bit later – but they all do!
Children are a Gift
I think it is very important to remember what God says about children. Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
Gifts are good things! Remembering that our children are a gift from the Lord helps us get through the trying times that come with parenthood.
What are the Terrible Twos?
Part of handling the terrible twos is understanding what it is and what two year olds do.
Children Become More Curious at the Age of Two
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. But does it really have to be? I know it doesn’t!
Children Become More Independent Around the Age of Two
Around the age of two, children begin to realize and exert their own will. They discover they are independent from their parents and don’t necessarily need to follow their parent’s directions.
Two year olds are more independent because they can now walk and move around on their own. They are also becoming more coordinated which feeds their self-confidence.
Children Need Security and Consistency
I don’t know what method you use to discipline your child, but whatever you do, be sure to do it with love and consistency. I know the times when I am inconsistent with the children, they run with it.
Don’t get me wrong, they are good children. But if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. I have to admit, they come by it honestly because, I do the same thing!
Children are such mirrors of us – their parents!
Two year olds are NO exception. I am thinking of one child in particular that even by the age of two needed to know that I had boundaries that I would stick to!
4 Steps to Handling the Terrible Twos
There are things we can do to take the “terrible” out of the terrible twos and even make it an exciting time – for us and for our children.
1. Be Attentive
Awareness is the first step to taking “terrible” out of the “terrible two’s”. You can cut down on the messes that your toddler makes by being more attentive. Attentive to the surroundings and potential messes and to them as little people.
If a mess is made to get attention, being attentive to the child will give them the time with you that they crave. Spending time with them can actually be a way to cut down on the messes being made.
2. Child Proof Your Home
Putting breakables up and out of reach, along with anything else they can get into, will make life a lot easier. At the age of two, children are more mobile and very curious.
Child-proofing your home will cut down on unnecessary clean-ups AND help protect the child from hurting himself.
As a mom, I know that you cannot put every single thing up and out of reach. Nor should you!
Contrary to what our society says, every little whim your child has, should not be met. They do need to learn the meaning of the word, “no”.
Balance here is important. For me, if I don’t want it broken, I put it up out of reach.
3. Be Creative
Be creative in directing your child’s energy, setting boundaries and being consistent. Being creative takes energy but it can be energy well spent.
Throwing tantrums is probably the most common characteristic of the terrible twos and shows that your child is learning to be his own person.
Many times, you can be creative and head a tantrum off at the pass.
Two year olds can be easily frustrated but they can also be easily distracted. Be creative in distracting your child when you see a tantrum coming on.
Here is an example of creativity: You know your child will want a snack when he wakes up from his nap. Having it ready and offering it when he wakes up can prevent a tantrum.
4. Change Expectations
Changing expectations as parents is another way of handling the terrible twos.
Much of how our children behave is the product of what we expect. If we expect the terrible twos, 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.
For me, this was a huge game changer! In fact, it was the start of a life long learning process for me and our children.
Don’t Accept the Social Norms – Terrible Twos Don’t Have to Be Terrible
Building a relationship with our children takes time and energy. But, speaking from experience, it is well worth the effort!
Raise your expectations and enjoy your toddler as he grows, develops and learns to be an adult.
I’m telling you, the rewards are many and they start now and continue on. My children range from 9 yrs old to 33 yrs old. Ech age and stage has its own challenges and rewards. And, each builds a deeper relationship.
It is time to stop accepting what our culture calls normal – the age of two is NOT a bad age.
Remember, your child (even at age two) is a gift to enjoy, nurture and can even teach you a lot about yourself.
Enjoy the time you have because as you look back, you will realize just how fast the twos are over.