The terrible twos are an infamous stage of parenthood that if you haven’t reached yet, you’ve most likely already heard about. It’s a stage characterized by temper tantrums and rebellious behavior. Regardless of how good of a parent you are, even the best of us find ourselves pulling our hair out during this period of a child’s life.
Not only can it be difficult to stay calm, but it can be a lot of work physically. From calling emergency plumbers because your child has flushed a toy down the toilet, to finding yourself cleaning up markers off the walls, here are some of the best tips for surviving the terrible twos.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during this period of their life is to allow yourself to be walked all over. Even though it’s a “small child,” that doesn’t mean they can’t understand boundaries. Let them know where the boundaries are, and stay consistent with them.
Children, toddlers, in particular, thrive on structure. Structure makes them feel secure and helps them predict their environment. If you consistently enforce the rules in a gentle yet firm way, they’ll start to learn the appropriate behavior that is expected of them.
It’s not always easy to stay calm, particularly when you’ve got a screaming child in your face. However, how can you expect your child to learn how to effectively manage their emotions as an adult if you provide poor examples?
Stay calm even in moments of extreme stress and they will start to mimic this behavior. Feeling frustrated is a normal reaction in life, however, acting out aggressively as a result of these feelings is not acceptable. Teach your child how to curb their emotions, and you’ll be giving them one of the greatest gifts possible.
One of the major characteristics of this age is that kids want to feel like they’re in charge. This is why they’re constantly testing out your patience as they assert themselves as “tiny dictators.” If you tell them they have to do something, then they’ll rebel more often than not. So, a great trick is empowering them with choices. Just make sure you give them two choices that end in the same result.
For example, rather than telling them it’s time to go to bed, ask them whether they would rather fly or jump to bed. When they feel like they have a choice in the matter, it will reduce your chances of a full-fledged breakdown, and make them feel more confident. After all, when you offer choices you give them a sense of independence and a say in the matter.
Not to mention, it’s a win-win since both options you’re giving them still benefit you as the parent.