Google+ Authentic Parenting: Terrible Two's?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Terrible Two's?

Image: Sean Dreilinger on Flickr

When my daughter was younger, everytime I would comment about how easy she was and how she really didn't cause me trouble, people would answer: "wait until she's two."
I was confident my daughter wouldn't become terrible when she turned two. I had read article after article about opposition, tantrums and 'terrible two's', and knew that - with the right guidance - this too will pass smoothly.

My daughter turned two a couple of months ago. She had the phase of opposition when she was one, so that one got out of the way rather smoothly. It helps that we tried to minimize saying no to her, and that we did value her no's and not just dismiss them.
But now she's two, I really don't get what all the fuss is about.
I have to be honest, I think it only gets better with time. She's very cuddly and can express herself better, as she starts speaking entire sentences. She can now play on her own for long stretches of time. She understands when I have to do something important. Yes, she is slowly becoming independant, but that doesn't cause any issues.
She does have the occasional scream and cry. But most of the time that is a reaction to our parental inadequacy. A result of us - as parents - handling something in a way that is inappropriate for her age. Indeed, she will let us know loudly that we are wrong, that we should change our approach.But she was never easier or more fun.
I do not think that she spends more time crying or fussing then when she was a baby. Nor do oI think that she's more difficult to handle. I think that most parents just handle two-year olds the wrong way. I think where parents expect 'terrible' and such, they will indeed find it.

These cries and tantrums and oppossitions are just their way of expressing that they're growing up, their way to reject coercion, their way of telling you that they don't like the situation. We shouldn't try to change them or expect them to behave in a way that goes against their developmental stage. We should accept their growing independance and deal with it accordingly.

So as far as terrible two's go, I don't buy into it. Let's call them terrific two's and seek the fun and the enjoyment instead of seeing the occasional cry and calling it a 'terrible phase'.



  1. Great way of looking at the T-dance! My phrase for it!
    We try to work with it as well! If I can't distract my 20 month old, I try to give her a couple of options. That limits the foot-stomping. :D

  2. I've taught a lot of two year olds over the years - its my favorite age! :) You're right - with gentle guidance, twos can be terrific!

  3. Two was easy for us with my daughter. Three was a bit of a nightmare until I gained some more parenting tools.

    I try to always meet tantrums with empathy. Frankly, I do feel sorry for the little guys - it cannot be a pleasant experience to feel frustration, anger, etc and have no idea what is going on and no way to regulate it's effects on your body. Like an anxiety attack but worse...

  4. I'm with freelearners... two was wonderful for my son. Three is proving much more challenging, for him and for me! Freelearners, any advice you have on the changes during this time and how to manage my son's increasing defiance (intentional, rude, hurtful, etc.) would be wonderful... we're definitely open to suggestions over here! :)

    Mama -- I think you're dead on with not labeling any stage "Terrible"... what a rotten way to look at life! Negative labels certainly don't help us rise to the occasion -- they tend to encourage defeat....

  5. Two was easy peasy for us, it got more challenging as the months rolled on and now he's approaching three, it's hard work for both of us. His behaviour is more challenging but on the flip side, he is so much smarter, more aware, funnier... he's turning into a proper little human being with opinions and preferences, and that is totally worth any tantrums and freakouts he may have :)

  6. You have one child. I have 4 and can say every child is different. I thought my first two were difficult. Boy did i have no idea.


  8. I thought I was such an amazing mom with perfect parenting skills because my 1st child had no tantrums and sailed through age 2 a total peach. Parenting in the exact same style, I now have #2 child and I am seriously considering buying one of those harness things to try to contain her. She is a wild child, totally defiant and completely out of control. All of the positive parenting techniques in the world do not work on this one.

    Should I just let her run free in a busy parking lot because she is just asserting her independence? Should I let her take a flying leap off the back of the sofa and land on her head because it is inappropriate for her age for her to know better?

    I'm sorry but your post is so self-congratulating. Been there, done I know better.


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