Seasoned parents, or even soon-to-be parents, immediately shudder at the phrase “terrible twos.” Growing up is a scary and awkward process—for both the parent and the child. Child Psychologist, Penelope Leach, Ph.D., notes in her article called Taming the Terrible Twos that “this toddler stage isn't just an awkward phase to be gotten through as fast as possible. It’s an important period in your child’s development.” Toddlers are faced with moving away from the baby stage, filled with wearing diapers, sleeping in a crib and drinking from a sippy cup. For parents, the arduous tasks of potty training, underwear purchasing and crib-to-bed converting now becomes a real thing, and it is not easy.
During age two, toddlers strive for more independence. They will test your limits. It becomes harder to get a toddler to do something, and power struggles occur often. Parents that have the most difficulty with toddlers, opined by Dr. Leach, “are those who get into power struggles and feel they have a moral right to win them. Most of the time, the harder you push, the more your toddler will resist and the more frustrated you’ll get.” Forcing a child to reach a goal will only make their early development more difficult. If you turn the deed into something positive and add a little fun to it, they'll want to get there with you.
Most (if not all) toddlers are going to have tantrums. For a variety of reasons, which as a parent may not make any sense, they will fight and scream until they get their way. According to Dr. Leach, “two-year-olds have always had a terrible reputation for delaying tactics, pickiness, and downright defiance.” A good way to help get past these outbursts involves empathy. Dr. Leach states that “if you want your toddler to understand something, you need to show her what you want as well as explain it.”
To the dismay of some parents, children can’t take leaps developmentally overnight. With any child, many changes occur during year two. It’s a difficult phase for both parties. On the flip side, it’s a whole lot of fun. The fact remains that not all children are the same. Some ease into it naturally, while others need a little more help. The “terrible twos” are a challenge. You're going to say "no" quite often. And, right around the corner is age three, which is just as daunting...and enjoyable.