I know that the “Terrible Two’s” might be a myth but lately, I think they are slowly but surely creeping into my house! My 19 month old daughter (who is 19 months acting like she is 19 years) has figured out that
A) She can say no, and mean it
B) She can cry. Loudly.
I did not experience this with my son. He didn’t get an attitude until almost 3yrs old so I was for sure that the terrible 2’s would not happen to me. WRONG!
But let’s think about it for a minute. Who are the terrible two’s really terrible for? It isn’t the child, it’s the parent.
At this age kids are on the brink of a huge learning curve. They find a voice, they learn new words, they begin communicating in sentences. Concepts start making sense, instructions begin to be followed and independence first shows its face.
We don’t call it the Terrible Two’s because our child is terrible. We call it that because it is such a fast change that our parenting skills can’t keep up!
Now, I’m no expert but I’ve been thinking about my daughter and trying to figure out what I can do, as the parent, to make the transition just a little smoother. So here are some ideas…maybe they will work for you, maybe they won’t but I want to challenge you to consider how to parent a toddler well as they embark on Age 2!
Give 2 Choices: My daughter now understands “yes” and “no”. I am going to start using that to my advantage. I will present her with two options and let her choose. For example, I will pull out the wheat crackers and the round crackers and let her choose one. By doing this I hope to encourage a healthy sense of independence.
Discipline: It’s time. My daughter knows when I give a directive what it means (most of the time). It is time that I begin to hold her accountable for her actions. I’m not a discipline magician but we will start with one warning. If the warning is disobeyed she will be removed from the situation and have a 2 minute time out. We haven’t discussed next steps for her after this but we will start slow and see what works and what doesn’t for her. By doing this I hope to provide a simple understanding of right and wrong choices and the consequence of wrong choices.
Grace: I need to set realistic expectations (we talked about this last week). My daughter is 20 months old, she is not my 3yr old and she is not the big kid she thinks she is. It is my responsibility as the parent to provide a place where grace is key. Grace that loves, hopes and perseveres regardless of our current struggle. But also a grace that speaks and acts wisely. By doing this I hope to keep my own patience in check and model for my daughter what it means to extend grace to others, even in frustrating circumstance.
Every child is different and so is every parent. Let us love our children as we are loved, unconditionally.
If you are in the “terrible two’s” think of one thing YOU can do to make this phase of transition and learning better for your child.
If you are past the “terrible two’s” please share with us in the comments what you did and what you suggest we do as parents to love our children and model for them right behaviors.