What Exactly Are the Terrible Twos?

What Exactly Are the Terrible Twos?

By Chris Thompson

Whoever coined the phrase, “terrible two’s” was smart enough to recognize that such is a phase in a child’s development. It is normal.

When the child screams, stamps his foot, flails his arms, babbles and slumps to the floor, he is throwing a tantrum.

It is normal for the parent to be confused and annoyed by such behavior.

Temper tantrums are emotional outbursts that happen frequently, and there are reasons for such to occur.

The child may be angry that a parent is not around when he wakes up. Or he may not like it that the parent is asking too many questions like, “Are you hungry?”

Psychiatrists tell parents that temper tantrums help the child express himself. And that in time, this will eventually lead to physical and emotional growth.

So, when parents understand such actions are normal—a part of development—the parents should then need to face reality, and know how to deal with them.

Here are a few tips to help parents deal with a child’s temper tantrums:

  1. Understand the problem. Sometimes knowing what caused the tantrum may actually help you prevent it later on.
  2. Address the problem with patience. This is not a race between you and your child. So, at this point, don’t lose your patience. It can lead you to shouting at your child. And that can work to extend the tantrum.
  3. When the child has calmed down, talk to him. As thoughtful questions to understand what he really wanted. Coach him on how to ask for things in a way that you will respond to. Train him to understand you don’t respond to screaming. You respond to polite requests.
  4. Distract him with another activity, toy, or through good old fashioned conversation. Play with him or stay with him until he is his usual self again.
  5. Be firm and keep your cool.

Every parent must remember that accepting tantrums as normal actually gives him or her a better chance at success in handling it.
Tantrums come and they will also go, what is important is for your child at this stage to learn how to express the feelings he has inside. It’s healthy.

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For further reading, you might want to check out Effective Alternatives to Threats When Talking to Children and Using a Story to Get Past a Sibling Fight.

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