Terrible Twos: What it is and how to deal with it

Terrible Twos, derived from English, is a common term used to describe a certain stage in the development of young children, usually around the age of two. This is a normal stage in young children's development where they begin to assert themselves and test boundaries, they may also exhibit challenging behaviours and assert their independence more strongly.

While this can be a challenging time for parents, there are some ways that can help you cope effectively:

Set clear and consistent boundaries

Establishing clear rules and expectations helps young children understand what is acceptable behaviour. Be consistent in enforcing these boundaries and explain the rules in simple and age-appropriate language, such as rewarding them with praise and rewards for good behaviour.

Giving choices

Where possible, giving young children limited choices at this stage gives them a sense of control. For example, asking them to choose between two clothing options or two food options gives them a sense of control and reduces the possibility of conflicts.

Divert attention

When toddlers exhibit negative behaviour, divert their attention to something more appropriate, provide other activities or toys that capture their interest, thereby distracting them from saying “no” to parents.

Provide opportunities for physical activity

Young children have a lot of energy that needs to be channelled positively, and providing opportunities for them to run, jump, and play outside can help release their energy and promote better positive behaviour.

Use positive disciplinary techniques

Instead of harsh punishments or yelling, use positive discipline techniques. Let them calm down for a while, create space for them to reflect on their previous behaviour, and tell them, in a gentle but firm tone, what parents expect from them in the process.

Provide opportunities to be independent

Young children crave independence, so give them opportunities to make simple decisions. Like letting them choose their own clothes, or allowing them to help with simple tasks like setting the table. This helps develop their sense of autonomy and reduces feelings of frustration.

Seek help

Remember that you are not alone in coping with the "Terrible Twos", seek advice, encouragement and understanding from family or friends. Share your experience with parents who have gone through this phase, or are currently going through it, and they can provide great insight and support.

The "Terrible Twos" are only a temporary phase, and with time, patience, and consistent parenting, your toddler will gradually develop better emotional control and communication skills. Most importantly, don't be discouraged, creating a loving and supportive environment with your child will promote healthy growth and development as well as positive mental health.

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