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Two-year-olds are a handful. But so are children of many ages. However, two has been labeled the magical age of discontent. Below are a few generalizations about the terrible twos and the reasons they’re really not so terrible after all:

  • General truth about the terrible twos: Two-year-olds are opinionated.

Why it’s tough: Two-year-olds are opinionated. But so are sixteen-year-olds, five-year-olds, and nine-year-olds. Two-year-olds probably get the bad rap, then, because they have opinions without a shred of self-consciousness — they couldn’t care less if you’re in public when they decide it’s worth shrieking bloody murder to defend their principles.

Why it’s not so terrible: If you think about it, at least with two-year-olds, you know where you stand. They aren’t shy about letting you know what they want, which is more than you might get from a cagey teenager.

  • General truth about the terrible twos: Two-year-olds have flawed reasoning.

Why it’s tough: While two-year-olds can talk (either sort of, or completely, depending on the kid), their reasoning sometimes calls for a code breaker. You can argue with — or even disagree with — a coherent opinion. But a sobbing two-year-old sometimes doesn’t make any sense, and it’s difficult to calm someone down when you have no clear notion of what’s upsetting her.

Why it’s not so terrible: You can be pretty sure you’ll be able to outwit a two-year-old. So even if you’re not entirely clear about what’s troubling her, you have a great shot at distracting her. And, hey, when dealing with an opinionated two-year-old, you also have size on your side. You can always pick her up and remove her from a situation, which is something you can’t always do with a grade-schooler.

  • General truth about the terrible twos: Two-year-olds are slaves to their moods.

Why it’s tough: They’re hungry. Or tired. And in between, they’re often cranky. So are we, of course, but two-year-olds don’t have the ability to rise above it the way older people do. Sometimes their mental or physical gas tanks hit empty — and a two-year-old running on fumes is not a pretty sight.

Why it’s not so terrible: Fortunately, if you know this about two-year-olds, you can guard against meltdowns by being prepared with snacks and engaging toys, and by tackling errands (or activities) after your child has napped. With a little planning, you really can circumvent some ugly scenes.

  • General truth about the terrible twos: Two-year-olds have nothing better to do.

Why it’s tough: A snit that lasts all morning and makes everyone late is not a problem for a two-year-old. It’s not as if she’s got other plans for the day.

Why it’s not so terrible: If you tell someone you were late because you were managing a tantrum from your two-year-old, you will most likely be met with sympathy. This ready-made excuse for lateness can come in handy…even on days when your toddler isn’t to blame.

  • General truth about the terrible twos: It’s a state of mind.

Why it’s tough: The “terrible twos” can hit at 18 months or at 34 months. It’s less an age than a stage of development, so you may be dealing with it when you least expect it.

Why it’s not so terrible: Your child may breeze right by year two (or three) without making you think the word “terrible” especially if you make a point of focusing on (and savoring) the wonderful moments that undoubtedly mark the terrific twos.


Tips on how to deal with your two year old toddler effectively:

1. Behaviour is driven by Emotion: This is fundamental to everything, including understanding your toddler’s behaviour. Little kids don’t have the ability to use logic when doing most things, so they act purely from emotion. Keep this in mind when dealing with behaviour in toddlers.

2. We tend to overuse the word “No” when we talk to our kids: This causes problems with toddler behaviour. Behaviour problems in children can stem from this caveat. There are other ways to get information’s across to your child without yelling the word NO; it will definitely work better.

3. If you want to have any chance at all of influencing your toddler’s behaviour, you MUST have rapport first: This means having an emotional connection with your child.

4. Language is a powerful tool and there are a bunch of tactics you need to learn to create the outcomes you want: Use positive language instead of negative language when dealing with your toddler.

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