Thoughts on the terrible twos

I am not going to say we are over the worst because with a toddler you never really know what the day may hold. We do, however, seem to be having a calmer time than we were a little while ago.

I have stopped trying to figure out what caused those rough two weeks – it was what it was and for now it is over.

I have often blogged about Kiara’s tantrums and how hard I found them and how long they went on for and they were draining for me, my parents and Cameron but I do think her situation was slightly different and once I realised what her triggers were I was able to manage them a lot better but Mr Jack didn’t seem to have triggers which made it so much harder!
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Every single parenting book out there has chapters on taming toddlers but the reality is, every single child is different, they each have their own currency, their own triggers and what may work on them today won’t always work tomorrow.

It’s a process of elimination and maybe you get lucky and the first thing works but maybe you have to read through 27 books and on the final chapter you will find the answer.

I have had 3 different experiences with all 3 kids. Cameron was the easiest, he got a smack or two and then the mere threat of that would change his behavior and even now when I count, I barely get to 3 and he has responded.

The only thing that works with Kiara is speaking her language which isn’t always easy. A smack does nothing for her, she would stand, fists clenched and stare me down when I tried smacking, she would take stars of her star chart herself, counting to 3 ended up counting to a million, time outs where great fun for her. Now that she is older it is a littler easier to deal with bad behavior but it is still a challenge some days.

I am still trying to figure out what Jack responds to. I am now trying ignoring him and it does seem to be getting him to stop the quickest but still 5 minutes of screaming feels like an eternity! photo(4)

There was recently a flurry of blogs and twitter debates about smacking and I am not going into that now but one thing that bugs me is the anti-smackers who maintain they don’t want to control their child through fear and I do agree with that BUT I also feel that a child needs to be controlled (within reason obviously). You don’t want to kill your child’s spirit but they MUST learn certain things – like manners, to not run into the car park, to not throw their plates off the table, to not break their toys, to listen when their parent speaks. I am not here to be my kids friend, I am here to prepare them for real life and there will be a time where our house is not a democracy and my way (and David’s way) is the way we move! Finished!

These stages are milestones and all about testing the boundaries, learning what is acceptable and not. It is not always easy but the easy option has far reaching consequences for your child later on when they have to join the world.

So my advice – find your child’s currency, learn their triggers and then do what works for you, your child and your family! And get a bottle of rescue because it is going to be a bumpy ride!!

How was TWO’s for you?

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13 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    12 August, 2013 / 1:03 pm

    Now you got me worried! She’s already quite clear on what she wants and she a few weeks away from 1.

  2. 12 August, 2013 / 1:17 pm

    K and I both gave good hidings when they were necessary. Me more often because K worked such long hours. I am still a firm believer of “spare the rod and spoil the child” and have seen to many “out of control” families through the years. Unfortunately reading even 27 books on childcare might not give you the answer. Then one day you look back and you marvel….they have actually grown up without getting killed, they are reasonably pleasant people to be around, they have impeccable manners….and then you know, you didn’t go that far wrong after all. xxx

  3. 12 August, 2013 / 1:31 pm

    I thought the two’s were hard until I got to the threes – oh heaven help me!!!! The tantrams don’t last as long but she is so much more strong willed. She was a very easy baby – VERY EASY! Until about 18 months…. then it all stated going pear shaped. She also does not respond to smacks (generally) but the ignore thing works best with her. She does not like to be ignored. The first time I did it she came back to me and said “mom I wee’d on the floor”(her form of defiance) I just kept ignoring her and she got very upset. She never did it again. The smacks, time outs, threats, making her clean it up etc had, had no effect up until that point. Now I just ignore and then change track or subject after a few minutes. Seems to be working (for now)

  4. 12 August, 2013 / 2:06 pm

    With my first I had to change tactics often, because everything seemed to work for a little while, and then it stopped working. I found it a lot more difficult to deal with than her 2 year old brother. His tantrums doesn’t bother me that much, and I tend to just ignore them. But my husband can’t stand the 2 year old’s tantrums, and thinks he is totally out of control. As a matter of fact my husbands tantrums seem to be worse than the 2 year olds.

    On smacking. I wish I was one of those parents that could calmly handle any situation, but I’m not, and I do smack. Our girl went through a stage where she kept on taking off away from the car. So I always had to be very vigilant and quick to catch her. She saw a bird being hit by a car, and was very very upset by that. Even went to inspect the ‘body’, and for a little while she stopped running into the street. Then one day we came out of a shop, and she refused to hold my hand. Then next moment she darted straight in front of a car. I grabbed her just in time, and gave her a really, really big hiding. That was the last time ever she did it. I might’ve broken her ‘running in front of car’ spirit, but I’m fine with that.

    Now I’m hoping the 2 year old never goes through that stage.

  5. 12 August, 2013 / 2:15 pm

    The two’s were at times extremely rough on me!

    I remember distinctly one day when Nicola was throwing a fit of epic proportions and I let her keep going outside on that while I took the food out of the oven. I was gone hardly a minute, but when i came back the neighbour was hanging over the wall trying to chat to her to find out if I was abusing her – she was screaming like someone was busy skinning her!

    That day I actually got advised to smack her more.

    I don’t know Laura, it’s like you say – they’re all different and you nevere know what’s going to work next until it does, even on one child. The rule of thumb I’ve had for smacking with Nicola is that when she gets physical, so do I…if she throws plates across the room, then I can promise you a time out is not what she’s looking at in the form of punishment, if she throws herself down on the floor head first, same thing. If she’s just screaming like a banshee, then I might give her a chance to get that out of her system before I try to talk to her. She can’t hear me above all that, so what’s the point in starting before she’s done.

    What really works well for us at the moment is when I put myself in a time-out. She can’t stand the thought of me having potential fun (or even peace and quiet) without her – it calms her down in no time flat…I still take my 5 minutes though, when I need it of course. 😉

    Good luck!

  6. 12 August, 2013 / 2:30 pm

    I have found it the easiest to deal with tantrums with a bit of humour! It works for our Little Missy! (Sometimes…)
    But we are still struggling with it at four and a half. I thought it would have been over, by now?

  7. 12 August, 2013 / 8:17 pm

    I really didn’t mind the twos at all. Except for that phase when Connor went off me (but that hurt my feelings, it wasn’t his behaviour so much)

    Now you know 3 is worse than 2, and 4 is worse than 3? And then I believe, 5 is the best age.

    I nearly peed my pants today fetching Connor because he refused to let me put his car seat belt on. And of course the car can’t move without that. Only problem is I had SUCH a big pee!

  8. 12 August, 2013 / 8:40 pm

    Snort. The twos were terrible. I think that we are still dealing with the leftovers of those twos and he’s nearly 6! I must say that Kiara reminds me of my Child2. I have a pretty good idea of triggers but it still feels like it’s not enough on some days. We are officially looking at getting help. Not sure how I feel about that.
    You are right though – the books don’t always have the answers – there is not a single book that I can recommend that really made my heart sing about Motherhood and kids. Except the Love Languages book.

  9. 13 August, 2013 / 12:53 pm

    I found the 3’s a lot worse than the 2’s 🙂
    Taeyah is 3, it’s challenging, it really is.
    She knows exactly what buttons to push and tries to push them every day , like a game.
    That said, you know I am “anti smacking”, my girls have never been smacked / hit / whatever ever you called it, however my children ARE disciplined, they are not out of control or unruly.
    I ignore, I use time outs, I use consequences, I do also sometimes shout – I am far from perfect.
    They are not the sit still and be quiet kinda kids, but I am ok with that.

  10. 13 August, 2013 / 4:23 pm

    You know, I’ve never raised a toddler ever so even though I have opinions, none of them really count until I walk in a toddler parent’s shoes, I suppose. What I can say is that this quote of yours is probably the best piece of advice I’ve ever read regarding parenting:

    “So my advice – find your child’s currency, learn their triggers and then do what works for you, your child and your family! And get a bottle of rescue because it is going to be a bumpy ride!!”

  11. Mrs FF
    13 August, 2013 / 4:29 pm

    Spare the rod and spoil the child, that is the motto my mom lived by and one which I plan to uphold. My SIL uses “dr do-good” her trusted wooden spoon for a spank on the bum and that puts her daughter on the straight and narrow (sometimes). She also found that time-out didn’t work because her daughter is an only child and is used to playing by herself anyway, so asking her to sit in a corner doing nothing is not really punishment in her books.

    Bottomline, you have to do what works for you and your family, there is unfortunately no one size fits all when it comes to parenting or life

  12. 14 August, 2013 / 12:38 pm

    Terrible two’s, continue to terrible three’s and now we still have some terrible four’s. Some days are marvelous and their good behaviour actually makes me suspicious. And other days still see tantrums flying left, right and centre. Sometimes a smack solves the problem, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I have the patience enough to ignore it, and sometimes I react so badly, you’d think I was the one with the tantrum! Parenting is hard , we do what we can!

  13. 28 August, 2013 / 10:24 pm

    That is so beautifully put! It is SO about learning your kids currency and for me my biggest learning has been recognising that the ginger has good and bad days like us all and that he’s entitled to his own opinion. (Within reason) the twos ( and he’s not even two yet) have been rough as my little guy has really asserted himself and also throws stuff, lies on the floor and generally just loses it sometimes for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. But we seem to be going thru a good patch as he is now able to express himself thru an increased vocab and a a result is less frustrated. Long may it last!

    Hang in there. Here’s hoping your learn get a grasp on Jacks currency soon soon 🙂

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