How to deal with the Terrible Two’s

How to deal with the Terrible Two’s

Every parent knows that at some point, their lovely little toddler will hit the point when they will push their boundaries.  The terrible two’s is something you quietly dread.  Oliver hit this point at around 18 months, and slowly and surely he’s tested the boundaries we have put in place.   Recently he’s ramped it up a gear and has thrown huge tantrums, starting physically hitting out and just shouted no at everything he doesn’t want to do.

Throughout the past 6 months I have learnt what does and doesn’t work.  I know that his strops, tantrums and sometimes aggressive behaviour are all a way of him processing what he doesn’t understand.  He’s not being ‘naughty’ he’s learning boundaries and what behaviours are and aren’t acceptable.  I can tell that 99% of the time it is due to frustration because he can’t get his point across.  Oliver still can’t tell me what he wants, the words he does say are very limited, so it is immensely frustrating for him when he doesn’t understand or can’t tell me what he wants.  So I thought I would share some of my tips and tricks.  Obviously every child is different and all children respond differently to these.

Don’t just say ‘no’

Oliver seems to get more worked up when I just tell him ‘no’.  I have worked out that if I say ‘don’t do that, you’ll break it/you’ll hurt yourself etc. he is a lot more likely to stop whatever he is doing that he shouldn’t.  Quite often if I do end up saying no, I will follow it up with why he shouldn’t do what he is doing.  This has a much better response than if I just say no.

Give them a choice

Oliver hates wearing a hat or his hood up, however when it’s cold, wet or windy, he often needs something to protect his head.  If he throws a strop because he doesn’t want to wear whatever it is I’m trying to get him to, I will give him the option of lets say hood or hat.  He responds a lot better to this.  It doesn’t always work, but it definitely works a lot better than trying to get him to do what he doesn’t want to.

Sometimes they just need a cuddle

More times than not now when Oliver gets himself worked up and lashes out, he usually scares himself.  This usually results in him welling up or starting to cry.  These times I always offer him a cuddle, and he usually goes straight for that option and will sit on my lap cuddling until he calms down.  It can be really scary for them to feel so out of control, so to show them that you are there to help can really reassure them.

Offer a distraction

Sometimes distraction is the only way to calm Oliver down or stop him from doing something.  I’ve learnt that some behaviours are down to him just being hungry.  If I offer him a snack when he’s doing something he shouldn’t, he will quite often stop it for food.  A bowl of strawberries, raspberries or a bit of cereal resolve most of our problems!  Other times, if he I having a tantrum I will offer him a distraction, like ‘if you stop doing that then we can do some colouring/have a cuddle’ sometimes he goes for it, sometimes he doesn’t but it’s always worth trying!

Praise the good behaviour

Children want to please you, and whenever you say well done, you’ve done so well, they respond so much better.  Even if it’s a little win for you, praise it.  Oliver hates getting in the car seat, it almost always results in him screaming eat me.  But 1 time in 10 he will sit nicely and let him strap him in.  Every time he does this I make sure I praise him, sometimes I over praise because I want him to know that that behaviour is what I want.  He is always really pleased when he receives praise from us, and slowly but surely I think it is changing the way he behaves.

What’s worked for your child when they’ve had a tantrum?  I would love to hear!

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  1. March 23, 2018 / 10:47 pm

    Oh the terrible twos! I remember them well and still have nightmares about them!!! We are currently nearing the end of the threenanger year! Joy!

    • March 25, 2018 / 8:56 pm

      Haha! Oh no, I really don’t look forward to the threenager period!

  2. March 27, 2018 / 8:47 am

    These are great tips – I remember that stage so well. I think it’s all about working out what does and doesn’t work for your child. For Max, he would just get so angry that there was no reasoning, and he’s never been one for choices – he always got anxious about making the wrong one! He just needed to get it all out of his system, so the best option for us was to ignore, and just keep checking in on him occasionally to ask if he was ready to sit down and have a cuddle (he always needed a cuddle after!) It’s so hard when they can’t express what they want, and I think we found 3 even harder, when he didn’t even know what he wanted and it was all about managing the big emotions. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  3. March 27, 2018 / 10:36 am

    Great advice. I got off lightly with the terrible two’s the first time around and it was a shock to the system with my youngest. Once I worked out how to handle her, it was a lot easier and we didn’t have as many. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  4. March 29, 2018 / 8:08 am

    Great tips. to be honest with both my older girls I actually found the ‘threenager’ years were worse (sorry) and the twos weren’t actually that terrible. saying that though my youngest (nearly 11 months) is a total monkey already so I fear I may be needing your tips very soon!!! #SharingtheBlogLove

  5. March 29, 2018 / 2:28 pm

    Our little one will be one and a half soon and I am trying to remind myself of these techniques every day! Fabulous post and I’m hoping these work well for us!

  6. March 30, 2018 / 6:49 pm

    These are some fab tips lovely! I have noticed Ben is really adamant about feeding himself at all times now and really knows what he wants and doesnt care if he isnt allowed to. I try to bend down to his level to explain it to him which I think is helpful but right now getting back up is an issue hahah! #sharingthebloglove

  7. April 2, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    Zach turns 2 next week and is already getting in plenty of practice as a terrible 2! Thanks for the tips! #sharingthebloglove

  8. April 3, 2018 / 11:10 pm

    Some great tips here – two is hard, and full of frustration. My littlest is two and 7 months, and life has got a lot easier now he can talk a lot more. We still get tantrums sometimes though, and I’m find a cuddle usually works too. #SharingTheBlogLove

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