Updated: Mar 8
The Good ‘Ol Terrible Two’s…
It’s the dreaded age that every parent has nightmares about. It’s the onset of pure toddler fuckery and it’s a lot.
The “terrible two’s” describe the developmental phase of new toddlers testing boundaries, and I mean testing. Once kids hit two it’s like they think they officially run shit. They immediately believe they are adults and they know best. It’s honestly hilarious to me.
These little pip squeaks just have all the attitude and determination to have things their way, and as much as I respect their little hustle, we can’t let them see us sweat and we can’t let them win!
When toddlers get to this phase, the tantrums start to ramp up. The word “no” is like a death sentence for them. It’s literally the end of the world.
I think for most new parents or parents who haven’t been around a lot of toddlers, the initial response is to quickly and firmly remind them who the parent is and enforce firm discipline.
While disciplining your children is great and necessary, tantrums are an emotional response caused by so many factors. Your response needs to cater to that in order to be effective and nurture healthy emotional development within these tiny humans.
To learn more about tantrums and how to turn around the “terrible two’s” and make them more like “tolerable two’s”, keep reading!
What’s the Deal with Tantrums?
Tantrums are a necessary evil. There’s no two ways about it. It is quite the exaggerated emotional response to not getting their way, and I mean… That’s beyond relatable. I get it. Shit sucks.
Beyond not getting what they want, when a child starts to feel “big” feelings, they are unable to figure out how to properly regulate and release. As adults we have learned how to manage our stress, frustration, and sadness, and honestly most of us don’t even handle these emotions in healthy ways either.
Since kids can’t have a glass of wine, tantrums are all they know how to do… So how do we assist in them feeling the feels?
Let me tell ya!
How to Help Make Tantrums Less Likely
There are ways that we can help reduce the likelihood of a tantrum occurring which is super beneficial for all parties involved.
For starters, try to reduce any stressors that could trigger an emotional reaction.
Naps are CRUCIAL. Try to keep to a strict sleep schedule.
Make sure they’re not hangry. Notice hunger cues and get those bodies fed!
Properly balance any stimuli. Reduce overstimulation and make sure they are not under-stimulated as well.
Try to find cues to emotions bubbling to the surface
Try to figure out triggers. If your kid hates Target, talk about it, and maybe go when someone is watching them. I don’t know what their deal is, Target is amazing, but I digress.
Make transitions smooth and routine. When it’s time to put a toy away or transition to doing something else, say “Goodbye ____ ! See you soon!”
Understand they are trying to be independent but they can’t be. Find ways to nurture this independence so they can feel like they are developing in a balanced way mentally and physically.
How to Properly Handle a Tantrum
Do: Remain calm! Do not get agitated, anxious, or emotional. These little creatures sense that and it only makes things worse. Stay calm and collected at all costs.
Do: Validate their feelings and acknowledge how they feel. Openly and compassionately discuss what’s going on and why they feel what they feel. Try to figure out what their needs are.
Do: Let it happen and wait it out. Be present and available for emotional and physical support, but let them release their emotions. Don’t bribe, don’t negotiate, just let it happen. If you’re in public and people are looking at you like you’re crazy, kindly say “mind your business” and continue being a dope, responsible, and emotionally supportive parent.
Do: Stand your ground. Establish the boundaries that caused the tantrum to begin with, but do so from a place of love.
Do: Discuss the tantrum calmly afterwards for a very, very short period of time. Help your child verbalize their feelings so the next time it can be shorter, or be avoided at all costs.
How Not to Properly Handle a Tantrum
Don’t: Raise your voice. This causes fear, embarrassment, and begins a long and detrimental process of your child being scared to feel feelings.
Don’t: Talk down to your child. We have to be more emotionally supportive and understand that regardless of what is causing a tantrum, manipulative or not, there is a need that isn’t being met. Instead of being brute about it, really try to figure out the underlying cause. Does your kid really want candy, or do they really want to feel special?
Don’t: Be inconsistent. Make sure you’re consistent in your approach each and every time. This allows boundaries to be clear and the learning process to be quicker. If your child knows they get away with something every once and awhile they will TRY YOU.
Don’t: Have good cop and bad cop. Make sure you and your partner and equal in both parts. This should be self-explanatory.
At the end of the day… Remember this too shall pass. It is a phase and it will be over sooner than later. Do the best you can to keep calm and carry on!
My Survival Guide List
Obviously beyond some good parenting advice, we need a list of items that will help you survive this stage. Girl, or Guy, I got you covered…
Minor Alcohol Consumption – I don’t promote excessive drinking, at all, but sometimes a glass of wine or a cute little Pinterest cocktail is seriously, seriously needed. Look, no shame or judgement. This is a judgement-free zone, ya heard?! So, get yourself a wine club membership, be a loyal member to Total Wines, BevMo, Whatevaaa!
Friends – Make sure you have a good parent support group of friends. You all need to create a group chat and just talk shit about your kids to one another. This is not being a bad parent, this is called being human. It’s not your fault toddlers are little punks.
Workout – I took up boxing because punching things makes me feel strong but also a lot better mentally. Find your outlet and run wild. Maybe you’re less violent and you prefer yoga. Whatever your thang is, do it and do it often.
Snacks – Being a parent is like working out 24/7. You need replenishment. Make sure you have your favorite snacks available to you at all times. Why do you think kids go crazy for snack time? It’s awesome, that’s why.
Be Kind to Yourself – You are doing the best you can. Some days are complete shit shows, other days are fantastic. It’s part and parcel to this game of parenting. Just be kind and gentle with yourself.
How do you manage this phase of chaperoning? Let us know in the comments!
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