Tuesday, March 13, 2012

5 Signs That The Terrible Twos Have Arrived

Everyone is aware of the stage of development between eighteen and thirty-six months of age when a child begins to push their boundaries and test their limits.  Most parents go with the nickname "Terrible Twos".  But some parents, especially first time parents, are so glazed over with love and adoration for their precious baby that they don't even realize that the Terrible Twos have arrived.  When they do, it's usually when their child is melting down in the middle of the grocery store and all they can do is grab a bag of cheese puffs off of the shelf and start eating away their pain.  I could be an innocent bystander and chuckle in the next aisle over when I hear your kid melting down, but I'm generally a nice guy, so I am going to give you five sure-fire ways to tell if your child is going through the Terrible Twos.  That way, you will be able to seek out some good advice for how to handle your cute little ticking time bomb.

1. The word "NO" becomes the only word she knows.

You may not even realize it, but your child already knows how to say "No."  How do they know?  You already taught them.  When they realize that they have the ability to vocalize that same word back at you, you know you are close to hitting the Terrible Twos.  Suddenly, the most routine activities are met with the utmost displeasure.  "Let's get up." "NOOOOO!" "Let's change that diaper." "NOOOOO!" "Let's eat waffles." "NOO - waffles? OKAY!"  It can literally drive you crazy or at least drive you to drink.  Which brings me to number two.

2. Stress-related consumption is out of control.

Welcome to your new normal.  For the next six months to a year (or more!), you will be consuming adult beverages, coffee, cigarettes, junk food, or whatever your vice is at a much higher rate than what was previously considered "normal" for you.  This is most likely due to stress.  Try to remain calm and get some good parenting help for dealing with tantrums.  This will really help you manage the stress, and that will help you keep down the cost of your vice grocery bill.  Ask your friends and parents for advice.  Do a Google search for how to deal with tantrums.  There is no shortage of parent bloggers who think they are experts.  Try it all; something is bound to work.

3. You find yourself alone with your child on the weekend.

If you are married to an at-home parent that cares for your child while you work during the week and you find yourself alone with your child on the weekends because your partner is suddenly volunteering to do all of the  errands, you could be getting close to the Terrible Twos or a trial separation.  If your partner is leaving because the child is stressing him or her out and they just need a few minutes of fresh air away from any children, that's the Terrible Twos.  If your partner isn't talking to you, and rolls their eyes a lot, that is NOT the Terrible Twos, and you should get some marital counseling.

Okay, now that we've cleared that up, let's talk about division of labor during the Terrible Twos.  An at-home parent needs time away from parenting too.  Do you hear that working moms and dads?  Yes, we love what we do, but we also need a break every now and then to communicate with rational people.  Toddlers are not rational.  The same thing goes for you at-home parents.  Just because your working partner is home does not mean you are off the hook.  You must be available to assist.  Your partner does not handle these meltdowns every day like you do.  My wife (who works during the week) was caring for our daughter while I had a particularly busy weekend.  Sunday came around, and we talked about what to do for lunch after church.  I said, "Do you want me to stop and pick up some rolls so I can grill hot dogs?"  No lie, she looked at me in all seriousness and said, "I will get the rolls. I'm going to the store.  Don't take that from me!"  She's great with our daughter, but everyone needs a break eventually.  Know your partner's limits and be prepared to step in.

4. You begin to purchase food for its bargaining power

Gummy bears go a long way with a screaming toddler.  I won't lie.  When I see the healthy brand of gummies on sale, my heart flutters a little bit.  I realize that I could successfully negotiate my way out of a dozen tantrums with a fresh box of gummies.  If you are counting food as currency with your child, you know you have reached the Terrible Twos.  By the way, bargaining with food is a terrible parenting strategy, and should only be used in emergency situations.

5. Your child puts YOU in time out.  

On Sunday, my wife and I woke the little one up from her nap and tried to get her dressed to go outside.  She was very excited to go outside, so she was cooperative.  After mommy got her changed and dressed, they started walking out of the room.  I began to follow behind them, but my daughter looked back and said, "NO! You stay here."  Mommy asked her, "Can Daddy come outside with us?"  "NO!  Stay in my room."  I was being put in timeout.  So, they started walking down the stairs, and I followed behind them a bit, not willing to accept my punishment.  My daughter heard me walking and she looked over he shoulder and gave me "the look" and said, "NO, Daddy, you stay!"  Hey, I thought I was in charge?

What are some other tell-tale signs that the Terrible Twos have arrived?  What horror stories do you have to share with us rookie parents?


  1. Replies
    1. What will happen at 3?

  2. Really interesting! I wonder if there is any mother/parent who thinks that the Terrible Twos can cause the child to refuse to eat. My 26 months old boy used to eat a lot and now it seems like nothing catches his attention when it comes to eat. He is not so social now As he used to be and wants me to hold him a lot! It has been difficult for him to stay in his Gymboree music class. In the house he will cry for no reason sometimes and be happy the next second. I have been the only person taking care of him, my husband plays with him when he is at home and actually he acts better for him bur still he wouldn't eat a lot. Please, when is this stage going to be over?

  3. My daughter has just turned 2, she's having proper bad tantrums like chucking herself around the place just because I said no to sweets because i put her dinner infront of her she chucked her dinner across the room she is my first child but not eating is putting stress on me instead of making her eat in the end i just put the dinner on the table and she goes and eats it when she feels like it whether its cold or not at Least she eats it in time. It's time consuming as its little bites here and there. when shes not having tantrums she is a loving child always gives kisses and cuddles.

  4. my son just turned 3 and i am about ready to kill myself :(

  5. Dee, I sincerely hope that you said this in a joking way. Don't hesitate to get help if you are at your wit's end. I'm not an expert, but you can always email me with questions, and I can maybe get you connected with resources in your area. I wish you the best of luck with your three year old!



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