Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Tips to Handle the Terrible Twos

  1. terrible twoI have a two-year-old and we are right in the middle of the “terrible twos.” I want to encourage her development but some days I feel like pulling out my hair! I need help with the frustration I feel.

There are so many rapid changes going on in the body of a toddler that it is as if they can’t keep up with themselves! One moment, they are loving and the next includes a terrible tantrum. Here are a few tips to help you deal with the volatility of the terrible twos.


  • Observe when and where the “terrible” occurs. If it is related to overstimulation, find a calm environment and consider doing less. When you can eliminate the tantrum triggers , do so.
  • Because of the need for attention, make sure you praise the positives and desired behaviors. This is often overlooked. The more you praise, the less you will need to deal with the negative. When a cycle of frustration intensifies, we often forget to catch them being good.
  • Ignore negative behavior unless safety is an issue. No reaction from you promotes powerful behavior change. You have to completely ignore or this strategy doesn’t work, but it is powerful when done correctly.
  • When she appears out of control, redirect her attention in a “time-in.” Bring her close to you and tell a story, read a book, sing a song, etc. This should calm her down.

Take a deep breath and remember the words of my mother-in-law, “This too shall pass.” This is a phase of development that will smooth out soon enough. Lots of patience, praise and realistic expectations will go a long way to calm both of you. And ask your husband for a break. Maybe you need to get out of the house, have coffee with a friend, window shop or walk through a park trail. A break leaves you refreshed and ready to re-engage. Mothers all over America survive the terrible twos and you will too!


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