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Learning Tip: Terrible Twos?

Have you been warned about the “terrible twos?” Don’t believe it. What is really happening is quite remarkable. Your child has now become aware that he can have opinions, desires, a say in some matters, dislikes, likes and a sense of rights (as in “I have a right to be upset or happy right now!”). While this can be disconcerting, it also is a sign that your child is maturing and developing in some quite amazing ways.

What tends to cause at least some of the frustration (that right to “be upset”) for two-year-olds is when they think they know what they want and either can’t have it or can’t express themselves. But you can help! The more you talk with your child (not at him), the more he internalises that talk. If you talk about when he is frustrated and what to do about it, it becomes easier to deal with on his own because he has internalised those simple problem-solving steps and ideas that you’ve talked about (think, “As soon as we finish changing your nappy, then we can go outside. If you help me put your pants back on, we’ll be ready to go!”). Soon you’ll be hearing your child say, “Trousers on, trousers on!” You can also use role-play with your child's toys to help him deal with his frustrations.

Giving children choices usually helps with the “can’t haves.” If your child cannot have something, offer two positive alternatives. Children feel empowered by choices and their ability to express themselves