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For some, the “Terrible Twos” don’t hit until they actually turn two years of age. For my kids, they always start a bit earlier than that. Molly officially turns 18 months today and she’s been “terrible” for the past month. When Emily was born in July, I had a fear that Molly would get jealous and just be horrible for us, but it was the total opposite. Molly loved Emily and she took her role as a big sister pretty well. She adjusted great and has been a pleasure to be around – that is, until just recently. Molly now screams and cries every 5 minutes for things. She fights with her older sister, Ruby, over every toy and every crayon. She wants to climb things and use the scissors and color on the walls. Basically, she does everything you tell her she can’t do. That mom with the screaming kid in her arms at the checkout lanes inside Target- that mom is me and it’s happened more than I imagined with my sweet Molly. That’s why I, as much as I love shopping at Target, I had to get a Shipt membership. It has been really convenient and truthfully, a lifesaver and time saver but, I still miss shopping. Anyway, back to my Molly… the other week I came across a quote that changed my outlook on what we refer to as “the terrible twos”. The quote was,
This quote helped me change my mindset about the terrible twos and I saw the change in Molly almost instantaneously once I started to change how I spoke to her.
It’s just human nature to get frustrated at your kid when they can’t tell you why they’re freaking out. And I can only imagine how much more frustrating it is for them to not be able to tell us. So when Molly was screaming at me while I was sitting on the sofa nursing Emily, I realized that she wanted me to get up and get a marker off the dining table for her that she couldn’t reach. That was it. And I realized she was screaming at me because that’s what I did to her a couple of times when I was frustrated at her behavior. You see… kids aren’t really good at listening but they sure are good at imitating their parents. So now when she starts acting up, I stop what I’m doing and give her my full attention. I look her in the eyes and I ask her calmly what she wants. If she can’t say it, I ask her to show me. She immediately stops her tantrums and follows my directions. If it’s something she can’t play with or can’t have, I calmly tell her no and tell her why, then I give her something she can have. I distract her from it. It works 90% of the time. The other 10% when it doesn’t work, I let her have her moment and the moment becomes shorter and shorter each time she realizes she can’t have it.
It’s such a simple solution yet, sometimes we fail to see them as they are- just little people testing boundaries. What if people labeled all mothers as terrible for their mistakes along their journey of motherhood? I often find myself falling down and making mistakes every day. That doesn’t mean I’m a terrible mom. So we should stop using the term, “terrible twos” because they’re really just learning about the world they live in. The tantrums, crying, and whining… those are just all signs of a healthy developing child. And I am thankful for that.