Monday, February 21, 2011

Making the terrible twos terrific

No other phase of childhood is so misunderstood, misnamed or mistakenly maligned as the notorious “terrible twos’. To begin with, the behavior patterns that distinguish this period are not restricted to two year olds, being found in children from the age of 18 months or even younger, right up into the preschool years. This is evidently displayed by this photograph next to this heading. The behavior of a child at this stage of development hardly deserves to be termed terrible, however irrepressible, unpredictable and, at times, even unlikable it may be.
In fact, for parents who understand what lies behind their child’s erratic actions, the so called “terrible twos” may be viewed as a kind of birth – the birth of an independent social being. The child enters this stage a baby, so totally dependent for every physical and psychological need that she is practically an extension of her parents. Within the year or so, she emerges as a separate person, capable of making decisions, asserting her will and, relatively speaking, taking care of herself.
To guide a youngster through these remarkable terrible twos terrific transformation is a moving and memorable experience, if often an exhausting one. As these pictures indicates, a child of two or thereabouts sets a dizzyingly fast pace of instantly changing moods, intermingling enthusiastic bursts of activity with quiet withdrawal, sweet compliance with stubborn negativism, joyful interest with tired or angry tears.
By watching closely to learn what causes such the terrible twos terrific emotional swings in your child, you can take steps to ease the struggle for independence, help build her confidence and ensure that the happy times predominate. In addition to insight, you will need a healthy portion of patience, a firm will and if he is typical, a great deal of stamina and a comforting pair of arms.