Ollie turned 3 last Monday and I’m brave enough to say this even though I will possibly get trolled over it… we escaped the terrible twos! At no point over the past year have I felt victim to the terrible twos and I predict that I won’t experience the threenager either.
I’m not going to sit here and claim my toddler never had a strop, pretty much every time he had to leave Nanny’s he had a strop. Every time he saw a cake in a shop and I didn’t buy it he had a meltdown. But terrible twos? No.
The reason my child escaped this apparent fate is simple… my attitude.
Remember when you were a teenager (girls) if you were in a mood all the boys in school would instantly say “it’s her time of the month!” No, you’re a twat and you stole my pen. I was using it, it is mine and you think it’s ok to take it. I’m not in a strop because my uterus is emptying out I’m in a strop because you’re a knob. Don’t dismiss my feelings because I may or may not be experiencing a normal bodily function.
And then when you’re pregnant if you dare to get worked up its “hormones”. No, I’m having a rant because I don’t like bad customer service. This strop would be taking place regardless of the size of my belly. I’m having a rant because I’m pissed off not because I’m growing a baby. Again, don’t dismiss my feelings because you think there is a biological explanation for what, being unreasonable? Are we not allowed to express feelings regardless of our body’s chemistry?
You’ve survived periods, survived pregnancy and then you’ve had a baby and you make the foolish choice to allow yourself to cry and instantly everyone is whispering about you, “it’s the baby blues.” NO! I always cry at Simba approaching Mufasa telling him “we gotta go home” I’ve been crying at that since I was 10 years old it’s sod all to do giving birth. Stop dismissing feelings and giving them a label because of a normal biological event!
So, when Ollie has had a meltdown over the past year, at no point has terrible twos crossed my mind. I hate this idea that we can just dismiss a child’s feelings because of their age. I’m sorry if this hits a nerve but it’s not ok to justify a stroppy toddler with “terrible twos” It’s ok random members of the public in Asda, you can stop looking at my child because he is two so now you all understand this behaviour yes?
No! He’s not having a strop because he’s two, he’s having a strop because he’s learning about the world and understands that he loves cakes but doesn’t understand that he can’t just take one off the shelf and eat it. That’s why he has me. To teach him that yes we like cake but we need to put it in the trolley and wait and eat it later. Delayed gratification is an important developmental milestone. Dismissing feelings isn’t part of their development!
If I just pick him up and drag him out calling him naughty I’ve taught him nothing. I won’t prevent another cake strop. I’ll just make life more stressful for myself because my attitude is wrong.
Rule number one: don’t give a stuff what anyone else thinks. When a strop erupts focus on the kid, not the beady eyes of judgemental idiots. I just look at Ollie and talk to him.
Rule number two: hug your kid. I’ve learnt that this teaches Ollie that I care and I’m actually bothered about his feelings. Even if he’s having a major meltdown I just hug him and when he calms down I’ll say something along the lines of “it is ok to be sad because we do really like cake but we can’t just eat it all day long!”
Never would I just think pfffttt can’t wait for him to be three to get over this stage. Yes technically it is a developmental stage but not in the way people make it, your kid isn’t stroppy because they’re two, there is another reason behind it. It will be much easier to deal with if you don’t label their feelings and try to justify their emotions with an age.
If your child gets difficult around the age of two, it’s not because they’re two. It’s because two is the age where they understand more but are learning how to express their feelings. Don’t label them and dismiss them. Look for the reason behind the strop. Is he hungry and that’s why he wants cake or does he just really like cake.
Is he sad to leave Nanny’s because he just really likes Nanny or does he feel safe there because Mommy and Daddy keep going to work and he doesn’t know who will be looking after him, Nanny is a safe bet because she stays at home with him. Ollie stopped having Nanny strops when I was on maternity leave, we think he learnt that he was going home with me and I was staying home so he felt safe to leave. Toddlers can’t express that depth of emotion, so they have a meltdown. He’s not naughty and it’s not just because he’s two, it’s because he’s a little person with real feelings and emotions.
So yes, I am brave enough to say I have not experienced the terrible twos. I’ve experienced a little boy growing up and beginning to understand emotions and reasoning and I’d like to think that as a result of being understanding and listening to him, I’ve reduced the strops because he knows he can communicate with me and I won’t just get embarrassed and drag him out of public places.
Bring on the ‘threenage’ years!
I’m going to link up with some linkys as I’m so out of touch with blogging lately!