I am currently the proud owner of TWO two year olds (yikes! I know...)
Like most of you with kids, I have heard the phrase “terrible twos”, one too many times. But is it really a thing? Do kids really change into little monsters when they turn two and magically change back when they turn three?
Many mothers I have spoken to have noticed their children becoming a little more difficult around that age. In my own experience, my oldest daughter never went through any phase at that age, she potty trained easily during that time, listened (in public), continued her exhausting sleep patterns, and we never really noticed any new behavior. On the other hand we did notice some new defying behaviors when she turned three, which happened to coincide with the birth of the twins. She was receiving less attention and her world forever ever changed with the addition for 2 new little sisters. She was helpful and never outright jealous of the babies, but did display new behaviors that seemed to be a subconscious cry for attention, which was understandable.
Fast-forward to this year, when my twin girls turned two in May. From the beginning they have always been loud and outgoing, complete opposites of my oldest daughter. They have been feisty from the moment they started developing and showing their personalities. They have developed very strong personalities over the past 2.3 years, which has definite positives and negatives. But they have always been consistent in their behaviors, just like my oldest daughter. Which is why I kind of disagree with the “terrible twos’ logic. Children’s personalities do not change around that age, but even further solidify. I believe many parents FEEL their child changes or becomes more difficult because children around the age two truly start to develop their vocabulary, and really learn the word “NO” and begin to use it....a LOT! Children at that age are learning how to express themselves, what they want and don't want, because they can finally have the vocabulary to do so. What was once expressed with whines and cries is now expressed with frequent “No” and “I want that!”. It may seem like you have a demanding little tyrant on your hands, but remember that your child might just be saying the things that they have always thought or wanted, but could not say.
Also with older age, comes more intelligence. Your child will now know it's time to sit at the table to eat breakfast, but also that if they don't like something, there is a whole fridge of other possibilities just in the kitchen. They will know where their shoes and jacket are when it's time to go outside, but will also know that turning left leads to the park and right in to grandma’s house. With this new intelligence comes testing limits and requesting things that they now know are possible.
Two year olds really do get a bad reputation, which is unjust since they are no more or less demanding then a four or five year old.
Every age has definite positives and negatives.
Below are some good articles I have found on dealing with the unique challenges that are facing parents of two year olds.
While the terrible twos can be difficult for parents and caregivers to navigate, keep in mind that 2-year-olds are undergoing major motor, intellectual, social and emotional changes. Their vocabularies are growing, they're eager to do things on their own, and they're beginning to discover that they're expected to follow certain rules. However, most 2-year-olds still aren't able to move as swiftly as they'd like, clearly communicate their needs or control their feelings.
Two-year-olds are opinionated. But so are sixteen-year-olds, five-year-olds, and nine-year-olds. Two-year-olds probably get the bad rap, then, because they have opinions without a shred of self-consciousness — they couldn’t care less if you’re in public when they decide it’s worth shrieking bloody murder to defend their principles.
To help you cope with this normal stage in your child's development, you should always remember that your child isn't trying to be defiant or rebellious on purpose. He is just trying to express his growing independence and doesn't have the language skills to easily express his needs. This can also be the reason why your toddler frequently gets frustrated and resorts to hitting, biting, and temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way.
What are your experiences with two year olds? Have you noticed any big changes in your toddler around that age?