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Terrible twos!?

All right, moms.. I need some SUPPORT! My DD is turning 3 in September and this so called "Terrible Twos" (that I never thought would surface) phase has taken over our household. I feel like the only words that come out of my mouth start with "Abigail Jean...", "no", "I said no!", or something along those lines and I feel horrible. DD cries and whines a lot and seems to do the exact opposite of what I have asked of her.. help. I'm feeling mean and overwhelmed.
How did you survive this phase?

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Asked by LishaBee at 7:53 PM on Jul. 10, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 14 (1,450 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • keep saying it wont last forever that's what i do lol . my boy takes screaming fits for " snack " and its so hard as his speech ant good and i don't know how much he takes in ! he smart and i know he is but as a mum i find it hard as that little boy was only a baby a little while ago . my toddler also a runner and i find it so hard as they find out how best to get away from you mines drops to the group when i'm holding onto he go's totally limp and i look like a mad women haling him back up screaming " robb put your feet down "


    Answer by feralkitten at 8:00 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • he will do it over and over it hurts my arm i think it cause i'm double jointed and he knows it hurts me and dose it till i let go then he runs but to anyone eals it looked like he just fell !! i have baby rain for him and he is ok on them but he broken the clip :(

    when i say he a runni dont mean he wants away from me he just likes to run and thinks it all a big game and yes he has ran onto a road and yes i do time him out or tell him off or but him in the double buggy


    Answer by feralkitten at 8:00 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • Ugh. My son is NOT QUITE two yet, and OH MY GOD if he's not got me ready to pull my hair out with screaming and tantrums!! Its awful. My older two were never near this bad! I think its cause daddy has him so darn spoiled....LOL

    Answer by mlmkjw at 8:36 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • I just tell them no, no , NO! Plus if my daughter, who just turned 3 2 weeks ago does something wrong, I put her in time out for 3 minutes, each minute for her age. I don't spank my kid at all.

    Answer by TashaStar81 at 8:51 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • Aww, it sounds like connection could help you (and would help her, too.) Can you possibly connect to her validity in the moment? As in, understand why she's doing whatever it is that is the problem right then? Or why she is really upset about whatever limit you set? If you can respond by connecting to that, and clearly communicating it to her, then you are less likely to trigger counter-resistance (which really is defensiveness) in her. It doesn't mean you give in or give up a limit because she is mad about it (if however you realize that it is arbitrary or unnecessary, of course you can acknowledge that--this is the concept behind the phrase "pick your battles"), it just means that you acknowledge & accept her frustration with it (her feelings about the limit.) Connecting to her validity (why her actions or behavior makes sense from her point of view) means you can validate the feelings & needs that motivate her problematic

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:41 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • (cont)
    behavior, rather than simply coming down on her behavior as wrong & needing to stop. When you focus on wrongness & behavior, you trigger defensiveness & resistance (because her validity is implicitly and often explicitly denied) and this actually reinforces the behavior & makes it more likely to be repeated, or at least escalates a power struggle. If you think in terms of what needs a person is trying to get met (i.e., see the behavior as a strategy motivated by needs or feelings such as frustration, defensiveness, sadness, anger), you can connect to the person before trying to correct or offer guidance. If the child knows the "right" way already, then connecting first can dissolve the NEED to correct or instruct, because once she's feeling more connected & understood, the bad feelings that prompted the behavior are resolved & she can do what she already knows (without being told.)
    It's seeing behavior as a signal of

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:00 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • (cont)
    something that is "off" for her--behavior as a symptom rather than a problem on its own.
    I don't know the sorts of things you are struggling over, but the goal of "Connect before correct" (by approaching all conflicts with validation & empathy, through connecting inside yourself to her validity in each situation, or understanding it as accurately as possible from her point of view) is a general rule of thumb that can improve toddler dynamics dramatically.
    Another way to limit whining & even avoid tantrums some of the time is to develop a habit of reflective listening. So instead of engaging the validity or not of a request/demand, and responding with yes or no, you respond by reflecting it instead. You reflect back the child's wish. When our answer is yes, there's usually no problem (duh!) but our "no" answers meet with protest. If we say Yes to the child, wish & request, regardless of our answer, we're validating them,

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:06 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

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    even when we can't or won't grant or accommodate a request. This can be really tricky, but I find that getting out of the habitual focus on CONTENT, the yes/no focus, means that I can validate my toddlers (I have 2 year old twins) no matter what, even when I am not giving or doing what they ask. This is not a "trick" to avoid feelings or upsets, since it makes sense that they'll be upset if they have to be frustrated in their wishes/needs/desires, but I have found that much of the time the issue doesn't even progress to the point of me GIVING a yes/no answer: the validation of their desire is sufficient! (This really blew my mind, in practice.) So much of my effort & energy used to go into kindly & sympathetically explaining why I couldn't do this or that, & they would get so upset (I didn't see this as validating myself & invalidating them, essentially explaining why they "shouldn't" be upset.) Embracing what they want

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:11 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • (cont)
    does the opposite! And this makes sense when you realize that so much of what a toddler wants is for someone to GET her....and so much of what they find frustrating is the feeling of being misunderstood & thwarted. So many of the times that I was gently trying to engage & explain, I was essentially struggling to persuade them not to want what they wanted after all. Acknowledging "You really want me to pick you up right now!" (reflecting their "Pick me up!" request/demand) gave me a way to validate them by reflecting, and to say YES to them by acknowledging & accepting their wish, even when I wasn't going to deliver (because of some logistical problem, usually.) My normal default might have been to explain how I was stirring some hot spattery food & it wouldn't be safe to hold him, or I needed both hands (draining pasta, etc.) but with reflecting, I'd "get" him instead: "It would be so fun to be up here so you could see!

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:15 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

  • (cont)
    If I picked you up, you could get a good look at everything I'm doing & you could know. Is that what would be fun? Is that what would be so interesting?" If he agrees ("Dat right, mama!"), I might narrate exactly what I'm doing/what the food is, & what he might get to do or see, what he's curious about. If he's making a request for a snack or more milk (and we're minutes from the table), rather than denying his request & explaining why, I just acknowledge how it makes sense & that he WANTS it, and maybe engage him about how good it will be ("when you have your burger & your milk, what do you think you'll do first? Take a drink of milk?") Really, whatever occurs to me, connecting to his reality fearlessly (I'm not afraid of them getting "more" upset because it's not personal, it's just feelings about a situation and they make sense! I can stay present with that & support him without feeling wrong or like it's a problem.)

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:20 PM on Jul. 10, 2011

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