Toddlers: 24 Months+

Understanding your 2 year old's needs stops the Terrible Twos

I hated to say it but I was suffering from the "Terrible Twos". Then I read a great article that got me thinking very differently. CLICK HERE to read it too.You've really got to read it all but the line that summed it up was "Once you understand that the “Terrible Twos” are caused by needs and not “bratty spoiled behavior”, no more “Terrible Twos” ".

I know there are lots of articles, even books, that discuss the Terrible Twos, but this article was the first that really worked for me. Real concrete advice that makes sense. I posted the link on top so take a look

Re: Understanding your 2 year old's needs stops the Terrible Twos

  • The thing is though, sometimes a two year old's idea of "needing" something isn't a real need. So, your kiddo is going to be upset figuring out that the world doesn't revolve around their every desire. 
    (And I'm on mobile so I can't access your link. Maybe it deals with that side of being a two year old as well.  I just get really annoyed at articles that claim to "fix" perfectly ordinary developmental stages that don't need fixing.) 
  • "sometimes a two year old's idea of "needing" something isn't a real need" - That was exactly the point of the article. You right away feed your crying infant who "needs" to eat because that makes sense to us. But 2 year olds has different "needs" than infants and also different needs than grownups because everything is new to them and their whole "system" is immature. I can sit and read a book for hours. A 2 year old can't sit and do anything for even 10 minutes. They have different "needs" than grown-ups. They need to explore.They need to run and jump. They need to have quiet time... And they're too young to understand the difference between in an hour or next year.

    The idea of the article wasn't to give them their "every desire" but to recognize the "need" that is causing them to act that way and find an alternative that will meet their need.
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  • Joan89Joan89 member
    edited March 2016
    Thanks for sharing that article Beth. It really gives a different outlook on these "terrible Twos" - I always thought my son yells cause he WANTS (don't we all?). Now I'm going to try to think of it as NEEDS (I may end up buying that trampoline to give me peace and quiet  ;) )
  • I didn't mean to offend or upset you. Nine times out of ten if my girl is having a meltdown it is either because I've told her she can't do something dangerous (have a bite of the raw chicken that I'm cooking for dinner, for example) or because I've stopped her from hurting someone else (trying to bite her 4mo little sister, for example.). To me, these are non-negotiable things, and it is better that she is mad at me than that she hurts herself of her sister. So, I guess I'm looking at it from the perspective of my kiddo, while not all kiddos are the same. 
  • I really like the article. It's simply logical. Karen isn't my first 2 year old so I really understand how 2 year olds get so frustrated and act up. It would be great if I could get myself to stop and identify the need that's making her act that way and find a way to offer an alternative activity. Sometimes she just gets so worked up that I grab her from behind and just hug her till she calms down. That hug helps her get control of herself but finding an activity to meet her need (like the article says) would be a better idea since it would teach her how to meet her needs in an acceptable way. I'm going to work on myself to try some of it's ideas (wish me luck  :#)
  • I really liked the message of the article (If you didn’t read it, there’s a link in the first post here). New parents get so hung up on perfection. The world should see that they’re the best Mom with the best behaved child, while they manage to keep their own grownup life going. “Just get me over these terrible twos”

    That’s not how parenting works. Let your house be a wreck, let dinner be peanut butter sandwiches... but never just say “NO”. Listen to your child (get the feeling that I really liked the article? - actually, I liked the site)

    It reminds me how when my oldest son was about 3 I was so shocked how nicely advice like this worked…   Story Time –

    We were visiting friends who were putting new stairs into their house. There were no stairs to go upstairs but there were little brackets on each side waiting for wooden boards to go across on. My friend demonstrated how quickly she can get upstairs by just stepping on those brackets. – Looked like fun!! (not to me – I’m not athletic). My son went nuts. He had to try. NO WAY!! – he couldn’t possibly reach both sides with his little legs and there was no way that we were going to let him try climbing. He was crying – I just want to see what’s up there…

    Now here’s where my Great Parenting story comes in. I said to him – I also wish I could go up – I wish I could jump like a Kangaroo to get up – I wish I could fly like a bird – I wish I had a helicopter – I wish I had a big balloon to take me up…

    We took turns “wishing” ways to get up till we were all laughing about it.

    I couldn’t believe it. I had read that idea in a parenting book and it really worked!! He never would have accepted that it’s too hard or dangerous for him to climb but I gave him an alternative. That’s how I try to never say “NO”.  I loved that article’s ideas. It’s really not fair to tell your crying child – No, that’s too bad!! There’s plenty of time for disappointments in life.

    Sorry, I went on so long there, but I learned so much that day with the stairs. That’s why I’m thanking Beth for posting that article


  • Thanks Diane - I think we're into the same type of parenting. I loved your stair story. This type of parenting works. At first it's easier to just yell NO at irrational 2 year olds but once you get the hang of it it's so much better for you and especially for your child. I use some of the toy ideas that the article gives and it really makes our home much happier. There's never a reason to say NO - they're too young to understand safety lectures
  • I did it!! I bought the trampoline!! The person who thought of it is a genius. We have it a week already and it really does the trick. I'm not sure if Robbie is more hyper than any other 2 year old (always looks like all the kids are in constant motion  :D) but this trampoline in the house is perfect for him. It's mostly in the living room so I can keep an eye on him (I get exhausted just watching how much he can jump  :) - guess we really need different things). 

    If he starts to jump on the bed or couch I simply say - "Oh, I guess you don't like the trampoline anymore and I can return it to the store" - and he then runs to his trampoline. I don't think that's like threatening - "If you don't stop jumping..." It's accepting his need and showing him how there is a choice that meets his needs. I'm not depriving him from jumping, I'm letting him answer his own needs

    Thanks to the author of that article

    Did anyone else try any other idea from there?
  • I did - We already have a play kitchen and it is a favorite toy with so much to play with and so many fun ideas but since I read the article I'm using it for so many things - When I want the kitchen to myself I tell Shana that I'd love her to make eggs for me. Even when she's yelling for junk food I ask her if she can make that (she's only 2 - she thinks she's making chocolate or chips  :)). By the time she's done with her creation (plus washing the dishes) her tantrum is long forgotten and we're ready to move on.

    The article gave great ideas
  • These parenting "tricks" really work and I always feel so proud when I handle a tantrum with a "trick" - But then I stop and think "I'm so proud that I outsmarted a 2 year old  :s ??"
  • I agree. Often times distracting does work. He just wants attention and or he gets frustrated because he can't play with his brother the way he wants to. It just seems so difficult right now as he's also very energetic and is trying to give up naps as well, but I know if we stay on course it'll get better in the end.
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  • serenaxo84serenaxo84 member
    edited April 2016
    Dahlia5 said:
    Squirtgun - I don't think the article is telling you to allow your daughter to harm herself or someone else, but it's saying you should look at why your daughter is acting this way (biting). I think she's looking for attention and biting is the tool that she has. If she's your oldest, for 2 years the world revolved around her and now she's supposed to be grownup about the baby. Yes, biting is non-negotiable but thinking that way is ignoring her needs. Why is she biting? Face it - She's lost some of your attention and she's not ready to handle that maturely

    I once read somewhere (forgot where) - Imagine if your husband took a second wife, younger and cuter than you. (everyone made a fuss over the new wife). He told you he still loves you but now you should learn to accept his second wife and share him with her. And sometimes she gets the attention before you. You should know to wait for your turn cause she's new. A two year old doesn't understand why men can only love one wife but mommies can love more than one child - If your husband brought home a second wife, you would bite her too  >:) 
    @Dahlia5 I just heard this too! It was a psychiatrist in the 70s! "Imagine your husband brought home someone new one day and said she's gonna take all my attention, she's going to be super cute but you're gonna love her".

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