There is no such thing as the terrible twos, in my opinion, and it kind of drives me crazy when I hear that term. The stage people are referring to starts around 18 months, and to me, is a stage to celebrate! Children around this age are starting to realize they have a life of their own. They are becoming independent thinkers. They are becoming more and more capable. They are attempting to gain control over their lives. What is terrible about that?!!!
The problems arise when we don’t realize they are growing up and we continue to treat them like infants. If we do not raise the bar of expectation for them, they’ll just fling it at us to get our attention, that’s all. 🤣
As children test out their new skills and independence, they sometimes go too far and get scared and unsure. The problems arise if we are not there to support them with structure that sets clear limits and teaches them what is acceptable and what is not.
Regular, dependable routines help children feel safe as they navigate this stage.
The group (the children and their parents) I worked with this summer in my Step Up to Preschool class has impressed me once again. These toddlers started the summer unsure and clingy. They fluctuated between being dependent on only their parents and looking for ways to do things on their own. They are now finishing the summer with the confidence to trust others and themselves in order to successfully separate and go to school on their own. This stage takes time, and yes there are still some tears of frustration as these children continue to test the limits and their abilities, but they are gaining an “I can do it!” attitude, and I think that’s not terrible. I think it’s a cause for celebration!