Tantrums or not-so-terrible-twos

motherhood physiology resources transition periods upbringing

It just happened that I’m kind of surrounded myself with moms of the peers of my Newcomer, so it’s a little funny when everyone suddenly starts making drama around the same topic, and at the same time it’s a confirmation that the phenomenon actually takes place. Two is а diagnosis first transition age. Though, this crisis varies in the range of 18-30 months.

How to recognize this crisis? A child can whine, yell, cry (have mood swings), fight, bite, fall to the floor, hit his head, throw objects, and more. In short, it is like any other crisis. The only difference is that with age they reduce. The study found that 20% of two-year-olds had one tantrum a day, in 3 years it was 18%, while in 4 years it was 10%.

At two, the baby moves from infant status to three year old crisis the status of independent one. This is definitely a time of barrage of uncontrollable emotions, because the child actually learns to control them, and will learn for years, it’s just 2 is one of such approximate peaks, and it lasts somewhere until the next peak, which is three ?. But what emotions – even the body, because the baby has just learned to walk, and his motor skills and coordination of movements are still far from perfect.

For many children, it’s also a time of transition from a diaper to a potty, from baby food to regular, from speechlessness to language, from mother’s breasts – to their absence, etc., not to mention a million social skills learned on the playground. Therefore, it is definitely easier for us with Newcomer than for many. We have never had any special baby food, wore diapers only for outside or during trips, the breast is still in use. But the crisis didn’t pass us either. Tears out of nowhere and poor sleep are its main components. It’s hard, it’s tiring, and even boobs happen to turn blue and fall off.
An important part of becoming is also a babies’ NO, and I have been actively enjoying it since a year and a half. Actually, I only hear YES towards avocados and going out.


1. Nothing personal. This is not a revolt against you and they have no desire for revenge or causing harm. The baby loves you. That’s just how they grow and develop, explore and learn.

2. The toddler checks the limits and makes experiments. What if I screamed for half an hour nonstop? Would they still love me? What if I step into shit? What about breaking something? What if I will not do what they ask? A small amount of clear rules, patience and hugs will help. Everyone.

3. The toddler experiences are sharpened, as in any transitional age. The aforementioned clarity and the usual safety and comfort are best servants here. This includes timely eating and sleeping, a clear familiar routine, a limited choices. At the same time, the baby is exactly learning to make choices, so the minimum choice of two options will be an advantage, the most popular example: what would you like to wear  – white T-short or red? what do you want for breakfast: omelette or porridge? An open question about what you will wear today can drive a child to a halt, this is too philosophical for a two-year-old)

4. The baby learns to have his own opinion. This is our chance to assist in forming of a strong independent personality. We must respect his ‘no’, and he must respect ours.

5. What can be hidden behind this tantrum? Maybe the basic I want to eat / sleep / hug / home / walk? The baby may be upset because their vocabulary is not enough to explain their needs, and we, who have previously captured their needs, are no longer catching them so easily, because the baby is growing and becoming more complex. Imagine what it’s like when you can’t express what’s bothering you and can’t make it for yourself either. Maybe we are not giving them the opportunity to express themselves, take control of the situation, get the necessary skill, or are we doing everything for them? Maybe they know how to do something, but can’t do it physically? Or maybe they just lack our attention?

Of course, we don’t always understand the cause of the tantrum. We are busy, we are in a hurry, we are lost and tired. We want silence. How to react to not traumatize your child and save yourself as well?

• Take your baby seriously. laughing and trying to amuse them can make it worse. whenever possible – switch their attention to anything else when a toddler is in the midst of an emotion, it’s better to let them go through it rather than to grab them out of it.

• Stay calm. we are shore for an ocean of child’s emotions. it’s not easy, because we are not able to withstand this voltage, and yet, hold on just a little bit, please breathe, it’s harder for baby now, they are torn by emotions, and we are their only support.

• Ignore bad behavior when possible (when the child is not trying to harm himself or you physically) and encourage good behavior. when the storm subsides, instead of ‘you can’t’ explain how they could do instead, calmly, hug.

Punishment is not an option, because our goal is not to intimidate the baby by forcing them to do what we want, but to encourage them to obey us. Instead of punishment, there is such a thing as explanation.

I notice that at this age, seeing problems with falling asleep, parents decide to cancel the daytime sleep altogether. I think that this is a mistake and it’s worth surviving this stage. I think that not only babies but many adults need this day’s rest, and it’s not necessary to displace it. I suspect that it’s more difficult for a child to invest at this stage due to emotional storms and the need for environmental support. Because this is how self is formed. However, children are different and a mom knows better.

According to the study, 75% of tantrums last no longer than 5 minutes. Keep that in mind, because 5 minutes is easier than going through the unknown hell.

The term ‘horrible two’ comes from the 50’s, I think it’s time to replace it with something more human, such as ‘not-so-terrible-two’. The baby is developing, ladies, that’s alright, stay tuned.

Recommended Books:

Alla Slotvinska – Playing together, or how to cope with child’s I-do-not-wants

Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson – No-Drama Discipline

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