Sure, we all know that toddlers are a handful. People often speak of “the terrible twos” as a time in parenting
that they wouldn’t want to relive. However, it is important to realize that there are scientific factors behind a toddler’s behavior. There are many developmental stages of toddlerhood that make for a difficult child. Perhaps if parents would stop to think of the method behind their child’s madness, everyone would benefit from it.
A baby has a desire to be mobile far sooner than he is. That is a great source of frustration in an older baby. They go from snuggly, dependent babies to squirmy, fussy creatures that want to be put down so they can go! Imagine how it would feel not being able to get to what you want, and then you are suddenly granted the ability by learning to walk. It’s no wonder toddlers don’t or can’t be still. They are knew to this world, they are curious, and now they have free reign to explore.
A baby’s two most efficient discovery tools are his mouth and his hands. Babies explore with both long before they are mobile, feeling and mouthing objects. This tactile response helps babies learn and grow. Unfortunately, these mental milestones coupled with an ability to go anywhere can equal disaster. Rather than trying to spend your day preventing your toddler from picking up things that are dangerous and saying, “No”, why not redirect their attention to safe toys in secure places? It is important for them to be able to explore.
Toddlers now have acquired an amazing feet by learning the oral language that mother and father speak. (They’ve been speaking to you since the day they were born, but now the communication will be that much clearer!) This can be a great thing for the toddler when he can tell someone exactly what he wants, but also a frustrating one when he can’t quite get across the message. Remember, his speech will be limited and a bit nonsensical at times. Be patient- most tantrums thrown by a “terrible two” are born out of frustration. These too will pass, as children do their best learning out of frustration.
It may help a parent to cope with a toddler’s behavior if they learn the motivation behind it, rather than just trying to police. While a toddler is easier to communicate with than an infant, they are not exactly logical creatures. Making your way through “the terrible twos” is exhausting and challenging. But remember, it is their development and growth (all of those good things you are so proud of) that are contributing to the madness. This is one time when you really have to take the good with the bad.