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Terrible Twos or Teaching Twos

It begins around 18-30 months and typically ends around 3. This is a time when our young ones are growing rapidly intellectually and physically. They're starting to understand our world.

  • Published on: 16 Jul 2021
  • 2 min read
Terrible Twos or Teaching Twos

We all know the impact of language, how it can make or break things in our daily life. One word or a sentence can turn a good day into a sour one, and a few thoughtful words can make a tough day easier.

When it comes to parenting, we are warned about all kinds of things to come. One of those things is Terrible Twos. When we define this time as "terrible", it mentally sets parents to hold their breath as if what's about to happen is completely out of our control. If the only control we have is controlling our perspective, we're ahead. By looking at terrible twos for what it is, a time of teaching and thereby learning, we can be far more proactive than reactive.

Why It's Called Terrible Twos

2-year-old boy

According to Healthline, this time is "a normal developmental phase experienced by young children that’s often marked by tantrums, defiant behavior, and lots of frustration". It begins around 18-30 months and typically ends around 3 (though I've heard of terrible threes as well!).

This is a time when our young ones are growing rapidly intellectually and physically. They're starting to understand our world. This means they're always testing the limits and boundaries of it and forming their own opinions of how things ought to be (aka their way).

Some of their requests are downright ludicrous (ex, a kid who wants their shadow to stop following them) and dangerous (anyone got any climbers? - almost all of us do), so of course we must intervene and be like a pair-of-rentals (par-rents) that guide them accordingly.

Why I Call It Teaching Twos

second birthday

As I stated above, our young ones are growing so fast at this time. As they learn, they teach themselves and us. We're teaching them as well based on the way we react or respond to how they're learning, and of course just in general to everyday matters.

Even though it's challenging and frustrating, remembering this time as one of "teaching" instead of one that's "terrible" is a far stronger perspective to pivot to when the times inevitably get tougher.

Sometimes this period feels like the only thing we're learning as parents is how to be patient. Patient enough to:

  • repeat ourselves, the essence parenting aka teaching
  • not react when our patience is tested
  • keep our emotions cool when we can't control their behaviors
  • give them our attention when we need to (or we’d rather) do something else
  • (add your own patience tester here)

Be Real, Be Positive

mother and toddler son

Choosing a more positive outlook (and inlook) is beneficial for our sanity as parents, and it helps our child if we're able to withstand the hurricanes of their growth.

This isn't to say you shouldn't be real. We're also human parents, so we won't always have our patient response on 10. In those times, remember it's what you do after that matters.

Do you apologize? Do you explain why you lost your cool to your kiddo? Do you ruminate on it to help yourself process and grow for next time?

These moments are all part of the Teaching Twos not just for our tiny ones, but for us, too.


Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt

Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.

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