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The Terrible Twos: A Preview?

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Terrible Twos: A Preview?

It seems as though with 18 months came the onset of the "terrible twos".

And the stink eye...
Mean, huh?

I was not prepared for either one.

Lucas has been having melt downs pretty much since the day we brought him home. They were few and far between and we learned very quickly that he can't be in one place for very long, needing and relishing change to his environment. But now, these melt downs are full blown temper tantrums and they can be wicked.

There are two to three a day and we have learned to minimize our interference and just let him go through it. It's safer for everyone involved.

We have never hit Lucas. As parents we do not believe in spanking, so we never will (I have been tempted for sure, but have refrained).

But he hits.

When he's mad or frustrated or bonks himself on the corner of a table, he hits it. He hits us. He hits himself.

It's scary.

Where do children learn to do this? Is it a natural instinct, a protection mechanism? Is it a boy thing, or do girls do it too? When does it subside? Please tell me it subsides!

More than once recently, Lucas has been put in a Time-Out for hitting and throwing things with very little to zero effectiveness. He thinks it's a game. We don't want Time-Out to be a punishment necessarily, but an opportunity for him to reset himself, i.e. modify his crappy behavior.

I have read that 18 months is not too early to start this practice, but we are novices and it doesn't seem to be going very well so far.

Today, I bought a designated Time-Out chair. Hopefully it will help him understand we mean business. Any Time-Out advice?

When did the terrible twos begin in your house and what else can we expect from them? I miss my sweet boy.

Lucas turned 19 months on Thursday. I can't wait to see what this month will bring. Wish us luck...

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Blogger Natalie said...

Good luck. It starts around 18 months & doesn't stop until they're around 25. I think there are brief moments we get a glimpse of our sweet children, but they're only for a moment. Just wait until you have a teenager who thinks you don't know anything.

And I was a big time-out advocate. Still am. The 14 yr old hates it, but it works.
Also, with the youngest.. if she wanted to throw a fit? Fine, but I wasn't going to watch it or participate. She had to go to her room & do it behind closed doors.

January 8, 2011 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Blue Moon Girl said...

This is so hard! The terrible twos started with Darling Girl at around the same time. She has almost the exact same look too!

Here are a few things that seem to work most of the time for her (nothing works all the time). When she hits or kicks, we gently hold her hands/feet and tell her that we don't hit/kick, it hurts and she needs to use her words to tell us what she wants. She gets three warnings with us telling her that and then it's to time out.

Time out is a very un-fun place with nothing to do. I have to stand there with her and help her sit back down or she just gets up and runs off.

At the end of time out, I get down at her level and say, "Do you know why you had to sit by yourself for a few minutes?" She rarely answers so I tell her why she was there and what she needs to do differently to keep from going back.

We have prevented most temper tantrums through telling her to use her words because I don't understand screams. Before she could use her words, we told her to point at what she wanted. When she did that, I told her the word of what it was. That has at least cut out the frustration temper tantrums.

I've noticed that all of this is worse when she's extremely tired or overwhelmed. I always have a small book or two in my bag so that I can take her to a quiet spot and we can look at it for a few minutes to calm down. That helps a ton!

Otherwise, good luck! :o)

January 8, 2011 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

Tonya - - I have come back to this post 10 times today waiting for advice from other Moms of toddlers!!
We use the same techniques as Blue Moon Girl and it seems to work pretty well. Want to know what doesn"t work? That goofy info we got from the Happiest Toddler DVD. I think my hub wanted to commit me the one and only time I tried it :) Hee hee. Good luck, girl. I've got a strong willed kid as well, and I know my wine consumption has increased dramatically :)

January 8, 2011 at 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Oh poor you :( my eldest daughter was like that. She was full of internal rage and went into 'lizard brain' mode when she couldn't process anything we said or did and it was best just to make sure she was safe and wait the tantrum out (impossible in a public place! Had to pick her up kicking and screaming to the car a few times - very embarrassing!). She would hit, kick, bang her head on the floor... It was ghastly and some tantrums lasted an hour - they weren't even over anything in particular! I used to clean the bathroom or put the Hoover round so as to keep myself calm and ignore the tantrum, trying my best not to get emotionally caught up in the tantrum.

I don't have much advice, but thus phase will pass eventually x

January 8, 2011 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

I've seen Lucas's stink eye first-hand and it's icredibly hard to witness! Ugh! I really really hope he outgrows this asap! Who on earth did he pick that facial expression up from??!!

January 9, 2011 at 11:16 PM  

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