The Not-So-Terrible Twos

Apr 21, 2012

New parents are always warned of the "Terrible Twos", the period in which your toddler is recognizing his own autonomy, trying to assert his will to make things go his way, and exploring the world.  When I was a young mom of just one, I readily accepted that label as accurate. But as time marched on and we reached three years old, and then four, I realized that two was not that bad. Once I had a couple more kids under my belt, I realized that the twos are not at all terrible, as long as you practice the Four Ps of Parenting.

Pray daily for guidance, patience, peace of mind, your child's safety, and forgiveness when you mess up. Because you will mess up. Parenting is hard and we need to rely on our Heavenly Father to help us with this tremendous task.

Be Prepared
  • Batten down the hatches! Secure heavy and tall furniture to the wall. Your toddler will most likely try to climb it. Children are seriously injured and killed by falling televisions and furniture every year.
  • Never leave the house without diapers or extra underwear, wipes, and an extra set of clothes and shoes. Your toddler will find the only mud puddle around, sit in mashed potatoes at the restaurant, or develop a nasty tummy bug while you are shopping.
  • Keep small snacks, toys, or board books in your purse or bag for trips outside the house.
  • Your toddler will throw a fit in public at some point. Don't get pulled into the drama. First, check to make sure he is not ill or hurt. Then, stay firm and calm and carry on about your business if possible. If that is not remotely possible, pack him up and abort your mission. 
  • You are going to clean up a LOT of spills, messes, and potty training accidents. Just accept it now and keep a large supply of old rags and towels handy. Use the opportunity to teach him how to clean up.
Be Proactive
  • Expect that your toddler will act poorly when he is tired, hungry, or sick. Plan your outings around meal times and nap times.
  • "No" is the word, at least for a time, so offer choices when you can. It really is okay to let them wear cowboy boots with shorts when you are going to the grocery store.
  • Protect your child from well-meaning friends and relatives who invade your little one's personal space. Don't force your child to let someone else hold him or kiss him if he's scared or uncomfortable. Give him time to warm up to them on his own.
  • Two year olds do not usually like to share yet. Teach him about sharing by practicing at home and encouraging it when with other children, but don't force it.
  • Learn the art of distraction. I always keep a bottle of bubbles in the kitchen because they are like magic for soothing the savage toddler. Figure out what changes your little one's course or stops him in his tracks when he is determined to cause chaos.
Be Patient
According to, patience is the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
Your little one will feel secure and learn by example when you remain as calm as possible. It's okay to let them see that you are upset, but refrain from having your own tantrum. Yes, I know, easier said than done sometimes. M2 tests my patience daily. Just last week, we were waiting to pay at Crackle Berry and M2 chucked his cup of water at LJ. It busted open when it hit the floor and got me and the lady in front of us. I quickly apologized, but everyone was very understanding. Later the same day, he impulsively threw and broke a plate on the wood floor. As a seasoned boy mom, these things are minor annoyances because I know that messes are easily cleaned up and this stage will pass. It also helps to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths before reacting. :)

What tips do you have for getting through the not-so-terrible twos?

Linked to Titus 2 Tuesday.


  1. Like you, our terrible twos were hardly a blip on the radar. At 2, my daughter threw a tantrum in the store after being told she couldn't have any candy. She threw herself on the floor, crying and kicking her legs while I paid for our purchases. Despite the angry looks of other patrons, I completely ignored her. Once I was ready to leave the store, I simply started pushing the cart toward the exit. I could hear her back there bawling, but soon she realized I was leaving. She stopped crying and then I heard the pitter patter of her little feet as she rushed to catch up with me. She grabbed my hand and we exited the store together. She never threw another tantrum because it just didn't work :)

  2. We just passed this stage, although secretly I still think she is holding on. Thanks for the tips. I think I'm going to move the bubbles in the kitchen right now. Thanks for linking up to Titus 2 Tuesday on Cornerstone Confessions.



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