It happens to every parent: One day you notice your sweet, loving baby has turned into a defiant, tantrum-prone child who’s moody for no reason and loves to say no. Don’t worry, it’s a normal part of child development, and your child is just pushing it and testing the boundaries to see what you’ll let her get away with.
Here’s how to get through the more challenging side of childhood.
Why the twos can be terrible
Imagine that you’ve suddenly had a huge developmental spurt that’s given you the ability to communicate, think, and even move like never before. It’s sort of like having superpowers — and naturally, you want to test them out to see how far they’ll get you. That’s sort of what life is like for your child at this stage. And when frustration occurs (for example when you tell her she can’t stay up past her bedtime). Her mood may change, she may tell you no, or she may have a tantrum.
How to get through it
The most important thing to remember during this phase is that you shouldn’t take it personally. Just because your child tried to bite you in a fit of rage doesn’t actually mean she loves you less; she’s just frustrated. The best way to help her cope with her negative feelings is to boost her confidence, which will actually help her feel more independent (and, consequently, less frustrated). Here’s how.
Encourage your child to explore
Let your child feed her curiosity by allowing her to explore her world as much as possible in a safe way. If something’s not safe, tell her no — she’ll eventually come to learn what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Boost your child’s self-esteem by letting her know when she’s done a good job. If she plays nicely with her friend or completes the task you asked her to (for example putting on her pyjamas), tell her how pleased and proud you are.
Even though your child may be making continuous progress, she might still have bad days — don’t we all! Don’t let a tantrum or bad mood set you off track. She’ll grow out of it soon enough!