Until 18 months of age, most children are agreeable, even easy. From 18 months until 4 years of age, many of them become stubborn and resistant. We call this the "terrible twos". What happens to toddlers at 18 months? They discover that they are individuals who have the power to refuse us or even to do the opposite of what we request. Thus begin the irrational years.
How does a parent survive them?
- First: Go to the mat over the big things like hitting people or buckling up in the car seat. But let the small things go, like what he wears.
- Second: Actions speak louder than words. When your child breaks the rules, give him a 2-minute time-out. You can't reason with a 2 year old. Save the speeches.
- Third: Give him choices whenever possible, like which cereal to eat or which story to read. He needs to feel like a decision-maker, before he can get through this phase.
- Finally: Try to keep a sense of humor about this struggle for independence, and take some pride in your child's first attempt to stand up for himself.
If you have questions about the terrible twos, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.