How to Avoid the terrible Two's

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How to Avoid the terrible Two's 

How to Avoid the terrible Two's 

How to Avoid the terrible Two's 2 year olds.

Don't you just love 'em?

Especially when they are rolling around the floor having a good old tantrum. So, are there any tips for making the terrible twos a little less terrible?

First of all, don't be fooled by them! Just because they are little, just because they don't talk well, and haven't been around too long, doesn't meant they don't know exactly how to manipulate you to get what they want! Just like anyone else, whatever the age, they will do their best to get the things that they want.

And if throwing a temper tantrum or whining, or any other such behavior works to get you to see things their way, then of course they will do it!

So, how do you deal with them?

By using exactly the same principles as you would with an older child:

A. you need to be clear about what behaviors you will accept or not accept. Don't take on a battle if it really isn't important.

B. Be clear about your instructions - say what you mean, and mean what you say. Say it once and don't repeat yourself.

C. Once you have done that, then follow it up with action,

D. Yes, you can use time out with little ones: but instead of sending them to their room, how about using a "manners chair"? 

Here is how it works: 

First get a small child's chair and put it in a corner somewhere, facing into the room. If they fail to do as they are told (after you have said what you mean and meant what you said - my book will help you with that) then you send them to the chair with words to the effect of: "Oh dear, you seem to have lost your good manners again. You had better go and sit in the chair until you find them again." 

Once they have found their manners - as evidenced by compliance or better behavior or them telling you so, then they can come off the chair. In the meantime you ignore them.

Especially if they are fussing or whining. In order to keep this light rather than as a heavy punishment, you can offer to help them to find their manners again.

Suggest to them that they may have dropped them under the chair, or in their pockets, or perhaps they even fell in their shoes. This helps to turn them away from whining to a more positive attitude (and turns you from shouting to being helpful).

Usually the manners are found pretty quickly. Once they have found their manners, you can then tell them to do what they were originally supposed to do, or perhaps they need to apologize (eg to their sister for thumping her!). 

Unlike with normal time-out (where it is a clear connection with bad behavior = miss out on fun by being in time out), with the manners chair you CAN ask them to apologize, or otherwise revisit the incident, since the evidence of them having found their manners is a return of compliant polite behavior.

If they still refuse, then they clearly didn't find their manners, so they need to go back to the manners chair and have another look. There is a danger that this in itself can become too much of a game for them since they get a lot of attention from you when you are helping them to find their manners.

You will need to strike the right balance between "time-out" ie ignoring them, and a bit of assistance (since they are young, and this is all new to them). 

What is important is that you don't get into yelling mode, and they don't get away with inappropriate behavior. 

Keep it calm, keep it positive, keep showing that you still love them, but that the behavior is the problem - i.e. the child is not the problem, the problem is simply that she has lost her manners temporarily - once she has found them again, then all will be well again.

Now, what about when you are out in public?

The key there, as everywhere else, is that you have to mean what you say, say what you mean, and follow up with action.

So, how do you time out in public?

Three options:

1. Sit them down in the aisle and do a kind of "manners chair" in which no one is going anywhere else until he has found his manners.

2. Take them out and do a time out in the car. They are in the car, you are outside, looking AWAY from them. You stand there and you wait patiently until they are quiet.

Do NOT respond or get into a "discussion" with them until the tie-out is up.

3. Abandon the shopping trip and go home and do the time out there. You will only have to do this a few times before they get the message that you mean business in public just as you do at home. While doing all of this, remember to stay calm and in control. Getting into a lather about it all will just make things worse rather than better.

As I said, this is all based on the foundational principles in my book, so if you are having difficulty in getting your children (age 2 or up) to do as they are told - or if you find yourself getting into a state yelling and repeating yourself countless times - then it really is time to get the book and put it into practice!

The author of How to Avoid the terrible Two's is Dr Noel Swanson MD

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Source:  Article How to Avoid the terrible Two's was submitted by Dr Noel Swanson MD for publication.

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