October 20, 2012

Matt and the Teribble Two

When Matt reaches the age of two, Mommy and I observed a sudden change in his attitude. He used to cry whenever he did get what he wants. Sometimes he will start stomping his feet or even sit down and cry. Until we read about what experts called “Terrible Two”. This is a change in their attitude and part of their development. Most kids starts to have tantrums whenever they are upset to a particular thing. Worst, some will hit their head on the wall. The term “terrible two” does not mean that they will show this one as they reach the age of two like what we observed from Matt. In some kids, this starts as early as they reach their 2nd age or after their first birthday.

This attitude is not to show how rebellious they are but at this age, kids would like to express their independence. Yes, independence at early age. Like now, Matt wants to take charge of everything at home like turning on and off lights, TV and electric fans. He also wants to pull down his pants whenever he needs to pee or poop by his own. He wants to take charge in putting toothpaste into his brush. He will pick the dress he wants to wear, etc…Whenever someone used to do these things, he will cry and will not stop until you return everything and start from the top. I also learned that we should be patient in understanding such attitude. But I admit, I often lose my temper which ended in shouting at him or let him face the wall as punishment. However, Matt knows how to make “lambing” to us. He will simply approach us and will hug and kiss us saying “Pa-loves, Daddy.” which means you need to kiss him.

Experts suggest some ways to handle kid’s attitude during this development stage.

1. As much as possible have a regular routine for meals, sleep, plays, etc. Even we went home late from work, we used to include him during our dinner. Sometimes, Tita will say that he had already took his meals, but still we tried to feed him even in small amounts.

2. Give them limited choices only. Let them decide with their own by providing them at most two or three choices. By doing this you will let them feel they have the power of deciding and choosing things. Never ask “What do you want?”, instead, “Which one do you like? This one or this one?”

3. Keep them safe by providing boundaries; however, you must be aware that they will try to exceed these boundaries to test you. One of their common tests is tantrums.

4. Be firm with your limits and don't give into tantrums which is their most common tactic to get what they want. Talk them straight into their eyes to know that you are sincere in what you are talking.

5. Redirect their attention to others to let them forget that they are upset.

6. Explain to them why they can’t have the things they want. Don’t just say “NO”.

7. Use time out and taking away privileges. Last night, I used to get all the things he has like milk and mickey and suddenly he stopped crying and asked me to get those things back to him.8. Provide a safe environment for toddlers to play.

Sometimes, we really need to observe and understand kids behavior as part of being a good parent to them.