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Terrible Twos | Guide for the Parents of Toddlers

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If you live around the children, you might have listened to the word, “Terrible twos” but if you are a parent of a toddler then you can feel this word!

The word suggests the meaning. “Terrible twos” mean the time of a toddler’s life of terrible actions like

  1. Throwing temper tantrums,
  2. Kicking and throwing things away,
  3. Stubborn behavior,
  4. Creating a lot of frustration for the parents.

Terrible twos usually start at the age of 2, but this doesn’t mean that your child will suddenly change her behavior after her 2nd birthday. From 1 year to 2.5 years, anytime you can start seeing a change.

How do you know that your child has now entered the phase of terrible twos?

If you are a new parent then you might be thinking that how to know that the phase of terrible twos has started.

Look for these signs

Increase in number of tantrums

Tantrums are an uncontrolled outburst of emotions usually because of frustration. You can identify them as crying, stubbornness, screaming, or sometimes hitting or even throwing things in anger.”

Your child will seem to throw more tantrums. Read this guide to temper tantrums if you wish to make your life a little easier.

Mood swings

At one time she wants to eat a French toast but suddenly she changes her mind and wants something else or she starts playing with anything else.

All of a sudden, she starts ignoring her favorite toy, or she wants you to help in the chores that she has always wanted to do by herself.

Excessive hitting and screaming

You see that your little angel starts to follow excessive screaming on little things, and sometimes doesn’t even avoid hitting if she doesn’t like your actions or words.

Melt-downs and tears!

The kid might start to ask for every other thing they see on TV or the grocery store. She wants every toy and every candy and starts crying for little things.

Angry Behavior

She might start to act like an angry bird. Always Angry!

“This is Mine!” behavior

At this age, the toddler doesn’t know the value of the act of “sharing”. They often start fighting with the siblings or any other person for the word “Mine”. When they see any toy in the hands of someone else, they start snatching saying that “it’s mine!”

The reason behind the terrible twos:

This is the most interesting and encouraging part. Read along!

“Why terrible twos happen?” is a common question. Why do kids show a specific behavior in a specific time?

The First Reason:

Look! The phase of terrible twos may sound like bad news but it actually is good news.

Your child has learned so many new things in this phase. She has started walking, talking, and exploring a new world. Each day she encounters a new thing, she is excited about being a big girl, and all she wants is to act like an adult.

If your child has entered the phase of “Terrible twos”, it means she is developing her skills and emotions and achieving her milestones faster than you think.

At any time, during the age of 1.5-3 years, she might be over-estimating her skills.

She thinks that her hand and eye coordination skills are fine enough to complete the tasks and she wants to do all the stuff by herself, just like you do, but when she fails in completing her tasks the way she expected, she becomes frustrated and starts screaming.

Think of your own behavior when you want to do something new but you can’t because of lack of knowledge and practice, you become frustrated and start throwing things in the extreme case.

But in the case of kids, they have very little control over their emotions so they start throwing tantrums on little “frustrations”.

The Second Reason:

Your child must be excited to do new adventures but still, she isn’t aware of the boundaries.

She wants to plug the electronics by herself, she wants to cook on the stove.

Sounds familiar? This is because she thinks that this is a simple task every adult does, so she can do it too. But she is unaware of the danger. That’s why your baby hears a “no” all the time. Again, this causes frustration and she starts to scream and crying.


These are the two most common causes of the behavior of “terrible two”.
In short, all she wants is independence and less reliance on the parent, and when she can’t she acts like an angry bird.

So, Your child is developing fine and that’s the good news.

How long this phase may last?

The child is achieving her milestones quickly, but still, the time is tough on a parent because this is not only the time of development but children learn a lot too.

The things they learn at this age are absorbed into their subconscious and you, as a parent, want her to grow up as a good human being. And you cannot leave your children crying just because it’s normal.

So, you must be wanting to know that how long this phase is going to last? So the answer is!

No one can offer an exact answer, but the thing is whenever your kid will develop proper motor skills and a sense of boundaries, she will become calmer and this isn’t going to happen overnight. The tantrums will start to become less in frequency at first.

Sometimes, the terrible twos can turn into horrible threes, but a lot less in frequency because she can’t develop fine motor skills and sense overnight. It takes time, But by the age of 4 you must be seeing a visible calmness in behavior and by the age of 5, your life will actually become a kind of “normal”.

One formula doesn’t apply on all kids. There is always a range of an answer,

And the answer is from age 3-4.5 years your child will be out of the phase of “terrible twos”.

Sounds a long time? No! not at all. Remember when she was born and her little body of about a few inches was handed over to you? It was not long ago! Time flies. Your child is going to grow up even before you know it.

What you can do to make life easier when your child is in her “Terrible twos”?

Temper tantrums and terrible twos might be two different things but the solution is almost similar.

The difference is dealing with a temper tantrum is more about solving a specific problem at a specific time because it’s a phase of a few minutes but the terrible twos is a phase of one or two years including multiple tantrums and other problems, so you have to manage the routine and stuff in a manner so that you have to face less number of tantrums.

Delegating the decision power

Let your child decide sometimes. Things like what to wear? what to eat? Human brains are not wired to be ruled.

Everyone wants to be independent, so the kids. Let them choose sometimes and you will see a positive change in their behavior.

Keep the things out of reach

Keeping the things in the kid’s range and then shouting at them for the loss is the biggest and the most common parenting mistake and the most common reason for the tantrums. So the best way to solve a problem is to prevent it.

Set practical expectations

Always understand and keep that in mind that kids are kids. I’m not saying that you should not stop them from the wrong deeds, but keep your expectations practical.

Keep in mind that they do not have enough understanding of their environment, and you are the one who must take care.

Know when to be strict

As a parent, you must know when to be strict. When your child wants to hit someone then there’s no need to be polite.

That doesn’t mean that you have to hit them back. Just being strict and talking firmly is enough.

Don’t give in on safety issues

Safety issues are crucial. Your child wants to use the knife or the scissors or to cook on the stove. Whatever they do, cry or scream. Never let them do.

Improve her communication skills

Kids throw tantrums because they do not know that how to express feelings in words.

As a parent, you should help them improve their speaking skills, by talking to them more frequently and encouraging them to speak instead of giving visual cues.

Limit screen time

Screen time is the biggest culprit.

Limiting screen time is the best thing you can do for your child.

The blue rays of screens disturb the neuro-signals of the brain and this disturbance reflects in their behavior.

Completely banning screen time is also not good considering the child’s learning and coping with the advanced society but limiting and finding a balance is crucial.

Let them be

At the age of “terrible twos” all kids want is to prove them.

They want to perform chores just like an adult would do. So let them do.

Your child wants to wear her shoes by herself, let her. She might take a little more time but that’s a lot better than the time taken to deal with a tantrum, and the bonus point is that she will learn to wear the shoes and you will have one fewer number of tasks to perform.

Get them learning toys

Learning toys also called educational toys are the best thing you can buy for your kids.

They have so many benefits both for the parents and the children. They are fun yet educational.

You want your child to learn and she wants to have some fun. Learning toys covers both areas.

They keep the kids engaged and let them love the “learning”. They help improving motor skills and hand and eye coordination too.

Try improving her motor skills

As stated above, kids want to perform the tasks just like an adult would do but when they fail, they become frustrated.

They fail because they do not have enough motor skills. You should make sure to help them improve their motor skills.

By following these tips you can see a positive change in your toddler’s behavior.

Remember that the more you are organized, the more you will see discipline in your child. Your kid is trying her best to copy you so the best thing you can do is to become a role model for her.

Read these articles to help get a more better understanding of the behavior of your kid.

Related Articles:

Tantrums | Stages, Reasons, and Solutions

How to discipline a toddler | 20 practical tips

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