Recently we’ve found ourselves dealing with a lot of tantrums, NO’s, outbursts, and throwing of objects AND SELF on the floor. Some people call it the “Terrible Twos” but I’d like to call it the “Learning Twos.”
You see, although this stage of Lucas’ life has begun with a bumpy start, I can’t proclaim with my mouth that this season will remain difficult, or terrible at that, if I don’t really want it to! Calling it the season of the “Learning Twos” reminds me that he’s not the only one going through a learning process, but I am too.
Before I can tell you what there is to learn about ourselves, as mothers going through this stage with our toddlers, I want to tell you from an educator’s point of view what a toddler is going through developmentally.
UNDERSTANDING THE STAGE
In this stage, especially around the age of two, most children are:
Trying to express independence
Learning that there are rules and boundaries
Learning about emotions
Learning how to communicate
Now, knowing that they are developing in all of these areas, plus many more, you can only imagine how frustrating it must feel to want something, want to do something, feel a certain way, but not be able to fully express it. This is usually the root cause of temper tantrums.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR ROLE
Dealing with a child going through the Learning Twos can be a challenge, but this is not a stage to fear. If not, it’s a stage that we should embrace as a time where we can grow as mothers.
Our roles as mothers are to always edify and teach!
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. (Proverbs 31:26)
LEARNING WITH THEM
Responding with anger and yelling will only reinforce the aggression of our toddlers and it will teach them that aggression is an acceptable means of communication. If yelling is something you struggle with, remember that what you project is what you will receive back from your children. Coming from a Latino home, where speaking loudly to get our point across is part of our culture, this was something I struggled with even before having children! But I realized very quickly that this manner of communicating was not very effective and I promised myself that I would not allow my anger to overcome the way I communicate with my children, especially in this very fragile stage of their development.
If patience is something you lack, then maybe this is the season to allow that area to grow in you. If God can be so patient with such imperfect adults like us, why can’t we have the same patience with our little ones? We are ALL still LEARNING after all, remember? (That’s definitely one of my learning areas in this season.)
How would you feel if you were going through a difficult time and the person whom you trusted and relied on the most didn’t take the time to comfort you? Awful and even more frustrated right? During this learning season, we want to make sure that our children understand that certain things are not acceptable but that ultimately everything will be okay. A hug, a kiss, a rub on the back with some comforting words saying that “it’s going to be okay” go a long way for toddlers. They are humans too, and just like us, they are just trying to figure this world out. The more we model kindness, gentleness, and love, the more we can be sure that they will develop these traits as they grow up. They’ll also develop a sense of confidence in themselves.
Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. (Proverbs 16:24)
I hope you find this helpful and I hope that you are encouraged to embrace this stage of your child’s life with a different perspective.
Cheering you on mama!