The “Terrible 2’s” Myth

The “Terrible 2’s” Myth

Today I want to talk about the “Terrible 2’s” and how they aren’t really that terrible.

Julia turned 2 in August and I had always heard about how 2-year-olds can be terrible and apparently 3-year-olds worse but I’m not sure that I really agree with the sentiment.

Julia is certainly a strong-willed, fire fueled little Leo girl – there’s no doubting that. However, I refuse to believe that a strong-willed toddler, especially a girl, is a bad thing.  Over time she will learn how to use these skills to her benefit but it is not my intention to dumb them down.


When toddlers throw themselves on the floor because of something that seems ridiculous to us, or scream or cry for similar reasons, it’s because whatever is going on really does feel so serious to them.

Children at this age are still learning how to process their emotions and it’s hard! Think about it – isn’t it hard to manage your own emotions sometimes?

We all get frustrated, it’s part of being human. While adults can manage their emotions, most of the time, children this young do not have that ability yet.

Not only are they still learning how to process their emotions but they are still learning how to communicate. There are times where Julia gets extremely frustrated because she repeatedly asks me for something but I genuinely don’t understand what she is saying. Imagine if YOU were the one saying something to someone over and over and they didn’t understand you. It’s frustrating!


The best thing I’ve found that works for us is to model good behavior and remain a calm presence in your child’s life. If your toddler is having a meltdown try getting on their level. Offer them a hug. If they scream ‘NOO, GAWD!!!!!!!!!!!!!” ( I chose this example because this is literally something  Julia often does lol) then give them some space. If they are safe where they are at, step out of the room if you need to. And you probably will need to. Parenting is hard! Being around emotional ticking time bombs can be mentally exhausting. It’s important to utilize your own emotional processing and take a moment away from your toddler and remember that this is just a season of their life. It will get better.

As parents, it’s very easy to lose our patience – especially if you are home with your child/ren all day long. I’ve shared about this on here before, but I read something once that went along the lines of: wait before you react angrily to something – pause – and stop yourself. Count to 10 if you have to. Take a deep breath. This can be difficult initially but it gets easier over time. This practice will improve your patience with your child, and others in general.

If you show your child that you can stay calm they will eventually learn to do the same. But it takes time. Like I said, the ability to process and manage emotions and properly communicate is a part of their development. It takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. But if you are impatient, snap and constantly, yell and react when they are having a tantrum – you will only be showing them that that kind of behavior is normal.  You are their first guide and teacher in the lessons of “how to be human”.

It’s up to us to show them what is appropriate and allow them to learn. I’m not saying I’m perfect or that anyone is, we all have our moments where we slip up but it’s important to make sure it’s not all the time. Actions speak louder than words. Your child will not learn to be patient if you are never patient with them, etc.


Children are people –and sometimes adults tend to forget this. Childhood isn’t just some preparation for life, it IS their life and a part of it that shapes them in many ways. Having a childhood where your feelings are acknowledged, you’re allowed to make and learn from mistakes without the fear of being yelled at or hurt, and allowed to be silly and make messes then learn to clean them up – will benefit a child so much in life.

They will develop confidence, a secure sense of self and know that they have a home base (their parent/s) that they can turn to when they need help as a teen or young adult.

The “terrible 2’s” aren’t terrible. They’re terrific. Your child is learning and growing. Growth, as we all know, isn’t straight forward. It can be hard, even for toddlers! Have patience with them. Be a teacher. Respect that they have feelings. And be the best parent that you can be

So often, children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes, yet we adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect, and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves. – Rebecca Eanes


Sending you love & light,


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