backup og meta

Dealing With The Terrible Twos

Written by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Updated Feb 02, 2021

    Dealing With The Terrible Twos

    You often hear the phrase terrible twos when it comes to parents who have little kids. It is a stage characterized by tantrums, countless frustrations, and defiant behavior. Here, in this stage of a child’s development is when they learn to assert their developing personality and why they sometimes won’t listen to the word no. That’s why dealing with the terrible twos can be a challenging time.

    Though called the terrible two, it actually does not happen when your child turns two years old. Normally, the terrible two begin from 18 months of age to 30 months and can even last until the age of three. After that, there might still be terrible two symptoms shown but it becomes less frequent and more manageable. 

    This phase can be quite challenging for most parents. They are often left wondering what happened to their adorable toddler who now explodes in fits of rage. It can leave parents feeling helpless, which is why we will discuss the different ways of dealing with the terrible twos. 

    Dealing with the Terrible Twos: What You Need to Remember 

    The terrible two happens at a stage in your child’s life where they are experiencing many things for the first time. They are now walking, talking, forming opinions, and learning to understand concepts such as taking turns. They are full of new emotions yet they don’t fully understand them. 

    Since your child is now starting to explore, there will be situations where they will feel frustrated and unable to express their emotions. This is normal because they haven’t fully developed their physical, verbal, and emotional skills. 

    Remember that at this stage, your child will test their boundaries. This is how they will figure out what is right from wrong. In reality, this is a valuable learning experience and your child is looking to you for guidance and support. Finding your child’s triggers can help minimize the meltdowns that you will be experiencing with your child. 

    Terrible Two Symptoms

    Some of the indications that your child is starting to get into the terrible two phases are the following: 

    • Saying no to everything – Sometimes, your child will say no even when they mean yes. Since no is a word often mentioned by parents who are trying to teach their child safety, your child will use this word often to test you and to test the power of the word. 
    • Getting frustrated easily – Your child thinks you are a mind reader so when you fail to give him what he needs, he will become frustrated and start to cry. 
    • Kicking, biting, and hitting – This is a definite sign of terrible two symptoms. Since your child still does not know what is right and what is wrong and can’t fully express himself with words, he will resort to drastic actions such as these to get his point across. 
    • Tantrums – Loud cries, wailing, and throwing themselves on the ground complete with all the drama is a sure sign that the terrible twos have started for your child. 
    • Territorial fighting – Since toddlers are still not able to fully grasp the idea of sharing, they can become territorial with things that they think are theirs. 

    Holistic Ways in Dealing with the Terrible Twos 

    There are certain ways that you can deal with the terrible twos to help shorten the phase or help your child learn to express himself better. Remember that the reason he is feeling frustrated is because of his inability to explain his emotions and thoughts clearly. 

    • Remain calm. This sounds like the easiest to do but it is actually the hardest thing for a parent to do when confronted with a screaming, kicking, biting, and wailing child. However, if you also end up yelling at your child, this will just reinforce to your kid that his actions are correct. 
    • Redirect attention. If your child is starting to throw a tantrum, redirect his attention elsewhere. You can ask him for help with something, point to an object in a different direction that will grab his attention, or ask him to do something that will take his mind off what triggered the tantrum. 
    • Relocate. If you are in a public place, bring your child to a more private area without saying anything and wait for him to pipe down. If you are unable to bring him to a more private area, wait for him to settle down on his own. Do not give in simply because you are in a public place. If you do, your child will start acting out more because he now knows that you will reward his behavior when there are other people. 
    • Praise. When your child has finally calmed down, figure out what triggered it and when your child is able to finally relay what he was trying to say, praise him. 
    • Consistency is very important to a toddler so make sure that you set a daily routine so that your child knows what to expect. 
    • Limit choices that you give to your toddler. If your child feels overwhelmed by so many choices, he or she may lash out. 
    • Reassure your child that you love him. This is the most efficient way of dealing with the terrible twos. 

    Though the terrible two stage can be very challenging, what you need to remember is that this is a healthy part of your child’s development. They are learning about themselves, the world around them, and they are learning what is right from what is wrong. Guide them and help them in dealing with the terrible two stage and soon, you will be able to pass it.

    Learn more about the toddler years, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Written by

    Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

    General Practitioner

    Updated Feb 02, 2021

    advertisement iconadvertisement

    Was this article helpful?

    advertisement iconadvertisement
    advertisement iconadvertisement