Dealing with the terrible twos, or not maybe!?

Oh dear, I fear the terrible twos are here. (Woah, that rhymed!) For the last couple of week’s Miss Belle has been different. Shouty. More stroppy. More hitty (I know not a word but you know what I mean.) She’s gone from my sweet little girl into a fierce defiant toddler. Her latest thing is to shout at me and say “NO! Mummy! MINE!!!” It’s wearing thin. I’ve written before about how she went through a biting phase. She did briefly get better at it, but it’s been getting worse again recently. And now we have the hitting and grabbing thrown in. With the “NO! MINE!!!” Sigh. I’m not dealing with the terrible twos very well…

A new low

Last week we (literally) hit another low. My beautiful, sweet girl, who I love more than life itself, hit another little boy at a toddler group. On the head. With a toy pan. For no reason. I was mortified. There they were sitting next to each other chucking blue rice about when all of a sudden she just whacked him on the head with it. He didn’t cry but he ran off to his Mummy who scowled at me. I apologised and immediately told her off. I told her to say sorry like we do at home. And she didn’t! Oh the shame!! She bloody well knows to say sorry, it’s the first thing she says when she does it at home. Why, WHY in that moment did she refuse!? Now I look like the mother who can’t control her child OR encourage her to say sorry! Sob!

How should I be dealing with the terrible twos?

With the biting, we’ve always told her off straight the way and put her in her cot, when we’re at home. But when you’re out and about you can’t do that. And if I did that every time she tried to pinch me or hit me, I’d be worn out. At the playgroup I told her if she did it again we’d go home and luckily for her, she didn’t. (I would have quite liked the excuse to leave at that point!) At her two year review the health visitor told me to go down the ‘reward for good behaviour route’. I told her if she was good and didn’t bite me, we could watch The Gruffalo at tea time. It worked. For two whole days. But then we’ve had a week of hitting and grabbing and biting again. The worst on my Mum’s tummy (sorry Nana!). And now this!

How long does it last?

I’ve been finding being at home harder over the last few weeks. Lonely, bored and fed up with dealing with the terrible twos. I know the days are long but the years are short, yada yada yada… but man, dealing with toddlers is hard work!

I don’t mean to be all ‘woe is me’ about it. Yes she’s only two. She doesn’t mean it, she’s a toddler! Loads of toddlers push, shove and hit. I know this is probably just the terrible twos and some kids just go through this “phase”. But surely not mine!?!?! Help me! What do I do? Nothing seems to be working and I am finding myself crying most days (on my mum, or my friend, or alone in the car) by 10am or 11am. When she’s lovely she’s so lovely. But when she’s a monkey, she’s, well, I won’t swear, but… Put it this way, I never knew what FML stood for before I read the Hurrah for Gin book and I had to Google it. Well, today, FML.

Anyone got any advice on dealing with the terrible twos? Answers on a postcard please….

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44 Comments

  1. 6th March 2017 / 9:16 pm

    I thought FML was ‘for my life’ – I guess I’m wrong??!! You’re doing great. For the very fact that you are concerned and upset by her behaviour, you are doing great because you’re a concerned mum who wants to teach her child to behave well. It is wearing though, I understand. Hang on in there. You’re doing all the right things xx

    • thisismenow
      7th March 2017 / 8:38 am

      Ah thanks so much. I just feel like I don’t know what to do and whatever I do doesn’t work! Thanks so much for your lovely comment xx

  2. 7th March 2017 / 3:59 pm

    My daughter is going through the same ups and downs too. There was a 3 week period around her second birthday where it was almost like someone had swapped out my child. I really struggled…and I got to escape to the office 3 days a week. You must be going barmy with no break. It’s so, so tough. I guess the thing to remember is that deep down most parents understand that another child hitting their kid on the head doesn’t immediately equal bad parent. 99.9% of parents will suffer at the hands of their own 2 year old.

    I’ve got no words of guidance as I’m living the highs and lows myself right now. I’m just really trying to breath through it to be honest. Writing about it is helping. I recently wrote a post ‘Love does not always mean like…but that’s okay!’ off the back of my own personal introduction to Terrible Twos. I guess lean on your friends, family and fellow bloggers. And just be as patient as you can and as consistent.

    Remember if it all gets too much then put her in her cot and leave her for 5 minutes so you can calm down. Even if she screams you can put ear plugs in and get a cuppa! I’m serious… #DreamTeam
    Angela Watling recently posted…Five Favourite Finds #10My Profile

    • thisismenow
      7th March 2017 / 4:33 pm

      Ah thanks so much for your lovely comment. It does help having solidarity with others!! I know deep down she’s lovely and actually today she’s been pretty good so far. She’s had a decent nap last 2 days and I’m sure that helps as she’s better when not tired. Thanks so much and hope you manage the struggle too! Xx

  3. 7th March 2017 / 6:14 pm

    We have been in this phase for a while, the biting started before he was 2 (thankfully seems to have passed) but we have lots of hitting and shouting now. At present school he got a toy pan and clobbered the nursery teacher over the head on a settling in day – mortified isn’t the word! I did actually take him home from a playgroup a few weeks ago for continuing to hit after a warning, mainly because I had to carry it through. I am a primary teacher by profession and I had to sit and have a really good think about whether I was acting how I would as a teacher. I realised that whilst I school I always used positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviour, catching them doing something “good” but also totally normal so that they were getting more attention for the right choices rather than the wrong ones. I’ve been trying it with Arthur and it’s def helped. Things like reminded him how kind he was and praising him for sitting really nicely, or walking carefully, talking quietly etc, doing good sharing. Also, reminding myself that he is only 2, it’s totally normal and won’t last forever x #twinklytuesday

    • thisismenow
      8th March 2017 / 9:48 am

      Oh thanks so much for your really thoughtful comment. I’ve tried to do the positive reinforcement thing but perhaps I need to make more of an effort to do it more, so it out weighs the negatives about the bad behaviour. This is really helpful so thanks so much for reading and sharing your experience x

  4. 7th March 2017 / 11:03 pm

    We joke that our daughter does 0 to psychopath in 3 seconds. Like yours, most of the time she is delightful to be around, but for those few times that she plays up, it’s so hard to handle! She is so determined and there is no backing down – always in front of people too. She went through a biting phase at nursery that seemed to stem from older ones taking toys she’d be playing with, or just having ones she wanted. I guess she just couldn’t quite communicate it and bit out of frustration. To reassure you, it didn’t last long. The stubborn screaming fits seem to be lasting a bit longer, but I find that the best way to deal with it is not to react with a blow up. Just calmly remove her (or me) from the situation and without shouting explain to her that it’s not OK and she can’t have / do x until she stops screaming. I find myself telling her that we’re not having “a screaming day” most days, but those ones seem to be slightly less fraught! I’m really hoping it’s just a phase too! Good luck! #twinklytuesday

    • thisismenow
      8th March 2017 / 11:07 am

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Yes we’ve not had too much screaming but the “No! MINE!” is a bit like that. She woke this morning calling my name so I went to get her from her cot and the first thing she said was “no!” – joy!! Thanks for your advice and good luck too! x

  5. 8th March 2017 / 4:18 am

    Aw, Susie, so sorry that you are going through some tough times. I know it’s not helpful when people say ‘it’s normal’ because you just feel like it will never end! But it really will honestly. Just keep trying to reward the positive behaviour, bring her up on the negative when needed, but try not to draw lots of attention to it. Sometimes I think it’s helpful to ignore any low level negative behaviour if you think they are doing it for attention. We had a similar thing with Little M at age 3 and I was taken by surprise because we had sailed through 2 – ha ha! Now he has settled down a ton, although we sometimes have moments when he gets tired. Definitely make sure early nights and naps are happening that will help. And make sure you get time for you! Every child is different, but I really found that being positive was the only thing that has made a difference in M’s behaviour. It just took a lot of time and patience!! Hang in there! x
    Rosie @ Little Fish recently posted…Living Arrows 2017 – 10/52My Profile

    • thisismenow
      8th March 2017 / 11:06 am

      Thanks Rosie, yes I’m going to try that route. It’s no fun for either of us constantly telling her off. Yesterday she was a lot better and I went overboard with the positive reinforcement and she had a two hour nap which I’m sure helps! It’s all a learning curve, especially learning to have patience which I don’t have a lot of! xx

  6. 8th March 2017 / 10:24 am

    We didn’t have terrible twos but we did have a threeager #familyfun

  7. 8th March 2017 / 1:53 pm

    Sending you virtual tea, wine and sympathy. We’ve hit toddlerhood, hitting, “MINE”, here too. I look after her full time and I definitely find some (most/all?!) days I want to quit, unfortunately I cant find a sucker to take my place. Getting a break in whatever way is practical for you, deep breaths, knowing it’s going to get better, and focusing on the adorable, funny and kind are my old tips. And wine. #bloggersclubuk
    jo recently posted…CBeebies Book Club: Who is Flop & other crucial questions…My Profile

    • thisismenow
      8th March 2017 / 2:18 pm

      Yes, all the wine!! Thanks for your comment and the sympathy! X

  8. 9th March 2017 / 12:31 am

    I used to feel like I had to justify that Amelia said sorry all the time at home when she would refuse to do so in public. But looking back, find me a 2-year-old who will pop over to another child and sing “sorry mate!”. Doesn’t happen much, and it’s ok because they’re 2! The terrible two’s hit us late (http://mummymamamum.com/2017/03/08/smug-parenting-tantrums/) and manifested more in tantrums than anything else, but I vividly remember everything you’ve described at one point or another, and it getting really frustrating. Positive reinforcement works well for us, but I’ve also taken some less positive action too! I bit Amelia once – before everyone freaks out, it wasn’t hurtful in any way, and I pre-warned her (we had a whole convo about how teeth feel in your hand when someone bites you) I wasn’t sure that it had sunk in to be honest, but she’s never bitten since. Not s route for everyone, I’m sure, but worked here. X

  9. 9th March 2017 / 9:06 am

    I have just entered the threenager stage… the two’s are nothing! I really don’t know what has happened to my lovely little lad and I think I have cried more in the last few weeks than I did in the whole of last year! #ablogginggoodtime

    • thisismenow
      9th March 2017 / 11:27 am

      Oh nooooo don’t tell me this!!! Haha, good luck xx

  10. 9th March 2017 / 2:09 pm

    Oh it’s such a difficult stage. They’re just testing boundaries all the time, and sometimes it just feels never-ending. My heart really went out to you as I read this.

    My best strategy for the terrible twos is to give them as many controlled choices as you can (e.g. if they won’t hold your hand to cross the road, say “do you want to hold my right hand or my left hand?”). It doesn’t work every time, but sometimes giving them a bit of choice helps them feel more independent.

    But I’ve been in that situation where your kids just lash out and it feels awful. I was at a baby group this morning and my 2yo just pushed another child over for no reason. Aaargh! I hope it improves for you soon #ablogginggoodtime
    Lucy At Home recently posted…When Discrimination Strikes: The Curse Of Being TallMy Profile

  11. 9th March 2017 / 3:09 pm

    When I adopted my little girl, we definitely regressed into the terrible two, and then rapidly into the three-nager stage which I think we might be stuck in still maybe with some terrible twos thrown in. It’s definitely a development phase around control and identity discovery. Good luck! It will pass, but wait till you get to the three-nager stage! That’s something!

    • thisismenow
      10th March 2017 / 9:13 am

      Hahha oh man everyone says 3 is worse! Waaaaah! Thanks for reading x

  12. 9th March 2017 / 5:36 pm

    Sending you hugs and buckets of wine. It does get better. What I found helped was by trying to have a reason to go out each day. So whether it be to a coffee shop, play date or playgroup etc. I just found that if I was out and about and keeping them occupied then they were less likely to have as many tantrums. It was also good knowing that we had something to look forward to each day. She might be a bit young but also try and praise the good behaviour and not react to the bad behaviour. Easier said than done, I know! :- )x

    • thisismenow
      10th March 2017 / 9:12 am

      Ah thanks hun, yes we went out yesterday actually and she was much better (and got tired out running around so had a decent nap). She’s definitely better when less tired so I’m trying to make sure she gets a good sleep. I’ll keep up with the praising good behaviour (it’s so boring though and I sound a right muppet in public… oh well done sweetie, oh that’s so kind, oh thank you, oh that’s so lovely that made mummy really happy…! It goes on and on! Hahaha does that make me terrible!!)

  13. 9th March 2017 / 5:46 pm

    I don’t really have any advice I’m afraid, but wanted to say you sound like a great mother, you clearly care so much and have so much love for your daughter. These things are so, so tough when you’re stuck in the middle of it but it will pass soon enough. I say just keep doing what you’re doing, focus on praising good behaviour and maybe try getting out as much as you can to ‘safe’ places like the park where she can burn off some energy? I know my two can become hard work at times when we’re in the house for too long! x
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  14. 9th March 2017 / 7:32 pm

    It certainly sounds like the terrible twos. As much as you don’t want to go out I found getting out the house really helped. That said, toddler groups were too stressful but with the weather showing signs of improving a walk around the park would work wonders. I found rewarding helped but you really have to stick with it. They can smell weakness!
    #SharingtheBlogLove
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  15. 9th March 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Ah near bless you – yes it can be mortifying when something like this happens at playgroup. I’m surprised the other Mum scowled – very unhelpful – one day her child will do it too! I don’t know that I have any advice and I know the whole it’s a phase thing is unhelpful but it is!!!! This is just frustration on their part. I’m surprised at the HV – not sure developmentally a 2 year old would REALLY get the consequence of a reward especially if it wasn’t immediate. I am so blase about this stuff – sorry – they will do it – we will be mortified – they will grow out of it….. I know that’s not helpful though hon. xx #familyfunlinky xx
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    • thisismenow
      10th March 2017 / 9:09 am

      Ah thanks for your lovely comment hun. Yeh I don’t know about the HV, I just did it because she said to, but to be fair it’s not exactly worked! I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing and just hope it passes quickly! xx

  16. 9th March 2017 / 10:45 pm

    With my son he became more defiant around age 2 but was never a hitter or biter. My daughter on the other hand is shocking. I have had to leave toddler group twice now because of her behaviour towards the other kids. One minute she’s playing away and being cute as can be, calling everyone ‘friend’, the next she’s screaming right in their face or hitting theme with whatever happens to be in her hand. She’s usually pretty good at saying sorry but the last time she flat down refused and I was mortified. I don’t really have any advice as I never experienced it like this with my first, but just to say you’re not alone. I know at this age it’s all to do with them learning more about their independence and what they can get away with but that doesn’t make it any easier to cope with x
    #SharingtheBlogLove
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    • thisismenow
      10th March 2017 / 9:08 am

      Thanks Alana, it’s good to hear I’m not alone, though I’m sorry you’re dealing with it too! They are such pickles aren’t they! My daughter was lovely yesterday…. which surely means I’m in for a cracker today or some day soon! It will pass… it will pass… it will pass! xx

  17. 10th March 2017 / 10:18 am

    I have no tips but I just enjoyed reading everyone’s tips in the comments at 20 months I’m starting to worry what 2 will be like! Good luck and keep smiling ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬
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    • thisismenow
      11th March 2017 / 4:44 pm

      Ha! Thanks Karen x

  18. 10th March 2017 / 11:44 am

    Oh honey, I feel you! That age is awful. Please don’t feel bad when your child hits another though, it is all part of growing up and learning boundaries, EVERYONE’S child will do it at some point. Have you tried something visual like a sticker chart? You could get a little notebook as well to take out and set her small goals ie no hitting,biting etc for 10 minutes and you get a sticker. Then you can lengthen it. Thanks for being a part of the #bigpinklink this week
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  19. 11th March 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Oh I totally understand! My advice is to ride it out – I promise it gets better! And it doesn’t last the whole year of being two either. My son was a terrible sharer when he was younger, really awful, and it made visiting my sister and my nephew (who is the same age and who we see a lot of) really stressful for a long time. Max was a pusher rather than a biter or whacker, and you could normally see it coming, but the resulting tantrum could last for ages – the boy had stamina! I don’t know when exactly it got better, but it did, and without me doing anything differently. It’s all part of learning how to handle their emotions, which is a big deal. The boys are just approaching 3 now and are the best of friends – we still have the odd moment, normally when they’re tired, but it’s so lovely to watch them play together. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • thisismenow
      12th March 2017 / 3:56 pm

      Ah thanks Katy, it’s good to hear that, hopefully this phase will be short lived! I am starting to know when it’s coming (usually taking something off her, stopping her doing something or taking her for a nappy change) so I am starting to distract her or talk it through more. Hopefully that will help. xx

  20. 11th March 2017 / 9:01 pm

    You have got this mama…you have got this. I am sorry that you are having to deal with it though. We totally skipped the terrible twos but we were totally trumped by a threenager and now a fournager! It was the first time as a mum that I felt totally helpless. I always found and still do, that when he’s been naughty and needs to apologise to someone in public, he just won’t. I think it’s something they all do so if that mother is expecting it, they obviously have an angelic child (not!). We never really had the hitting or biting or anything, we just get rude attitude! Just know that you are doing the best you can. I hope you’ve had lots of advice on here and know you are not alone. Whether it’s 2, 3, 4 or 10, we all have to deal with crap at some stage and we do all get through it. It might not feel like it at the time but you’ll come through this. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
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    • thisismenow
      12th March 2017 / 3:53 pm

      Ah thanks so much Lisa. Yeh I’ve had lots of good advice here which is nice. And I take comfort in the fact she’s only 2 and I don’t think she’s being mean on purpose.. I hear that comes later, waaaaah! Thanks so much xx

  21. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)
    12th March 2017 / 6:19 pm

    Ah i feel for you, we are in the terrible 2s with our little miss too and it is such hard work! We do the naughty spot which is working now (though to start with was horrible) for a lot of stuff. She still has insane meltdowns though and often over food she has decided she doesn’t like without trying. I’m really looking forward to the day she grows out of it I have to be honest! #twinklytuesday

    • thisismenow
      12th March 2017 / 6:39 pm

      Haha me too! Oh I’ve not thought of the naughty step, I thought she was too young for it? Thanks for reading x

  22. 12th March 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Aaah lovey, if I was with you I would hug you (if I was the hugging type lol). Seriously though, I hear you, my daughter seems to have reached the threenager early (she’s 2.5, or maybe its the terrible twos – or she’s just a brat) either way it is HARD!. Everything is NO, or MINE. Everything is a battle that I feel like I am losing and it makes for difficult days. Yes the years might be short but they don’t feel it when you are elbow deep in tantrums! I tell myself it is just a phase but it is a damn hard one. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun xx

    • thisismenow
      13th March 2017 / 6:50 am

      Ah thanks Hun. It’s just draining when it’s constant isn’t it!? Thanks for reading and hosting xx

  23. 13th March 2017 / 8:53 pm

    I hear ya! My youngest daughter is 2 years old and we have these tantrums. It is much worse than I had with my eldest daughter, or maybe I just remember it differently. I find that keeping her busy, distracting her and listening to her helps. I also don’t pander to it, I ignore a lot of it as she is testing the boundaries. Trying to get a rise out of me. It normally goes away a lot quicker then. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
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    • thisismenow
      13th March 2017 / 9:46 pm

      Thanks Laura, Yes I’m trying not to pander to it and to ignore the gentle irritating running into my leg and tapping me type stuff. It’s the harder, more meaningful, bite when I take something off her, that I’m struggling to ignore! #SharingtheBlogLove

  24. 15th March 2017 / 6:36 pm

    Tell you what – any advice you do get please send it over as my terrible twos have arrived early x
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime
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    • thisismenow
      15th March 2017 / 9:09 pm

      Hahah will do!

  25. 16th March 2017 / 12:22 pm

    It’s normally just a stage they go through, until they get onto the next ‘stage’. Honestly, it’s never ending and I wish I had something that I could tell you that someone else hasn’t said already. I really do feel for you, and hope that things settle down a bit soon. Thanks for sharing with the #dreamteam x
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    • thisismenow
      17th March 2017 / 3:13 pm

      Thanks Annette! x

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