Well, we are dealing with a terrible two alright! But it's not so bad, really. We, parents should just creatively work our way around the mood swings and tantrums while standing our ground all the while. Of course, we do these without forgetting to enjoy every moment. I mean, it's not all bad! The terrible two stage is not so bad, in fact, it's such a wonderful opportunity to create meaningful conversations and unforgettable activities with our little ones.
Your Attention is Key
"Mom, look, I have a trick!" "Mom, look at my 'silly face'!" "Look, I'm a doctor!" "Mom, I'm dancing ballet!"
Kids just love to show off their new tricks, new dance moves, new toys, new facial expressions, anything! K would often call me out whenever she sees me not paying attention and make sure I see her perform whatever new thing she's learned. Parents, please, put down those phones! Paying attention to our kids whenever they're asking for it is vital not only to avoid the sudden tantrums, but also to make them feel important.
I remember a few times when K would literally just snatch my phone away and say "Enough!" just to get my attention. Those were shameful incidences, I tell you. It made me feel really terrible and ashamed of myself. If there's an email you badly need to send or a call you have to make without the distractions, well, there's the bathroom! (*wink) Just excuse yourself nicely and do it quick, or an unceasing door knocking would force you out of it. And, yes, I do this. Works all the time.
Little Choices, Big Fulfillment
Allowing our kids to make their own choices is teaching them decision-making at an early stage. Moreover, being able to choose for themselves gives them fulfillment and some sense of autonomy. Of course, parents should decide on the big things, but the little ones, we can always delegate. It could be as small as what story to read at bedtime, what shoes to wear, or what toys to bring to the bath. These may be insignificant things to you, but to them these are big decisions. Of course, we always have to be there to feed them with the right bits of information when their choices seem to be quite off the beam.
Distract. Distract. Distract.
Kids love to always get what they want and when you don't allow them to, well, expect they'd make a scene. Kids can be so manipulative. They use their crying and their yelling to make you say 'yes' to what they want. The key to avoiding the tantrums is distraction. Try to shift their attention to something else. Works all the time, I swear. You just have to be creative about it to make sure the distraction is indeed more fun than the original prospect.
Encourage through Praises
Never overlook good behavior and make sure they get rewarded for it. Praises could be enough reward. Kids love praises. When I notice K throwing her trash on the garbage bag, shares her snacks, ask to wee or poo in the potty, drink her milk, or any other things that please me, I make it a point to praise her for it. That way she'll know which of the things she does are good. Be generous on the praises and make sure to point out her good deeds.
Pick your Battles
Kids being kids should not be given so much fuss about. I remember playing puzzles with K and she just kept on getting the wrong piece even though I've already given her so much hints on what to look for. I was starting to become impatient about it and my frustration almost got the best of me. I almost forgot it's only supposed to be just a fun game and not a race. I then just let her try to fit all the wrong pieces until she finally got the right one after so many tries. She was ecstatic about it!
Sometimes, we can be so controlling. We want to be the ones to have a say in all matters. We want to do things our way, our time. However, letting go of the ones that do not really matter and do not harm our kids can also be liberating at times. Of course, there are things that are non-negotiable, such as health and safety issues perhaps, but there are other things that we can take a step back from and let them take over. So, choose your battles wisely.
Prayer is Key
Praying for our kids is part of our responsibilities as parents. Our ministry starts with them. Laying our hands on our children in prayer makes so much of a difference. Teaching them how to pray is also essential. I love how K has a list of faith goals and we pray for them at bed time. Just a few nights ago, I got so touched when she prayed for me. She laid her tiny little hand on my tummy and prayed for Jesus to heal me. It was one of the most touching experiences in my life and I could not be more thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful daughter.