developmental milestones

Busting the Myth of the Terrible Twos

Of course there’s something like the Terrible Twos. There’s also something about Terrible Threes and so on and so forth. It would seem that every year of a child’s life brings new problems – problems or issues that continue all through life. But this doesn’t mean that one should just lie down and accept it. Quite the contrary.

This morning Little P was in quite a fractious mood. He’d just spent a lovely weekend on the beach with his parents and probably thought life was one big party. Hence he was in quite a funk this morning. When I didn’t see his curious eyes peeping over the dashboard, I knew today would be a rocky day. Sure enough, when his mother handed him over to me, she told me that he hadn’t had a bath and that I should give him one.

Now that didn’t seem too much of a tall order because Little P is a real water baby at heart. With the monsoon knocking at the door, the heat is getting more and more unbearable by the day so a chance to play in the water would be welcome.

Obviously I was wrong.

“Let’s have a bubble bath,” I suggested, a fun activity he loves and a sure-fire way to get him to the bath room.

“No”

“Ok, then let’s give the green tub a bath,” suggesting he make himself useful.

This time the NO came even more forcefully.

“Do you really want to be a piggy all day long?” trying another tack now.

“Yes” ( for the first time I was actually waiting to hear NO)

Finally shamelessly, I tried the never fail bribe “I’ll give you a surprise after the bath.”

NO NO NO NO NO as his eyes began to tear up.

Well, at this stage you’d probably say what’s wrong if he skips a bath?

Frankly, nothing but I thought it worth while getting him showered and changed only because he’d feel fresher. So I grabbed him and took him to the bathroom hoping he’d change his mind seeing his tub full of bubbles bath toys. To my surprise, he just wasn’t in the mood for a bath and I was in no mood to have any more negotiations so I just gave him a bath despite his protestations. It took all of two minutes where he really behaved as though his world was crashing down around him. I ignored his wails and quickly washed and dried him and dressed him before he could bring the house down.

It’s two hours now since his bath and he has settled down,playing happily with his toys. Did I damage his psyche forever? Not at all. Being terrible at two is a part of growing up. And as I mentioned at the start of this post, every year will have a new issue. The point is, that children need to be handled carefully. Without raising my voice, without raising my hand, I firmly went on with the task in hand – cleaning up baby despite his protests. 

From my own personal experience as a mother, I know that being firm doesn’t harm a child. Negotiations and arguments don’t always work – they land up making both the mother and the child exhausted. After all, the child is still a baby. Can his logic match yours? Just be firm and  bust the myth of the terrible twos. And will also help you deal with problems of the coming years too!

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