Everyone jokes about the “terrible twos” but if you’re in this phase of parenting, you know it’s really no joke. Two year olds are incredibly cute but they can be incredibly difficult.

Navigating this season is more a battle of wills than it is anything else – so when you are in this phase of parenting, keep the concept of “survival of the fittest” in mind. I always tell moms, “you only need to last one second longer than your toddler,” but that second can feel like an eternity!

During this stage of development, your child is testing you and trying to figure out where the boundaries are. You would be wise to show them early on exactly where your line is and take the guesswork out of the equation. If they know and understand there are unpleasant consequences for a certain behavior, they will (eventually) give that behavior up. When they push against your boundaries, remind yourself that your child is not a little monster. At this age, they are just trying to figure out who is boss.  Of course they want to be the boss, but don’t let their smart, cute behavior fool you: toddlers make terrible bosses. YOU are the boss mom.

Once you’ve established clear boundaries for behavior, you’ve got to be consistent. Consistency is key! Have your say match your do moms. If you threaten to leave the park because of a certain behavior, you have to follow through the next time they do that behavior. If you are not willing to carry out a consequence, then don’t issue a threat. Kids can smell a bluff from a mile away.

If temper tantrums are not attractive at age two, can you imagine what they look like at age ten? Push through them at two and you will be glad you did. For any moms out there who haven’t experienced the terrible twos who might be thinking your child is the angelic exception… all I can say, is don’t count your chickens before they hatch, the terrible three’s can be worse.

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