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How Not To Deal With The Terrible Twos And Beyond

Updated on October 28, 2016

When my daughter was a year, many warned about the terrible twos. There were varying encouragements to enjoy the infancy and pre-two times. In numerous social settings, parents with teenage children would comment on how they missed the toddler stage and expressed regret on not appreciating their children’s younger years. The overall message from parents were regrets about parenting skills, and upon reflecting on these regrets many, including myself, wished that parenting classes, virtual or in the classroom were available prior to baby’s arrival.

The Dread Of A Confirmed Pregnancy

At the confirmation of my pregnancy, by the dreaded blood test, I recalled the constant fear. There was a debilitating dread of raising a child, the fear of dropping baby, and the fear of causing eruptible damage to a human being. A year after having the baby, the routine of infancy care kept interrupting these fears. There were diapers to be changed, bottle to fix, and sleep to be had. Therefore, the fears were frequently pushed behind life’s daily return. Nevertheless, as one year lead to two, the fears resurfaced and the constant thought of how to be a good mother gnawed at the daily care of my daughter. As I frequent grocery or department stores, and observed with my daughter in hand, parents with screaming infants, tantrum throwing toddlers, and defiant children the difficulties of parenting intensified my fear. The horror stories turned real helped me realize what not to do as a parent. Below are some of these stories of parenting gone bad.

Stop The Crying

In the department store a mother of a toddler in a desire to prevent her daughter from running up and down the store aisle, smacked her bottom. Of course, the tears came immediately followed by howling. The mother’s response to this behavior was to yell at the toddler, “Stop crying”. In observing this interaction, and hearing the mother’s demand for the child to cease crying, it became apparent that this discipline was very unrealistic. How can you spank, or hit a child and expect them not to cry. Many parents make these type of impractical demands on various levels and degrees. They place unworkable expectations on their children and do not realize the level of resentment that builds up in a child as the result of such parenting. Parents unaware of the establishing of these bad relations can never seem to understand why their children continue to act out.

CC by Flickr Leaving behind the terrible twos and threes
CC by Flickr Leaving behind the terrible twos and threes | Source

Emergency Care

Sitting in the hospital emergency care waiting room were a family, mom, dad and three boys. It is never easy with boys they are naturally energetic. These boys sat and played appropriately with very little friction among themselves for about five minutes. It was a great picture, except un-expectantly, mom smacked the boy so hard that the sound vibrated the room. After the hit, she yelled at him, “I told you not do that”. The boy began to cry but stopped because he was probably recalling the stop crying demand of the pass. He stopped crying because he knew that if he did not more blows would follow. The cruelty of the discipline resonated within my mind for many months. It was shocking to see a parent hit a child so hard for so little.

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

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From The Headlines

This recap of parent child disciplinary interaction was in local news. Her son’s grades consist of mainly “Fs". He frequently did not attend classes and when he did, he disrupted the classroom. His mother, according to the news report, said she just did not know what to do about her son and his bad grades. She relayed that she punished him by withholding his games, and spanking him but nothing seem to work. Consequently, she decided that if she had him stand at the side of the road and hold a sign that read, “I am flunking out of high school”, her son would get better grades. When this news flashed across the television screen the feeling of humiliation, hurt and anger permeated the room. Public humiliation is never a good idea when it comes to disciplining or motivating a child. Love should always cover your child’s entire shortcoming. This, however, does not mean that your ignore the problem

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

Making Changes

We are all guilty of making these and many other parenting mistakes, most of us with penitent spirit work at making the necessary adjustments to be better parents. The first step to change, as per Chris Thompson, begins with changing how we talk to our children. Chris Thompson, a certified NLP Practitioner and parenting expert, aver that speaking to our children in a positive manner will alter their negative or disruptive behavior. He further asserts children response best to positive directive; their behavior reflects on the words articulated by their disciplinarian. When you say, “Don’t fall” to your child, expect that he will. In an attempt to prevent the child from falling say instead, something like, please sit and be safe. This positive communication will result in a positive outcome.

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

Our Actions Their Response

As parents, we should remind ourselves daily that our children are people too. Their feelings get hurt, they feel stress, loneliness, unhappiness and yes frequently unloved. Unfortunately, they, our children are not always able to communicate when these emotions surface. Consequently, they act out from an inability to verbalize what bothers them. Hence, as we interact on any level with our children it is important to establish a good rapport with them. The more we acknowledge their emotions; it will develop a better and stronger parent child bond. If all you say to a child is “no”. Then eventually he will feel what he wants does not matter, and ultimately he will internalize that he does not matter. When children know that they do matter in the home, they move toward positive interaction with every member of the family.

Parenting by nature infer failures but when love plays the main role, failures, and other mistakes take a backseat role. When we love and respect our children during disciplinary actions, from toddler to beyond these attributes will reflect in their behavior.

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