Manuela’s terrible two

20 JANUARY 2017

Today I feel the need to share confessions that I think many of you, as mothers and fathers, will relate to, concerning this phase with our children. And, as the saying goes, “misery loves company”…

My daughter Manuela’s terrible two phase is stretching into the terrible threes. This expression is used to refer to the early stage of childhood that arrives around the age of two, when they begin to recognise themselves as individuals, the range of their personality flourishes and tantrums begin to take a hold of them. The conflict between their relation of dependence on adults and their own independence begins. They are at a loss as to how to manage the emotions that are overwhelming them and they challenge you with tantrums, disobedience, shouting, refusing, pushing the limits,… I try to put myself in my daughter’s shoes and I imagine that it is not easy for her to change from being a baby to being a little girl. She is discovering that her body responds to her orders, she can pick up and let go of objects when she wants, she can run, jump,… and she can communicate and be understood. What she most loves to do is to do things by herself. “By myself, mummy” is my little Viking’s favourite phrase.

Manuela already knows that certain behaviour is expected of her, and when she is not able to meet those expectations, she gets frustrated and so do I. I would say that her personality has been defined since early on: energetic, observant, talkative, independent before her time, and boasting an excellent mastery of vocabulary. In short, an overwhelming personality that makes it much more difficult to manage now that she finds herself in this explosion of emotions and discovery. About to turn three, I have a little woman at home who challenges me and forces me to observe and learn. And I confess that for me it is not always easy to be patient; it is precisely that which I most strive to achieve every day.

I am learning to manage the mini crises by redirecting her attention and even at times choosing to ignore them to avoid conflict, two tools that most of the time work for me. They’re not the panacea, they don’t always give me the desired result, but I think I’m on the right path… Below I’ll share other resources that also help me; if you have children around they might be of some assistance:

The first thing I try to do is remind myself that I am the adult and I have more resources; basically, I try not to get down to her level and control my own emotions. A lot of the time, if Manuela is irritable it is because she has not had enough rest; so I try to respect her hours of sleep. For example, if I pop out to run errands with her during her nap time, I make sure I take the buggy and her soother with me. This tip might seem very obvious, and only requires common sense, but sometimes we are so focused on our chores that we lose sight of the natural rhythm of our children.
Another time is when Manuela begins saying no and disobeying. At these times, I try to remind her of all the other things she does well and I compare her good behaviour with the current conflictive behaviour so that she knows that there is a better option. In general, it tends to work better if I talk to her in positive terms than in negative terms and by inviting her to reflect.
I also try to identify her need to burn energy when we have been shut away at home for a long time, in the car, or sitting at the table eating. We have to bear in mind that the nature of children drives them to move and play; they need it.
Lastly, I never use threats that I know I won’t be able to carry out. I let her know that there is no bartering and I try to explain why. When she doesn’t understand, I remain firm but caring, put on a brave face and, above all, stay patient.

Blessed patience, I hope that you always remain with me and that this doesn’t stretch in to the terrible fours…

V.

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Manuela’s terrible two Today I feel the need to share confessions that I think many of you, as mothers and fathers, will relate to, concerning this phase with our children. And, as the saying goes, “misery loves company”… My daughter Manuela’s terrible two phase is stretching into the terrible threes. This expression is used to refer to the […] http://www.vanesalorenzo.com/en/2017/01/manuelas-terrible-two/ Today I feel the need to share confessions that I think many of you, as mothers and fathers, will relate to,... https://tinyurl.com/yxbechc7 http://www.vanesalorenzo.com/en/2017/01/manuelas-terrible-two/