terrible twos

We love to watch them grow, and we can’t wait for them to start talking and walking… But soon the so-called ‘terrible twos’ will arrive!

This popular name refers to the time our toddler celebrates his or her second birthday, which is more or less the same time he will start throwing tantrums and becoming a little bit difficult. 

There are exceptions, of course, but the terrible 2s have not that much to do with how well we’ve raised our little one (although it’s important to set up rules and stick to them). Our sweet toddler will probably become a terrible two child, and get the word “no” tattooed in his or her mind. Don’t worry, it’s a stage – and we’re going to tell you all about it.

Why the terrible twos?

You may be wondering what got into your formerly sweet child, but there is a very simple explanation for the terrible twos. Up to now, your little one relied on you for everything: you were their care provider, the centre of their life. Well, you still are, but now your child is starting to fully develop his or her personality, and is going to struggle with the desire of independence. This comes with temper tantrums, mood changes and lots of no’s!

And will the terrible twos last a whole year? Sometimes they will, and sometimes not. As you know every child is different and all of them have different development paths. The terrible twos won’t come the morning of their birthday, but maybe a month before, a month after, or even further away from the B-day – and they may last a whole year, more, or less than that. The terrible twos can become terrible threes as well, so you can’t really have an agenda. But you know what to do after around two years of parenting: Load up with patience!


Dealing with terrible twos

The terrible twos will make you learn new parenting techniques. It’s important to understand what your child is going through, but you will also need to manage it. Here you have some terrible twos advice:

  • Set rules… Kids need to have some rules so they can understand what they’re allowed to do – and those rules need to be established early on! Setting rules doesn’t mean reprimanding them, just explaining them. Besides, your little one will be more likely to follow them if he understands those rules. Try explaining that he can’t eat chocolate before dinner because otherwise he won’t be hungry for the yummy dinner you’re preparing. An explanation always works better than a ‘no’!

  • … And stick to them: A very important part of terrible twos discipline is to stick to the rules you set. If your toddler isn’t allowed to jump on the sofa, stick to it, even those times when you are too tired to argue with him. Pushing boundaries is a natural thing for children to do, and your little one will try to find that soft spot on you. It may be you being tired; it may be him crying – so try to avoid it. ‘No’ means ‘no’, and if it sometimes means yes, your toddler will be confused about the rules.

  • Respect and praise their independence: The terrible twos mean that your little one is changing! We try to educate our children as well as we can, and to teach them good values that they can apply throughout their life. However, we can’t shape their personality to exactly what we want – which is a good thing! As long as your toddler isn’t breaking the rules you’ve set for your household, it’s always good to praise his newfound independence and initiative. He’s growing, and he’ll like that you acknowledge that.

  • Get ready for tantrums:  Yes, one of the main characteristics of the terrible twos are temper tantrums – actually, they’re the main reason why we call them terrible twos! Whenever he does it, try to remain calm, don’t shout or be angry, and don’t make fun of him either. Wait for the tantrum to pass, and then calmly explain why what he did was wrong. If the tantrum takes place in public, try to pick your toddler up and bring it to a quieter place. It will save you a difficult time in public and it will help him calm down. Of course, avoid giving in and “bribing” your toddler with candies or presents so he stops the tantrum – Or he’ll know what to do to get a gift!


The most useful tip you can receive while dealing with terrible twos, and for motherhood in general… Is to be patient! Set a good example for your toddler and try to remain calm, even if he’s throwing the most outrageous tantrum in the supermarket. You screaming too won’t help at all, and will attract even more looks. Keep in mind that all parents have had to deal with tantrums at some point, so people are more likely to be sympathetic than judgy.


So, are you ready for your toddler’s terrible twos? Well, don’t worry if you aren’t – No parent ever is! But this stage will pass too, so load up on patience and try to think about it as a good thing: Your little one is growing and has a personality of his own that makes him unique.