The Terrible Twos

Nathan’s Mumma says…

Tantrums, oh the joy. Terrible twos, what fun. Biting, kicking, pinching, yelling, smacking, face pulling, pouting…I could go on. All this in one day with my 18 month old son, yes you heard correctly. Nathan started the terrible twos early, and apparently some children never have them at all. Fortunately it’s not all of this every day, it usually is some of it. EVERYDAY. It’s exhausting. And the word ‘no’ seems to have become inaudible to him,

“no, don’t smack mummy”, “no, don’t pull the cat’s tail”, “no, you can’t eat that makeup”.

Alternatives to ‘no’ gratefully received. His current trick is to run from sofa to sofa, climb up, bounce and when I say “no, sit down” he does a very good impression of a trampolinist doing a seatdrop. I confess, I have already had to catch him once when he fell/jumped off the sofa. I didn’t appreciate the kick in the head that accompanied it mind you. Did he learn from this escapade? Did he eck…


So how do you know if it’s the dreaded TT or if they’re just testing out their skills?


  1. Screeching at the word ‘no’ in a voice loud enough to summon the departed
  2. Throwing things they’re playing with just because they’re annoyed it won’t do something
  3. Collapsing in a heap when they’re not allowed to do something (usually to ‘drive’ the car)
  4. Pouting or pulling a face when they don’t get their own way
  5. Telling you off for not doing what they want

According to research at the University of Minnesota, tantrums come in 2 groups.

  • Screaming-Yelling-Kicking
  • Throwing-Pulling-Pushing

There are many more TT behaviours, and each child is different in what sets them off and how they display it. They are often triggered by one or more of these three categories:


  1. Physical discomfort (tired, hungry, in pain)
  2. Emotional overload (fear, stress, boredom, excitement)
  3. Attention seeking (lack of patience, overstimulated)


SO… do you deal with it? Don’t laugh! It just makes them worse. Easy to say, hard to do. They look so funny pulling faces and sticking out their bottom lip. In our family we ignore him. We sit him on the floor and ignore him. It lasts only a few seconds of him wailing in protest before he gets bored and moves on. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll do something else soon enough but we take each instance of bad behaviour at a time.

  • Ignore the behaviour, no eye contact
  • Remove your child from the situation if necessary
  • Give positive attention when they’re good
  • Distract them during a mild tantrum

(PLEASE note that the bullet point advice is taken from experts in child behaviour, its by no means my secret solution to TT)


There are some great website out there to give you more advice than just my experience, we liked:

Books are also a great resource on this topic, especially:

New Toddler Taming: A parents’ guide to the first four years: The World’s Bestselling Parenting Guide

Making the “Terrible” Twos Terrific

Jo Frost’s Confident Toddler Care: The Ultimate Guide to The Toddler Years

How to Survive the Terrible Twos: Diary of a Mother Under Siege

Jo Frost’s Toddler SOS: Solutions for the Trying Toddler Years

(All available through

And all the time remember…it won’t last forever. I hope 😉

The List

3 thoughts on “The Terrible Twos

  1. Great advice. I have two children going through this right now (I’m a Mum of twins) and we certainly have good days and bad!!!! 🙂 Jess x


  2. Awww I feel for you – terrible twos are so hard! It was the terrible twos that got me intersted in child psychology at all so I guess for that I’m grateful… It’s so hard! The only thing that worked for us is, I woke up one morning and told myself I wasn’t going to say “No” anymore – I was going to try to tell them instead what I *DID* want them to do. The next time my daughter went for the toilet roll and started to pull it all off, I said “The toilet paper stays on the roll, but quick, can you roll it on like this? Shall we do it together?” Or when she went to dump something in the toilet, I’d ask her how fast she could run to put it somewhere, like on Mummy’s bed upstairs. Sometimes I still had to remove her from the situation, but more often than not I could think of a challenge to stay away from No. Lordy lord she kept me on my toes, and now I’m just approaching it with the next one! Yikes x


  3. Oooh very handy! We’re living this at the mo… I actually find whispering an instruction (e.g. if I’m brushing his teeth and he won’t open up or if he’s refusing to put his toys away, etc) gets a better response than yelling!
    Thanks for linking in to #TheList xx


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