If you came here for advice, you have come to the wrong place. Unfortunately my kid turned 2 and I am not quite sure what happened to the sweet little baby boy I've been raising since 2016. This new guy is quite strong-willed, independent, super loud (current nickname: pterodactyl) and doesn't understand the word 'no'. He won't do anything he doesn't want to do, has an obsession with shoes (won't even let me take them off for nap time or bath time) and likes to launch his toys across the room in frustration.
I feel completely overwhelmed and unsure how to handle this "new" toddler. He had always been so calm and chilled, he always listened to us and was well behaved. Now we suddenly have a 'two'nager who gives us dirty looks (payback for me because I am the queen of dirty looks) and screams so loudly that I apologised to the neighbours with a bottle of wine.
As a parent, it is my duty to try and better understand this new behaviour better. So here's what I have found:
WHY IS MY CHILD BEHAVING LIKE THIS?
1. It is a combination of things. Firstly, it is important to remember that the tantrum does not define the child. As quickly as they begin, they end. Tantrums do not at all mean that your child is going to have a difficult personality, or going to be moody for the rest of his/her life. This is a hard one for me to remember. I keep thinking: Will Nunu be like this forever? More than likely, the answer is no. This is a passing phase.
2. Tantrums stem from poor communication skills. Your two year old is desperate to tell you something important but lacks the communication skills to convey the message. I know Nunu is easily frustrated with his limited vocabulary.
3. Tantrums are also the way your toddlers express themselves, especially when frustrated with a challenge. It could also be that they are tired, thirsty, hungry... A number of things that could also easily cause an adult to be moody. We forget that toddlers are also humans and also have different moods throughout the day.
4. Immature emotional skills are another cause for tantrums. Feelings such as anxiety, fear and worry are unknown and difficult for your toddler to navigate.
HOW TO HANDLE THESE TANTRUMS:
1. BE CALM. I am naturally loud. My first reaction was to shout. This didn't help. Nunu went more mental. I am going to try and stay very very calm. Even if wine is needed to assist in this mission, I will stay calm.
2. DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. Do not cave. Do not negotiate. Oh my word, this is a hard one. When in public, I feel like I need to get his screaming under wraps ASAP. Those judgy eyes and disapproving glances make me break out in a hot sweat. It is difficult, but I also know that if I negotiate/cave that he is going to remember this: TANTRUM = MOMMY GIVES IN.
3. PRAISE GOOD BEHAVIOUR. This is important. Toddlers seek attention - whether positive or negative. Remember to also give praise when your toddler is practising good behaviour.
4. TIME OUT. I have mixed feelings about this one. I feel like Nunu is too young to understand what 'time out' is all about. If you have immature emotional intelligence and struggle with communication, what are they internalising 'time out' as? I am all for this mode of consequence when they are older, able to communicate effectively and have developed better self-control strategies.
5. DISTRACT THEM. I have become a professional clown. The moment Nunu shows signs of a meltdown, I pull out a toy, some food or a book. It doesn't always work - sometimes the item gets launched across the room... But more than often it works and he calms down.