If you’re currently in the Terrible Twos stage with your toddler, a mom on Reddit wants you to know getting through this difficult, tantrum-filled period might be as simple as changing your perspective.
In a post on the forum, the OP, a stay-at-home mom who goes by the username nannygirl10, revealed that her soon-to-be 2-year-old son is both “VERY active”—”climbing, running, jumping, pulling up on anything and everything he can find” ever since he started walking at 11 months—and very prone to “BIG tantrums.” It’s been so tough, she admitted to feeling “resentful” that she had such a “difficult” child, while all her parent friends seemed to have “easy ones.”
Her approach to parenting him and his behavior recently changed, however, thanks to an “aha” moment.
“I recently had a realization that literally all he wants to do is … HELP ME. It used to be SUCH a struggle to get him to do ANYTHING (get out of the fridge, stop going in the bathroom and turning on the sink, etc.). The past few weeks I have been letting him help do things like ‘OK, you shut the fridge,’ ‘OK, you turn the sink off,’ instead of just telling him ‘No’ and physically removing him,” she wrote.
And it’s been yielding amazing results. “I know this sounds so common sense, and I don’t know how I didn’t realize it sooner, but it has helped SO much. It has decreased his tantrums by like 75 percent, if not more, and we are both so much happier!!! Literally [I] can’t believe it took me so long to figure out that he wasn’t just being defiant, all he wanted was to be involved in things instead of being told what to do. I feel like a shit mom for that but at least I finally realized it. Hopefully this can help some of you who are struggling with the ‘Terrible Twos.’”!
In the comments section, many mentioned having similar revelations once they started allowing their little ones to help.
User willfulwizard said their 15-month-old daughter really cares about getting to carry one of the food items from the grocery store. “It doesn’t matter whether she REALLY helped or not; she was included. I forget all the time, but just letting her do something, anything, whether or not it was really a help can make her so happy! So she gets groceries, laundry, her dishes, or just letting her close and open doors. She always has a huge smile!”
For user roastedfox’s son, getting to press elevator buttons is a big deal. “My absolute favorite thing to see/offer is when young children press elevator buttons. The look of sheer despair on their face when a Big Human pushes a button before a Tiny Human can is so sad. Now that my son knows his numbers, it’s so satisfying saying, ‘Hey Buddy, can you please press number 3?’ ❤️❤️”
User inarticulative chimed in with a helpful tip of their own. “I try to remember before saying ‘No’ to think about why I’m saying ‘No.’ Am I saying ‘No’ because what they’re asking is dangerous or a bad habit etc.? (‘No, you can’t jump off the top of the playground. No, you can’t have a lollipop for breakfast.’) Or am I saying ‘No’ just because it will be quicker/cleaner/easier to do myself? If it’s the latter, then I find a way to say ‘Yes.’ If I must say ‘No,’ I explain why the answer is ‘No.’ It seems to have really cut the tantrums down.”
In user poltyy’s case, when their son’s behavior goes to the extreme, it might just mean he wants to help MORE or is ready to be more independent. “I have noticed in general that when my child is acting like a TOTAL ASSHOLE it usually means he is ready to move up to the next level. Whether that’s chores or learning life skills like dressing himself or making his own lunch or whatever. Right now he’s extremely ready for kindergarten and I’m ready to kill myself, he’s being so extra.”
User WomanNotAGirl, whose kids are now older, knows from experience that young children’s tantrums will subside when they’re involved and can help with chores. “We spend so much time trying to keep them away from things and finish what we are doing, it’s exhausting, until one day we realize if we just keep them involved they become the easiest children. My children are older now, but that’s all a little one wants to do. They live for our approval. They are observant and want to do the things we do. Once I had that epiphany, I got my children involved (they were young). If I did laundry I had them help me load and unload the dryer. If I was cooking I had them stir things (even if something didn’t need stirring). [Kids] take the greatest pride in doing ‘adult’ tasks. One of my kids has been cooking since they were 4. All my kids can run an entire household at this age. They could even host for 10 people or cook the entire Thanksgiving menu.”
Her last line is everything. “Parents, I’m here to say it gets better. Don’t work against the grain. Work with the grain.”