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10 Reasons The "Terrible Twos" Aren't So Bad (And 10 They're Harder Than We Thought)

Everyone likes to make jokes to parents about teenagers being moody and emotional due to all of the hormonal shifts. While it is no picnic raising a teen, the “terrible twos” are often just as bad, if not worse.

When my little sister was a toddler in the throes of the “terrible twos,” I was a precocious preteen that was completely baffled by her sibling’s bossy ways. The situation changed from my sister gladly following my lead when we played with Barbie dolls to her throwing a temper tantrum and flinging the dolls at me if she disagreed with the storyline I had come up with.

As the older sibling, I learned very quickly to have near catlike reflexes so that I wouldn’t get hit with flying toys.

Then, of course, was the embarrassing public temper tantrums that made me wish that the ground would open up and swallow me whole because everyone in the store was staring with wide-eyed interest at my little sister screaming at the top of her lungs and flailing herself around.

While many parents and older siblings shudder when they think of the “terrible twos,” there’s always a silver lining and the following list explores why this age can be both a blessing and a cursing when it comes to raising children.

First, let's look at why the "terrible two's" aren't as bad as we thought...

20 These Milestones Won't Last

Parents.com notes that while toddlers can be a handful at times, the milestones they achieve in their daily life won’t last forever.

At this age, they are blossoming into becoming their own little person and developing a personality that is 100% their own.

Once they are older, some parents might look back on these days and wish that they had paid more attention to how their little one was developing or that this particular stage hadn’t passed them by so quickly.

19 Toddlers Are Learning How To Say No

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The Bump points out that even though it can be frustrating dealing with a toddler that is constantly saying “no” all of the time, this is actually a good thing.

During the so-called “terrible twos,” a toddler is learning about concepts such as “no” and "mine,” which they didn’t really understand anything about as infants.

They’re learning how to communicate their own needs as well as realizing that their own needs or desires may clash with what their parents have in mind.

18 Your Kiddo Still Wants To Snuggle

Café Mom writes that another good thing about the “terrible twos” is that your child is still willing to snuggle with you after a meltdown and isn’t starting to shy away from a parents affection because it’s “uncool.”

I don’t recall much from my toddler years, but I do vividly recall being exasperated as a child whenever my parents or relatives wanted to snuggle or get a hug because I wanted to do my own thing. Parents, cherish these cuddly years because they won’t last.

17 Toddlers Are Easy Enough To Calm Down

Cafe Mom adds that even though children at this age are basically living an emotional rollercoaster ride, the one good thing about having a two-year-old toddler is that this shift takes place almost instantaneously.

I remember when my little sister was a toddler in the midst of the “terrible twos” and she’d throw a temper tantrum, but she was pretty easy to calm down. She basically went from flipping out to all smiles in five seconds or less.

As she got older though, it was a bit harder to calm her down and her tantrums grew longer.

16 They're Learning How The World Works

The Bumps writes that during this stage of their development, toddlers are learning very quickly about how the world works and their place in it.

Not only are children at this age improving their coordination and becoming better at things like walking or running around the house, but they’re also carefully watching their parents and emulating their behavior too.

It is pretty cool watching your little one become more self-aware and wanting to engage more with their parents and the people around them.

15 The Little One Is Learning Their Preferences

Parents.com points out that part of the fun of watching your little one grow up is that as a toddler, they’re learning that they now have the rudimentary communication skills to express their needs, thoughts, wants, opinions and desires—something they couldn’t do as well when they were infants.

They’re discovering that not only do they have preferences in what they want to eat, drink or wear but that they now have the language skills to express their desires to their parents.

14 Their Social Circle Is Starting To Grow

Café Mom notes that another perk of the “terrible twos” is that your child is starting to learn social skills and developing their own circle of friends. When they were younger, they couldn’t really communicate as well and didn’t have the coordination to run free at the park.

Now that they are a toddler, they’re discovering how to make friends. You can take them to the local park to romp with their friends and test their independence by climbing on the monkey bars or swinging themselves on the swings.

13 Your Little One Is Learning Empathy

Parents.com writes that during the “terrible twos,” children are starting to recognize their own feelings and understand that other people around them have feelings too. They’re getting better at being able to perceive and analyze other people’s feelings, which is pretty darn neat.

Plus, since toddlers learn empathy from their parents, you can use this time of their lives as a way to make sure they grow up to be compassionate and kind adults.

12 They Love To Express Themselves

Parents.com writes that by the time your little one is almost three years old, they are now capable of putting together three to five-word sentences and can express their opinions on anything under the sun.

It can be annoying when your toddler says that they think your cooking skills are lacking, but there’s some reassurance in your kiddo telling it like it us. Adults know how to politely lie and you don’t always know where you stand with them at times.

Toddlers in the midst of the terrible twos won’t lie and will bluntly speak their mind so you know exactly what they think and where they stand.

11 A Toddler's Creativity Allows Them To Think Outside Of The Box

Parents.com points out that as we get older, society naturally puts limitations on our creativity and we have to learn how to think “outside of the box” all over again.

One good thing about having a toddler is that they are full of raw creativity and imagination. They see things in a new light and can help their parents see the world from a different perspective.

Sure, it’s annoying when they take markers to the walls, but you can stave off their destructive tendencies by giving your child a sandbox or some chalk to draw in the driveway. This way, you can give their imagination free reign and marvel at what your little artist comes up with without the mess.

And now for the 10 reasons they're tougher than we thought...

10 Altercations With Other Kids At The Playground

Lucie’s List points out that one of the downsides of the “terrible twos” is that it seems as if they are getting into altercations with other children at the playground that make you want to sink into the ground due to sheer embarrassment.

Even though it’s disappointing when your kid starts behaving aggressively with their peers, child development specialists say that this is totally normal. Your little one will grow out of it once they grow up a bit and learn that they can communicate with words instead of their fists.

9 Sometimes, You Feel Like You're Listening To A Broken Record

The number of times a toddler wants to listen, watch, or read the same thing over and over again can drive some parents up the wall and understandably so!

For example, if your little one had it their way, they’d watch one episode of Sesame Street all throughout the entire day.

Lucie’s List adds that adhering to a strict daily routine might help to stem your toddler’s obsession with sameness and reassures parents that their little one’s desire to be a broken record is due to the fact that they’re learning how the world works.

8 Your Kiddo Testing Boundaries Means Testing Your Patience

To parents, it might sometimes seem like toddlers thrive on asserting their independence and giving them premature grey hairs by suddenly dashing ahead of them or disappearing in the playground when they were specifically told not to run off.

Lucie’s List writes that it’s totally normal for toddlers to drive their parents to distraction by testing their boundaries and push for more independence. It is certainly not the most pleasant aspects of raising a child, but the behavior is something everyone does when they are that age.

7 Some Toddlers Are Very Destructive

As a dog trainer, I’ve seen some pretty destructive puppies. Heck, my younger dog Zoe was a total pain to deal with when she was teething and loved to chew up my flip-flops or rip apart pillows on the couch. That being said, at least you can distract teething puppies and channel their destructive energy by giving them a Kong or another kind of food puzzle toy.

A destructive toddler, on the other hand, is 10 times worse than a teething puppy because they can sometimes be difficult to distract.

While many toddlers like to try their parent’s patience by drawing on the bathroom walls or trying to move a big rock in the backyard, Parents.com says that it’s normal for two-year-olds to have an adventurous spirit.

By allowing your little one to realize their strengths and limitations in an age-appropriate fashion, they’ll be less destructive inside the house.

6 They Become Bossy Seemingly Overnight

Going from the big sister of an infant that admittedly didn’t do much all day to being the big sister of a strong-willed toddler who was incredibly bossy and tried to make her bend to her will was quite the culture shock for me as a kid.

Very Well Family admits that it’s a normal part of toddler development for them to be bossy and try to get others to do their bidding. And this, even though their antics can be draining for parents and older siblings alike!

One way to stem the bossiness is by pulling them aside and correcting them with the language you want them to use. For example, if they demand cookies for dessert, you can pull them aside and tell them that the polite way of doing things is to say something like “May I please have cookies for dessert?”

5 Your Child Won't Stop Being Defiant

The Bump writes that one of the worst things about dealing with a toddler in the midst of the “terrible twos” is their defiant nature. They are constantly telling their parents and other relatives “no” or start wigging out from emotional overload for what feels like all day, every day.

Sure, their behavior is due to the fact they’re still learning the meaning of the word “no” and they’re starting to test boundaries. 

But it’s still extremely stressful for parents to deal with an obstinate little one that refuses to eat a meal they loved two weeks before or doesn’t want to go to their favorite playground anymore.

4 They Start Lashing Out During Temper Tantrums

I’ll be honest: my little sister was a total pain in the behind when she was a toddler. Since I was almost a pre-teen at the time, it was totally embarassing for me when she decided to have a meltdown and started lashing out with her hands and feet at my parents and me when we were out in public.

The Bump adds that many parents (and long-anguished older siblings) find the temper tantrums annoying, but points out that this occurs due to the fact that toddlers don’t have good impulse control.

However, they also caution parents to make sure they’re consistent in their handling of temper tantrums in order to nip this behavior in the bud.

3 Toddlers Are Emotionally Volatile

As the long-tormented big sister, my preteen self was, quite frankly, baffled at how emotionally volatile my younger sister was during her “terrible twos.”

I was certainly no picnic when I became a moody teenager, but her antics as a toddler definitely took the cake. The Bump admits that most parents and siblings get easily frustrated and confused at how a toddler will go from being really excited from seeing a cute dog walking on the street to screaming about how they don’t want to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.

However, they reassuringly add that this is all normal behavior and toddlers will (eventually) gain the impulse control they need.

2 Their Taste Buds Make Them Picky

Parents.com notes that it is pretty common for toddlers to suddenly turn around and become picky eaters due to the fact that they’re starting to learn that they now have the verbal skills to express their opinions.

Even though dealing with a picky child is totally normal for those in the midst of the “terrible twos,” it can be incredibly frustrating for parents because they aren’t sure of what to cook for meals for their little one due to their discriminating palate.

1 Your Child Becomes Demanding

Parents.com notes that one of the more frustrating aspects of raising a toddler is the fact that when they hit the terrible twos, they often start to become incredibly demanding.

For example, they might loudly proclaim that they want to drink chocolate milk for breakfast, while vehemently rejecting anything else.

Since their antics can be draining for parents and older siblings alike, one way to keep the bossiness at bay is by allowing them to make a choice, such as eating cereal or waffles for breakfast. This makes the toddler feel they have some control over their life.

References: Parents.comCafe Mom, The Bump, Lucie's List, and Very Well Family.

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