Disciplining 2 Year Olds Boils Down To Understanding and Options

Has your toddler hit the “terrible twos” stage? This stage in life can be both fun and exasperating for parents.  Now, there is a major difference between a one and two-year-old. When a child is just a year old, they are exploring the things around them – learning how to walk, talk, etc. One year olds are regarded as cute and easy to pacify and entertain. Toddlers at age 2, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. And, disciplining 2 year olds can be a real challenge.

Your two year old toddler is a great big ball of energy and emotions. One such issue parents deal with at this time is the temper tantrums they throw. Many parents wonder what the best way is to handle their toddlers.


Understand Your Toddler

When it comes to your two-year-old, you must first understand them. Remember, they do not have the ability, as an older child or adult does, to express their needs and wants easily. They are just learning about their independence. Couple these two things together and it can make for an explosive issue.

At this age, they have the desire to do things on their own because they know what it is they like and don’t care for. Maybe you’ve had the issue where they end up crying and throwing a major fit because they demand to do something and you don’t allow them? This is common but don’t forget that your child’s sentence structure and vocabulary is certainly better at this stage.

During this stage, children are more often emotional and frustrated. It doesn’t matter if your child can talk well or understands what people are telling him/her, the ability to communicate is still poor, which is why it can be a real challenge to parent a toddler.

When it comes to disciplining, you may think the efforts you put in are futile. Just remember, though, their behavioral issues stem from the fact that they cannot clearly express or communicate their feelings.


What Can Parents Do To Help Them Communicate

With that in mind, you may be wondering what things you can do to help the child communicate their needs and wants without a temper tantrum. There are a number of things you can try that will keep your toddler from becoming frustrated and throwing a tantrum:

1 – Talk to them on their level, making eye contact with them.

2 – When they’re talking, do not interrupt or complete their sentences for them.

3 –Narrate everything you are doing to boost their vocabulary and sentence structure, as they are extremely observant and can emulate your speech.


Provide Your Child With Some Options

There are many ways in which to stop a temper tantrum from taking shape. One teacher had no problems with her students. She said the children were not angels but did behave quite well. Language techniques like double binds and presuppositions works very well here.

One reason she had no problem was that she never demanded things of the children. When it was time for lunch, she’d always ask them to please wash their hands. Rather than telling children what to do, be sure you ask them to do something. Nobody like being told what to do. By asking them to do something, you prevent the bad behavior from occurring. You give them the tools they need to communicate while, at the same time, are patient.

When it came time to clean the classroom up, the teacher said she gave the kids a choice: either clean the room up themselves or she could help them. Most like the idea of cleaning up their toys without any help.  Of course, there were occasions where the teacher had to help but the kids learned their lesson: participate in the cleanup of their toys.


Another Option To Disciplining

You have some place to go and your child is not quite ready. You give them an option:

1 – Walk by themselves

2 – Carry them

Don’t look at the option as a threat. Rather, a choice for them to decide between. You will have instances where the child will not choose the “best” choice but you need to follow through with what you said you would do.

Be sure to express your feelings. If they make the right choice, let them know you are happy about it. If the choice they made is not a good one, let them know you are not happy with it.

It can be extremely difficult to discipline a child at this young age. But, with a little patience and time, it can be done. Just remember, all toddlers will test your patience as well as their boundaries.