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Surviving the Terrible 2s. Part 2

“Expect the worst, and you’ll get the worst,” said Nelsen, who hosts an extensive parenting Web site called Positive Discipline. “People spend so much time dreading this age that they miss all the great things their child is doing. Parents need to focus on the positive things going on — not just the negatives.”

These positives may include your 2-year-old now wanting to dress herself or pick out her own toys or books; or telling you she’d rather have pasta — not peanut butter and jelly — for lunch.

A Penn State University study backs up Nelsen’s claims about attitude. Researchers there discovered that most cases of the terrible 2s have more to do with parents’ behaviors than a child’s natural tendencies. Parents who say “No” all the time, get easily aggravated, scream and, in general, have a negative attitude, spark the same kind of behavior in their child.

“I ask parents, ‘Where did your child learn to say no?’ ” Nelsen added. “Most then realize that it was from them saying ‘No’ all the time. So the next time you catch yourself about to say ‘No’ to something your child is doing, bite your tongue.”

Then, try one or more of the following techniques:
Distract your child. Redirect her toward another activity, like reading, playing music or going outside.
Quietly remove him from where he’s causing trouble. If he’s at the library or the park and bites a friend, take him home. Remember the saying, actions speak louder than words.
Explain the rules. Don’t say no without telling her why. It’s unfair and unhelpful.
Give in sometimes. You’ve got to pick your battles. As long as your child’s not in danger of hurting himself, or someone else, give him the chance to make some of his own decisions and do his own thing.

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