Parenting children can often be described as a roller coaster ride. Following that analogy, parenting toddlers can be described as a blindfolded, upside-down, and moving in reverse roller coaster ride from hell. One moment your angels are eager to demonstrate their comprehension and responsibility, and the next they’re suddenly pushing limits in every way imaginable. There is often no middle ground, and the transition from a sweet baby to a shrieking banshee is almost instantaneous.
The emotional volatility of our toddlers coupled with their sudden insatiable desire to push our limits has at times driven wifey and I to the brink of insanity. Just yesterday, one of the girls was banging on the glass door. When asked to stop, her angelic smile became a mischievous grin, while she continued to bang the toy against the glass with even more vigor. How are we supposed to react? Each day is different, and what works one day does not always work on another.
I won’t lie, toddler twins have pushed us to a point where we often questioned our parenting abilities and methods, as sometimes there seems to be little to no improvement no matter what we try. Our frustrated voices and stern tones have done little to assuage the problem. So, what’s a parent to do?
When they were babies, there were few issues that we struggled to address effectively. Our backgrounds in psychology and natural skill sets equipped us to tackle each issue almost effortlessly. But the toddler stage has us stumped; however, when in doubt, there is always research!
Long story short here is what I found. Be patient for this too shall pass.
Your child did not suddenly decide to make your life a perpetual purgatory. They are toddlers which means they are experiencing a whirlwind of cognitive, social, and emotional development. These developments result in a child’s growing sense of independence and the desire to find the limits of this new-found freedom.
The toddler stage requires a delicate balance from the parents, we must set boundaries while encouraging a safe environment for our kids to test out their independence. The goal of the toddler stage is to learn “self-control without a loss of self-esteem” (Gross, 1992). But when we want to bang our heads against the wall more often than not, this is easier said than done.