The emotional development phase that is the terrible twos

Children learning to control emotions is a wild ride

In Summary

• One needs to be patient and understanding to get a grip on child's development

A mother holds a child's hand
A mother holds a child's hand
Image: FILE

I think I've come to the realisation that the terrible twos is just the phase where tots are developing their emotions and parents are watching helplessly. 

I know that studies have been conducted, and lots of research indicate that around the ages of two and three is when our children are developing the emotional aspects of their physiology. But this doesn't lessen the blow of the hurricane that is the chaos we parents go through during this period.

Recently, I've started watching my son as I would a young teenager developing hormones and having uncontrollable fits. You watch them with a dejected look that basically expresses your suppressed frustrations at the helplessness of the situation. Neither of us can control the biological reactions occurring in their bodies.  

As angry as you get, you realise that you are not dealing with your child in that moment. A wave of emotions that has overcome them and transformed your little angel into a raging rascal. They don't know what is going on, they just have the urge to cry, yell and have a full-blown tantrum. A few calming minutes later, your little angel is back.

It's the wildest ride I've ever been on. Take today, for instance. Although we are in the middle of winter, the sun shone brightly in clear blue skies, tempting us to go for a nice luxurious walk before the hullabaloo of regular schedule resumes next week.

However, as we attempted to put a jacket on our son, he completely lost it on us. We were dumbfounded. He understands very well that putting on a jacket means going out, and we all know he loves being outside.

Whenever he loses his cool like that for no reason and I am deeply frustrated at the situation, I feel my anger boiling and rising from within. A few years ago, I would have been lashing out at whoever was making me feel that way. However, wisdom has shown me that in such moments, I see clearly what is happening underneath all the tantrums and meltdowns. If I can feel my emotions getting the better of me and somehow manage to control myself, then what is my child feeling?

It took me nearly 30-odd years to learn to control my emotions. Then how can I expect the same from my two-year-old? At this age, toddlers are not just developing these emotions but, with our help, beginning to understand and control their feelings.

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