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31 Comments

  1. Love this. When my son was 2, lots of people used to tell me it is the 3’s that are terrible age and to just wait it gets worse. I have enjoyed every age my son has been and like to say that he just gets better with age (he is 3 now). There are definite pros and cons of each age, but I try to focus on the positive. Thank you for being encouraging and uplifting!

    1. Same it was very.helpful

  2. This is just what I needed to read… my youngest is 20 months and hitting that stage of testing boundaries. Some days I wonder where my precious, sweet, affectionate little girl is beneath that screaming banshee. And then it’s over and she’s giving me a hug, or laughing over something.

  3. Nicole Rehberg Carlson says:

    Just what I needed to read ?? and I have done the sausage carry many times. ?

  4. Donald Johnson says:

    Ah! the good o days, when ours started crying we let them cry until they figured out we didn’t seem to care. We did care of course but we had to make a point. Even though they are young they are smart, yes yours is too.

  5. it annoys me when you see an interesting article like this on facebook which leads to someone trying to flog you a book , as**oles

    1. Jessica Kelly says:

      I don’t get it. She isn’t saying you have to have the book, she’s just saying she read it & is sharing a tidbit of what she learned from it. You don’t have to buy it. Yeesh.

  6. MathGirlTM says:

    It drives me batty when people refer to a two-year-old’s behaviour as terrible. Navigating new experiences and emotions isn’t easy for anyone, let alone someone who doesn’t communicate effectively. Guiding them with love is so important!

  7. Jessica Kelly says:

    Love this! Will definitely be checking out the book now. I have learned, sometimes multiple times!, that it doesn’t really matter what other people think and as long as you are firm & consistent, they will learn things eventually, and crying, whining, pouting, etc. isn’t going to change my mind. They can be grumpy or feel angry or whatever, but as long as they actually follow the instructions they can be as mad as they want to be. I’ve definitely learned that lesson w/my teenager multiple times, and now that I have two littles again (5 and 3) I’m going through it again haha

  8. “The Boundary Stage”—I love that Lauren! That’s all it really is, isn’t it? We need to remind ourselves that this is all normal. Not to say we’re supposed to love tantrums, but it’s vital that kids learn to test their boundaries, know what’s safe and isn’t, and lean on us to guide them.

  9. Currawong says:

    While obviously I don’t know how it might apply to other kids, with my two kids, I did my best to help them explain what they wanted when they were 2 and along with boundary setting, the result was relatively few meltdowns. That made me wonder if much of the problem isn’t related to stress arising from the inability to communicate well at that age.

  10. Great read. Mom of a 2yr old and a 4yr old. It was rejuvenating to read this article this morning. :) Favorite parts:
    “It isn’t teething and it isn’t terrible. This is simply a phase of life when children incessantly test boundaries to learn about the world.”
    and
    “I know he’s not a terrible kid, and I’m not a terrible mom.”
    <3 <3 <3

  11. Tired Waitress says:

    Absolute bullshit. Guess what; your noisy little turd lying on the floor and throwing a tantrum is another boundary, and your pathetic ass is letting him cross it. The reason people call your little monster terrible is because that is clearly terrible behavior. It’s garbage parents like you that cause restaurants to have “no children” policies and make shopping a misery. It’s so nice that you feel good about yourself. It’s a shame you’re too stupid and selfish to care about the people who have to endure your spoiled little shit against their wills.

    1. clearly you are a miserable person and I truly hope you don’t have kids to endure your misery.

    2. U must be a child-less individual who does not get laid very often keep ur opinions to yourself . Grow up.

    3. I think you’re correct, it is another boundary. But I also cannot help but sense that you missed some lessons along the way too. .
      The CHILD on the floor, or in the restaurant (who is learning how to behave in public), is still highly likely of becoming a positive member in society as an ADULT… I’m not too sure what your comment really offered here. However you just made a big scene in idealistmom’s “restaurant”.
      Please don’t come back till you’ve learned to adult.

    4. And this little tantrum of yours is no different? Why would you even say that? You think it’s funny? You think it gives you power? Or do you feel guilty because you mishandled parenting and it’s too late for your little ones? This kind of communication is unacceptable. There are real moms reading this going through hard times and it’s hard because they are great moms who really care about parenting the best way. Powerful communication does not have to be aggressive or mean. A clear point and an alternative choice in your opinion would have been enough.

    5. I think the point of the article is to remind moms that they are not terrible human beings nor are their children terrible when the child (as a toddler) has a tantrum. It is not saying that you should allow your child to throw a tantrum in a public place and allow the child to ruin the dinner experiences of other people. The article is also saying that when a child throws a tantrum, he or she is pushing boundaries, and it is our job to teach reinforce those boundaries. It isn’t saying to do that at a restaurant and torture others eating or working there. It is unfortunate that in her example, it happened in an elevator. If that happened to me, I would get off as soon as possible and remove my child. It sounds like she did the same. My husband and I always remove our girl from the public area if she is making too much noise, much less having a tantrum. Then we take care of the tantrum in as private of place as we can find. For a little toddler, that often means allowing the child to calm down (while staying calm ourselves) without giving in OR losing control ourselves. It’s really important to remain calm because the whole point is to teach the child how to control her own emotions.

    6. Coming from a new dad of a just turned 2 yr old daughter with tantrums and 37 of age, you sound like trailer trash who consumes Burger King and smokes Marlboro reds on the regular. Its 1000 percent normal to have a boy or girl at the age of 2 going ballistic for no apparent reason, other than exploring the desires and boundaries of life. You sound like a jealous clown who maybe wishes they had lil shits running around

  12. Thanks for this! My son is going on 19 months and we have already hit this stage! I am so glad to hear another term the. Boundary stage . It doesn’t make us moms terrible or our children!

  13. My Nephew use to get down and bang his head until there was a goose egg, his mom asked the Dr. and he said it wouldn’t do any harm.. He works at the G.S.C. Centre, been there since he grad.uated from grade 12. It didn’t do him any harm, plus he has red hair

  14. I had to do the ‘sausage carry’ when my two year old kept trying to hurl himself in the sea. It felt so embarrassing at the time but articles like this make you feel so much better!

  15. You are my new parenting guru. I can easily relate to you and your situation above. My husband and I refused to call it the ‘terrible twos’ because words have power, similar to the quote above about becoming our child’s inner voice. We call them the ‘trying twos’ but now it will be the ‘boundary stage’ from here on out.

  16. I’m laughing and crying while I read this! Thank you very much! I understand now. This morning he tested his boundaries so much I spanked him. He cried a different then stopped abruptly and started counting and looking for validation when he got the numbers right. Just like that, as if the tantrum from 2 minutes before didn’t happen. I felt so guilty! He was the ‘perfect kid’ after that. I’m at work and I still feel guilty and miss him terribly!

  17. Thanks for this! As a mom to a very Wonderful 2year old with a full set of teeth (haha), she thoroughly tests boundaries multiple times daily. Today daddy witnessed for the first time a screaming tantrum from the middle of the mall, (because she wanted shoes she doesn’t need, (why are there $63 children’s shoes anyways!?)), and he was in shock moments like that happen. I just normally smile and carry my 2yr old as quickly to the car as possible, but today I needed reassurance that I’m not also “terrible”. I love “The Boundary Stage” much better and loved reading this. Thanks for the pep talk today!

  18. Thanks a lot for this article. It helped me a lot to understand this stage my son is going through. Today it really got to me and then I found this gem.

  19. I love how the Danish do not use terms like the “terrible twos.” I have never used these words to describe any of my children. I believe having an expectation that what’s coming is going to be “terrible” sets up our expectations to have to endure rather than thrive.
    Our toddlers are just little people and are remarkably smart and WILL rise up to meet our expectations. We just need to shift our expectations from being ready for daily temper tantrums to being ready to help them learn to be happy, inquisitive, and well-behaved toddlers. It’s totally possible. Great post!

  20. Love your comment about carrying a giant sausage under your arm! Been there!!

    Great article!

  21. Love, love, love! Carried a sausage or two under my arm in my time!?

  22. Julie ann says:

    My little boy is 18months and he is already show the signs of the “terrible 2” and almost everyone I know with kids are telling me that I haven’t seen anything yet. But now that I have red your article and learning about “the boundary stage” gave me a whole new perspective to approach his behavior… thanks very much for the help.