I am not exaggerating to entertain you, this I promise. You see when I brought my third child home from the hospital he was so much different than the other two. He hardly ever cried, he slept through the night right away and was always pretty chill. So much so, I told this exact thing to everyone I came in contact with.
Now however, instead of talking like a normal person he screams at the top of his lungs to get his point across. He’s bossy and everything literally belongs to him (whether it’s his or not). Case in point, if my daughter is playing with a toy (her own) and he wants it he goes over grabs its and yells, ‘Mine’ or my favorite ‘Don’t do that, that’s not nice!’ This happens with toys, chairs, food, his spot at the dinner table whatever, you name it and it’s suddenly his. To him he can play with everyone else stuff but no one can touch his things.
At first I thought this was a third child syndrome. You know, him trying to assert himself or mark his territory being the smallest in the house. It hadn’t even occurred to me that it might be the terrible twos. How could I be such a goof ball? It’s not like I hadn’t gone through this twice before, but then I thought about it. The other two had been a little extra all the while so I guess I was prepared to a certain extent. Zen Baby was my quiet cool angel that has subsequently turned into the incredible mini-hulk.
So what to do? My husband and I are very cognizant that most members of the family (grandmothers and his siblings) basically concede to his ‘Mine’ requests, which is not good. This gives the impression that if I continue with this behavior then I will get what I want. We have talked them into not letting him bully them into submission. Additionally, as it relates to the Archie Bunker type barking around, myself and the babysitter try to talk to him about using his words properly and lowering his voice. I know what you are thinking he is two-he is not really listening or understanding, but trust me he does. We often underestimate how smart children are but if they are smart enough to play games on the iPad, manipulate your phone, or create a bridge so they can climb onto the kitchen counter — then they totally get it. Eventually, he will see that no one is responding and he will have to try something else (preferably less loud and obnoxious).
However, he is still quite a charmer and a sweet boy who gives a good hug, has a gut popping laugh and the ability to make most people smile. I understand mentally he is going through a pretty major change and his brain is trying to catch up with it all. So if you are going through a similar experience right now I thought I’d share the following tips with you to help:
1. Do not overreact to these type of situations. If you find them stressful (which you will) take a deep breath then emotionally disconnect yourself from it then respond. This will keep the distinction between the parent/child clear.
2. Help your child effectively communicate or “use their words” through this time. It’s very important and will help them and you manage through the process. Their inability to verbally communicate what they are feeling can make it more frustrating for them.
3. Provide limits and boundaries for your child. Let them know if they do X, then Y will happen. For example, if you keep yelling or throw that toy then you will have to go to bed.
And in the end, you will need a breather too. Find a friend or family member who you can discuss these types of situations with. Even better, post a comment and I’ll get back to you.
All the best and good luck.
This too shall pass.