Toddler development: the terrible twos

Toddler development: the terrible twos

Sudden mood swings, “No!” to everything, tantrums: welcome to the terrible twos. Find out why your child is testing your limits and what you can do about it.

It had to happen sometime. One day your baby is sweet and adorable, and the next day he’s a defiant, tantrumprone hurricane ripping through your daily life. Believe it or not, this is normal – challenging and frustrating, but normal.

Why it’s not “the delightful twos”.
Imagine that you’ve suddenly gone through a major developmental spurt that’s given you the ability to communicate, think and move like never before. Pack all these new emotions into a tiny body, add a splash of frustration and get ready for the tantrums and mood swings.

How to maintain perspective.
The most important thing to remember during this phase is to not take it personally. Your child is just frustrated. Help him feel more independent by trying the following:

  • Encourage exploration. Let your child indulge her curiosity by allowing him to explore much as possible in a safe way. If something’s not safe, tell him no. He’ll eventually come to learn what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
  • Offer praise. Boost your child’s selfesteem by letting him know when he’s done something well. If she plays nicely with her friend or completes a task (like changing into her pajamas), tell her how happy and proud you are.
  • Be consistent. Don’t let a tantrum or bad mood shake your resolve. Like all phases, this too shall pass and he’ll grow out of it quickly enough.
Leave a comment *Mandatory text
I confirm I have written the entirety of the content and agree to the community guidelines and terms and conditions
  • Show comments

Throwing fit


My son is almost two and if he don't getc his way he throws himself down and kicks and scream normal I'm sure but it gets bad hiw do I handle it

terrible two

tlynn 12/17/2015

When my twins throw fits BC they can't have their way I lay in floor with them n kick they stop as they state at me

Learning to say, "I'm Sorry"

In our latest Welcome to Parenthood video, little Logan enters the terrible twos and the Smolinskis learn about the importances of discipline.

Read more

Housework With Toddlers

Kids like to imitate their parents, so why not show your children how to help around the house? Easy, doable chores at this stage include dusting, watering plants, and sorting laundry. Get more ideas.

Read more


Suzanne Dixon, M.D., M.P.H.