From the moment you announce your pregnancy, it seems like everyone offers you parenting advice. You’re inundated with opinions about everything from sleeping and the right kinds of diapers to preparing you for the terrible twos. (By the way, that actually lasts from 18 months until about 3. You’re welcome.)

Actually, I believe there’s no such thing as the terrible twos. I call this age a “magical time” when many developmental leaps take place. It’s a time of significant growth and development for you and your child. 

The time between 2 and 4 is foundational as kids change physically, emotionally, and intellectually. They’re also learning and becoming their own person. It’s a time to look forward to and anticipate because the skill developments in this timeframe benefit you AND your child.  

Here are a few things to remember as you deal with this “magical time.” 

This is a necessary stage of growth and development.

I had a friend who shared that when their child was in this stage, they believed they did something to “break” their child. Gone was the calm, sweet infant they brought home. It seemed to happen overnight. 

I could bore you with all the human growth and development theories, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, this stage of development is necessary and expected. Yes, they have tantrums and cry. But it’s usually because they don’t have the words to effectively communicate what they want or how they feel. Plus, they don’t have the skills to control their emotions. This is when the magic happens. 

As a parent, you get the privilege of teaching your child how to recognize emotions and effectively communicate them to you. 

Choose your battles wisely.

It’s critical to decide what’s truly important versus what you can let go of during this time. Part of the magic is setting appropriate boundaries. Everything doesn’t have to be a fight or power struggle. Remember, you are the authority, so no need to struggle. 

For example, safety is paramount. Things like holding hands while walking in a parking lot are NON-NEGOTIABLE. Other things, you may choose not to fight. Mismatched socks or wearing a Christmas sweater in May shouldn’t ruffle your feathers. 

Try to prevent bombarding yourself with thoughts about how something makes you look to others. This is about you and your child growing and learning together. You may need to create a saying to remind you that this phase is necessary for growth and becoming the person they were made to be.

This “magical time” lays the foundation for your future.

It may be hard to believe that your child will one day be a teenager or adult. You may be wondering, “Why are you talking about the future when I’m struggling in the present?” Believe it or not, your present struggle is preparing you for the future by developing your character, strength, and skills as a parent. 

MAGICAL TIME teaches you skills like:

  • Patience
  • Staying calm in a crisis or the middle of the toy aisle when your child is pitching a fit 
  • What works best for your particular child
  • How to guide rather than dictate or control (because can you really control anyone?)

MAGICAL TIME teaches your child skills like:

  • How to identify and regulate emotions
  • How to make decisions (age-appropriate)
  • Independence and autonomy
  • How to speak for themselves

As you’re learning and growing, your child may still cry, yell and throw tantrums. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

You aren’t the only parent who has gone through this. 

More importantly, you aren’t the worst parent in the world. In reality, you are learning new skills. So, give yourself a break!

Through these words of encouragement, I’m not trying to blow smoke or try to make it seem like magical time is without challenges or some tears from both of you. 

Yes, it can be challenging, frustrating, and feel never-ending. But no matter what, it will be worth it. You’ll learn about yourself and how to be the parent your child needs. You get to choose how to see this time. Will you see it as magical or terrible?

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