Friday, September 3, 2010

Terrible (Not Yet) Two

I have just read a number of articles about the Terrible Twos stage and I thank God I took the time tonight to sit down and learn more about this stage. Yanthy is a month and a half away from his second birthday. If I have not chosen to read the articles I read tonight, I wouldn’t know that the Terrible Twos stage can start as early as 18 months or right after a child’s first birthday. Now, I understand better where my little one is coming from.

My son, Yanthy, is terribly cute and adorable most of the time. He’s been one source of joy and pride for me and my husband. I love it when he smiles, calls me “Mommy,” hugs and kisses me without a reason, tries to help me with my chores, sits on my lap and asks me to read to him, prays with me, plays with me and so much more.

But this little boy also upsets me and frustrates me countless times during the day. There are times when he would ignore me when I ask him to do simple things like clean up his mess after he has played and scattered his toys or books on the floor. There are times when he would do the opposite of what I’m telling him like when I tell him not to jump on the bed because he might fall. To my dismay, he would jump repeatedly. And he would even try to jump even after I have removed him from the bed. There are also instances when he would ask for water or a certain food and after I’ve prepared it and about to give it to him, he would suddenly turn his head away and say “No!”

I sometimes wonder, “Where did my sweet little boy go?” whenever he does these things. His behaviour sometimes confuses me and makes me feel helpless especially when he repeatedly makes tantrums. I also sometimes wonder if I’m doing things right in raising him up because he sometimes does not show positive or agreeable behaviour.

I have read books and other materials on disciplining toddlers before but it was only tonight that I felt enlightened and less guilty. I learned that it’s a normal stage that any loving little boy can still go through and that like a lot of terrible (in the negative sense) things in life, it will come to pass.

I guess that the most important lesson I learned from the articles I read tonight is learning to empathize with my son. Like him, I sometimes feel troubled whenever I want to do something that others especially those close to me do not approve of. Like what the author in one of the articles said, my son at this point wants to assert himself and learn to be independent. His personality and character is being formed as he discovers and learns many things and applies these learning in his everyday activities. My role as a parent is to support him as he finds his way through life. He may be too young and too clumsy for his ambitious pursuits right now but the manner by which I respond to him as he deals with his current pursuits can have impact on his long term behaviour.

I also liked one advice from another author. He encouraged parents like me who are dealing with Terrible Twos behaviour in our children to focus more on the good times than on the bad and to make the most of our time together now our children are young. Like most parents who have already passed this stage and who have already raised their kids, he said that children grow very fast. And I couldn’t help but agree. I have chosen to be a full time stay-at-home mom since I got pregnant because I want to witness my baby’s milestones and closely monitor his progress. I want to capture and document as much as I could. But even as a full time mom, there’s so much that escaped my attention. Time really flies so fast and before I knew it, he’s almost two. He has grown to be so tall, strong and intelligent. He has learned and mastered a number of things.

Two things I like about having a terrible (not yet) two in my life right now: first, I’m humbled; second, I’m sharpened like iron. I’m humbled to realize that no matter how educated or informed I am, there’s still a lot I need to learn as a parent. I’m sharpened like iron because a lot of times, my character is tested whenever my son throws a tantrum. And for these two benefits alone, I am most thankful to God. I pray that I would always be open to God’s grace and wisdom so that even when times are challenging, I would be able to handle my son’s behaviour with gentleness and grace.

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