Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Save Me From The Terrible Twos

Just look at that cheekiness

This is the babyD most of us are used to. Always smiling and laughing.

Nowadays, gets easily angry. Pouting and tantrums are his weapons.

Gone are the days when my sweet little 2 year old would listen and obey everything mommy told him. These days, "NO" and "DON'T WANT" easily rolls off his tongue and seems to be the predominant words in his vocabulary. To top off his new found rights to defy his parents, he has also learned the art of ear piercing, glass shattering screaming. Hate it when it happens at 3am in the morning. Yeah, he'll wake up in the middle of the night, creating a fuss and ruckus, and I'm too tired and sleepy to be a loving mother.

Okay, so what have I done to combat the Terrible Twos?

  • Usually, my first strategy to "counter-attack" is to firmly tell him to "STOP SCREAMING". In the end, I'm screaming and he is still screaming. Too much screaming.
  • Another strategy is to reason with him. That doesn't work either. When he turns on the "screaming mode", there is no compromise. This strategy can only be used after he has calmed down.
  • Sometimes, the reason for such an outburst is not readily known. Then you'll hear me saying "You have to talk. I don't understand what you want. I can't help you if I don't know what you want." That is usually followed by more screaming on his part. I've learned that the more I try to communicate with him, the louder the screams become. 
  • DISCIPLINE him. Put him on the bench (Or time-out. Whatever you want to call it). Throw him out of the house. This results in more screams, lots of kicking and also knee hugging.
  •  PUNISHMENT him.Give him a few whacks. This strategy gives me 100% failure. It doesn't work. But it sure gives me a way to vent my frustration WHICH is not right. I know, I know.
  • IGNORE him. You'd think they'd lose their voice after a while. How come they don't lose their voice after 1/2 hour of screaming? If I let him, I think he can scream for a few hours non-stop. Amazing! Not really recommended coz' it's not good for your eardrums.
I finally found a strategy that works for me.............. DUNK HIM WITH WATER!
Yeah, I got so fed up that one night that I carried him to the bathroom and drenched him. I kept splashing water over his head until he decided to quit it. He decided very quickly to stop screaming. He started his nonsense again 15 minutes later and back to the bathroom we went. The only negative side to this was I had 2 sets of wet clothes added to my already overflowing pile of laundry. But I believe splashing him with water "shocks" him out of the screaming phase. It's like they get soooo into it and don't know how to get out of it.

Results? When he starts screaming now, I just have to ask if we need to go to the bathroom and he stops immediately.

So, what strategies have you tried to combat your Terrible Twos?


  1. wow...that is cool idea...but I am a softy when it comes to such things. Sigh...

  2. i think dunking him with water is a form of child abuse and will prob cause more harm then good. please stop doing that as it will scare him and mess him up big time.

  3. Don't you scare he will catch cold later?

    My way of handling Terrible Two is ignoring them. I admit that I did use cane sparingly when I really cannot stand anymore.

  4. I use the cane, sure works! BTW, whose that girl there?

  5. Contentedmom:
    You must be a very patient person then.

    Comparatively, I think caning is more child abuse than splashing him with water. I'm not drowning him. When you splash your child with water when you bathe him, is that called abuse?

    Sheoh Yan,
    My children are used to bathing with cold water. Plus, they don't sleep in air cond room. Of course if there is potential of them falling sick because of this, don't do it lah :) Ignoring for me don't work at all. Actually, it gets worse.

    Health Freak Mommy:
    That girl is my niece.

  6. i think you should go to and check out the replys there to this blog that you have linked via rss feed... many parents are outraged by your 'dunking' methods

  7. I think dunking isn't a word to be used here. Little D is splashed with water which is a gentler way than someone in hysteria getting slapped. I've been through the jealous-older-sibling-scream-about-anything-&-everything stunts. No fun at all.

  8. well i think some ppl sud read properly b4 jumping to conclusion. its not that u;re dunking him into a tub or something. :)

    wat i used to do is ... i usually put them in a corner or if we're out i usually push them to a quiet place and let them continue with their tantrum until they are satisfied. then i'll explain to them why they should not do that. it works all the time. :) My boy was the one with the least tantrum compared to my girl. he's the happy-go-lucky type.

  9. I shake my head at you... pouring water over your child's head is not a cultural norm so please don't use it as an excuse. I feel sorry for your son if he grows up to have a fear of water then you know who to blame don't you? yep you! If your son resents you, then yep also your fault! I don't think I'd like anybody or trust anybody or reluctantly want to love anybody who poured water over my head!

  10. Hahaha...I can empathise wtih you Lian. Can't help but leave a comment which I've never done before but will do it now since we have some interesting comments here. Honestly knowing you so well, you wouldn't "abuse" your child! Sometimes, we parents are at lost when our "angel" has turned into a screaming monster".
    In our culture, "spanking" or "rotan" is not consider abusive but in the eye of the western world is consider "abusive". We can argue and give our personal comments and views but in the end, to me the most important thing is "how to help D?" No parents are perfect since we do not go to school to study to become parents. Everything we do and learn have to be tried and tested again and again. No child is the same and yet the same child may surprise you or shock you every new day! So even if you have a Degree or Master in Early Childhood, no books can teach you everything that is to know about every child in this world! We are still learning and will be learning in future about new philosophy and ideas to better understand our precious ones and to be effective, loving parents and carers.

    Well, if you live in "ozland", what you've done will be called "ABUSIVE!"....Ouch! that hurts. There are so many definitions for ABUSE and I will not go into it. There's heaps of "RIGHTS" for children here. Anyway, I will not go into details about all these. Here we have rights for everybody and everything. Even the horses have rights you know...hehehe.

    I'm sure you have tried all sorts of tricks and alternatives to calm your D down. Have you tried talking to him when he is calm down and ask him what is troubling him? (I would suggest to do this in a private place between you and him eg: where he can relax with you) There must be something that has been bothering him or causing him some kind of anxiety. If you have the time, just spend some time observing him for these couple of days and note his behaviour and his interactions between his siblings or anything that he does. Note any changes in his behaviour. I guess a lot of this may have to do with his growing emotions, feelings, insecurity, fears, plus with the arrival of the newborn baby. Prepare him for a "choice" eg; "his choice". Discuss with him about the "screaming incident" and ask him why he does it and what he wants you to do. Discuss your personal feelings eg: how do you feel when he scream and scream non-stop and you being helpless not knowing what he wants etc...He is a very smart and intellingent child and if you work with him closely, I'm sure you can find out the reasons behind all these. I know all these sound like a lot of hard work but maybe you have already done all that I've just said...hahaha.

    Here, we are taught to let the child choose. Meaning he choose his own "punishment"...hahaha. Punishment doesn't sound like a nice word....hahaha. eg: Turn everything back to the child. Here the children are taught "right choices" and "wrong choices". Every choice has consequence to follow like our church teaching. So if the child makes a wrong choice.....this will be the consequence. So since you are very creative, think of a consequence for D when he wakes up screaming at night eg: macam ban him from playing games for a week!or no TV!..hahaha. Next time he scream, just put on some ear plugs and let him scream and scream, then just tell him the consequence which he has to carry out. Sounds good?

    If all else fails, follow your mother's instincts. Mothers are given wisdom from above to safeguard our little ones. I forgot to add, did you actually try to hold him down and hug him when he was screaming?

  11. Mama:
    You're right. Wrong choice of words. But I believe it's not about jealousy. It's more about exerting his authority and testing how far he can push us. Most of the screaming sessions are when we don't give in to his demands.

    Each child is different. Each one requires a different approach.

    Well, I guess there is no hope for me then coz' my kids get water poured over their heads everyday. Not an excuse. That's how we bath. Hope that doesn't shock your pants off. Anyway, thanks for your "warning". But let me assure you that I know my children well enough and love them enough to not do things that will have them develop fears and resentment.

    Chinese town bumpkin:
    Appreciate your insights and you're right in all that you say. We do talk to him after he has calmed down to teach, reassure and find out what's going on. But usually he knows he was wrong in doing it and won't answer our questions. He'll just give us his sad and guilty look.
    Anyway, this "splashing therapy" was only a one time incidence. It was a last resort for me. I don't claim it to be the best way but it did work for me. May not work for everybody because each child is different. And like many mothers have pointed out, mothers know their own children the best. Just don't cross the line and the line is different for each child too.

    Regarding your question "did you actually try to hold him down and hug him when he was screaming?", I do sometimes. I must admit it depends on how much patience I have at that moment:) But thanks for the reminder.

  12. Wtf?? SOme of you hit ur children with a cane? ARe you messed in the head? WOuld you like it if i came to your house and whacked you with a cane? I wish alot of pain on you cruel people! They are 2 yr olds for fuck sake! Learn some patience and that its a faze as they are frustrated, or dont have children.

    I am a parent off minti and im disgusted to read this!


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