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Dealing with the terrible twos

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 28-04-2011

Most dads heard about it, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing – the so-called terrible twos. It's that time when your child is starting to resemble and act like a functioning human being, who has likes and dislikes, and he's just beginning to test your limits. It can be one of the most difficult parts of fatherhood but if you hold your ground and follow a few tried-and-true steps you'll be able to make it through.

1. Maintain your composure. It might be hard to stay calm while your son or daughter is throwing a tantrum, but you can't reasonably expect him to quiet down if you're freaking out yourself. Maintain eye contact, take a few seconds to breathe and address the situation.

2. Teach lessons with your punishments. Taking something away when your son or daughter misbehaves – dessert, a new toy or a favorite TV show – is a start, but if you don't teach your child a life lesson through your chosen punishment, the punitive actions won't have a long-term benefit. By teaching your child what he did wrong rather than simply just scolding them, you'll limit the chances of them being disobedient further down the road. If he throws a tantrum over eating his broccoli, take away sugar snacks for a day to stress the importance of balanced nutrition, for example.

3. Child-proof your house. Along with misbehavior, the terrible twos brings curiosity. Chances are your son or daughter is going to be picking up everything, so if you want to make sure that your limited edition Spider-Man comic book says in near-mint condition, find a safe spot for it to reside over the next few years.