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Troublesome Two

 

Question:

Our little girl just turned two. I don't know what it is about the number, but she went from adoring to atrocious. She's into everything and seems to willfully disobey when I tell her "no'. Is this the beginning of a bigger problem?

Answer:

Have no worries. The angel your daughter was prior to being two will return by the time she is three or four. At about two years of age, children discover that there is a world beyond themselves. It is both exciting and enticing. At the same time, they have no understanding what-so-ever as to the dangers of the world they are now exploring. That is why "baby-proofing" at this age is so important.

Also at this time, children have not really internalized language and the meaning of the word no. So using words only to redirect your daughter is of little effect. Also, because they are yet too young, time outs and lectures have no meaning either. Hence you are stuck with a child thoroughly raptured by exploring who understands no meaningful language, consequences or boundaries.

The trick to managing the behaviour of these young ones, really rests on keeping a watchful eye on them at all times, in a safe environment. Rather than thinking in terms of consequences, think in terms of "redirection". In other words, distraction will be your best strategy at this age. As you redirect your child's attention to an appropriate activity or object, then pair it with a kind word like, "look at you playing nicely with the ball".

We do want children to learn language, obviously, and this comes with time and tremendous patience and perseverance. You have described normal two year old behaviour and to survive even better, it would be nice if you got a break from time to time. If you have a partner, hopefully you can share in the care of your daughter. Whether or not you have a partner, getting out to places like your local Early Years Centre, will be a treat for your daughter and yourself.

Here is the website for the Hamilton area Early Years Centres: www.cafcc.on.ca/eyc.php

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847  

gary@yoursocialworker.com

www.yoursocialworker.com 
 
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker in private practice. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider Gary an expert on child development, parent-child relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations, social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a Section 112 (social work) report.

 

Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.

 

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