Any parent out there will know what the terrible twos are, right? Oh you know, it’s that phrase used to describe the idea that when your child wakes up on their 2nd birthday they suddenly become a complete nightmare and will throw tantrums and act like a demon until they turn three and suddenly they become little darlings again. Many parents will agree with me when I say this, what a load of crap! The terrible twos can start way before your child hits 24 months and can, unfortunately, last way longer than just a year. I have written about my experiences of tantrums before and how I really struggle to cope when Leo’s being naughty. Leo is approaching 3 and his bad behaviour shows no sign of slipping away, if anything, it’s getting worse. I am starting to wonder if his behaviour is not just a result of the dreaded terrible twos, what if it is something more? What if my boy is just, well, naughty?
Writing posts that show Leo in a negative light always make me a bit sad but I am honest and I want people who read this blog to see the truth of what parenting is like, not a sickly sweet sugar coated version. So, here it is.
Probably since he was about 15 months Leo has been throwing tantrums. Not just crying when he doesn’t get his own way or being a bit of a pain but proper lashing out, screams that almost burst your ears, sometimes totally uncontrollable tantrums. I could just about cope with these, I had mastered the under arm rugby hold pretty quickly and was able to make quick getaways from any bad situation. I had learnt the power of distraction and had discovered I have the patience of a saint, if I needed to sit on Tesco floor with him and ask him to calm down a thousand times then I could, if I really had to. Things changed though when the violence started.
It turns out, my little precious angel isn’t as sweet as I first thought, he is in fact a bit of a brute. It pains to write that down but it is the truth. He hits unsuspecting babies on the head, pushes children over, screams in sleeping infants faces and the thing that bothers me the most is that he bites. He doesn’t do these things because he is upset or angry. Sometimes this violent behaviour is a result of these things but for the most part, he is violent for absolutely no apparent reason.
Trips to play group and soft play have become so stressful that half the time I contemplate just staying locked in the house all day with kids cartoons on repeat, everyone is safer that way. I can’t relax on these outings that are supposed to be fun, I can’t sit and enjoy a chat with other mums as I know I will, inevitably, have to dash off to retrieve my wannabee vampire of a son from some poor child’s arm/face/leg. I feel like I can’t even explain it properly, his biting is 100% unprovoked. When he is in trouble or being picked on, he cries or screams, he doesn’t bite. When he bites I have no idea what he is thinking, he runs up to people and bites them and he always aims for the face. There’s no ‘Hi I’m Leo, can we play?’, he’s all teeth when it comes to interacting with other kids.
Many an hour I have spent on online forums searching for the answer, that magical nugget of wisdom that will stop Leo behaving this way. I feel like I have tried everything: time out, the naughty step, warnings, taking him away from the toys etc when he’s bad and giving him lots of praise when he is good – nothing is working. I sit and talk him through the things that he can’t do, he repeats it back to me and tells me he understands. However, as soon as his little feet hit the play group floor he is off in search of his next victim. I take him away, tell him no and explain to him again he is not to do those things or we will go, he promises again he won’t do it. It is never long before he re-offends and I find myself once again embarrassed and mortified, apologising to yet another Mum for my childs attempt to chew her baby’s face off. No one wants to talk to me and I don’t blame them. I’m the Mum of the problem child, the little terror. the nasty toddler, I wouldn’t want to befriend me either. Who wants to be friends with the Mum of the kid who’s a bit partial to chomping on other kids, can you imagine the play dates?
So here I am now, stressed and lonely with no clue how to overcome this hurdle. No idea what more I can possibly do to get him to listen, to stop hurting others and to understand when I tell him it is wrong and naughty to behave in this way. People say it is a phase and it will pass, maybe they are right but what do I do in the mean time? Keep taking him out and having to keep being embarrassed and upset by his behaviour? Or worse, do I just stay in the house and become even more isolated and alone? If I avoid situations where there are other children then at least he can’t hurt anyone that way. I am starting to toy with the heartbreaking idea that perhaps all of this isn’t just a phase. Maybe it is not the terrible twos and his age that is creating this behaviour, what if my little boy who I love more than I could ever fully explain is just naughty? Is just one of those kids who thinks hurting others is funny? The type of terrible toddler who grows in to the school bully and then ends up just being an arsehole when he’s older? This thought alone is enough to bring me to tears.
As parents we all want the best for our children, we want them to be happy, feel loved and grow up to be independent, well rounded decent adults. Some of us draw the short straw though, after all there are some horrible people in this world and I think it is unfair to assume it is their parents who made them that way.
Leo is not even 3 years old so I have no way given up all hope and painted his future with negativity just yet. Maybe he just likes to be physical and when he’s a bit older we can help him channel this pent up feeling into some kind of sport or something? I don’t have the answers yet. It may be more than the terrible twos that is causing him to lash out like he does but I am his Mum and I love him unconditionally, there is no way I can accept the fact he is just naughty. I just need practical solutions, lots of ideas to try and help him really understand that hurting people is not funny, it is serious and is behaviour that is really really not ok.
I hope I am not coming across as melodramatic, anyone who has experienced this kind of behaviour with their toddler will surely understand, I am simply telling you all exactly how it is. If there is just one other parent out there going through this with their little one and is feeling as lonely as me then please know I know exactly how you feel. I will never laugh it off as just a phase or make you think it’s not as difficult as it really is because dealing with a toddler who seems to like hurting other is hard, it is really frickin’ hard. This post has been written with tears in my eyes and a knot in my chest, I can’t bear talking about my baby boy in this way but I need help, I need advice and, mostly, I need someone else to tell me they have been through it too. Just one person to tell me they know exactly how I feel and that it will be OK, their child is now older and, somehow, they got through it.
What do you think? Do we too often blame bad behaviour on the terrible twos and brush it off as a phase when it could be something more? Have you got a toddler who bites? I really hope some of you have some advice as I really am stuck for what to do. Also, if you’re going through this too, please say hi and maybe we can get through it together.
This post is linked to some of these amazing blog link ups. If you love blogs, go check them out and share the love.
Like it? Why not pin it!
Never miss a post. Sign up for my weekly newsletter and receive a catch up email every Friday – no spam 🙂
* After my recent blog move from Blogger to Word Press, some of my posts have been left looking a bit strange. I am working my way through everything and sorting out the formatting, hopefully it won’t take me too long! If you come across a post with strange looking formatting please let me know as I might have missed it. Thank you 🙂 *